The roar of the crowd. The screaming of the coaches. Sounds are something fighters have to focus on to hear instructions, or to tune out distractions. However, more and more women who can’t hear have been coming into the sports. Kim Ferguson (pictured left), instructor at 10th Planet jiu-jitsu in Burbank, CA talks to Sportsgeeks about this current trend, and how she has been helping to train one of these unique individuals.
When it came to Ferguson’s student coming to the 10th Planet, it was more than wanting to train in a new gym that brought her there.
“She saw Eddie Bravo’s stuff and kinda found us because she wanted to study the 10th Planet style,” Ferguson explained. “She’s been deaf since birth, but fairly recently there has been better hearing aide technology that’s helping her to hear more. She can’t use it while she’s rolling, because it’s a kind of a big hearing aid. But she is starting to hear and she is trying to hear and speak more, so this is one of her steps to getting more out in the world, because she has never done any competitive sports at all.”
With her new student being deaf on the mat, Ferguson found ways of communicating what she wants from her.
“We all at the gym learned a lot of sign, and we make up signs for each of the moves,” Ferguson explains. “Eddie (Bravo) has some crazy names for his moves, so we have to make up signs for her.”
When it comes to competitions, Ferguson is trying to overcome the aspect of signal instructions to her student.
“We are just now coming into the coaching difficulties with coaching her, so next time we wanna talk to the refs and see if we can get one of the coaches to walk around the mat so she can see them, because she needs an eye view of them to be able to get any coaching from them.”
Ferguson wants to spread the word that anyone can do jiu-jitsu, not matter what abilities and disabilities they may have. Jiu-jitsu can help you play to your strengths – no matter what they are.