I would like to practice a martial art full time for the sake of getting fit and dealing with my personal issues, but the problem is that I don't have much coordination with my body, and I can't repeat peoples' movements with my body.

I feel like I get lost and I can't replicate the movement. I took Judo as a sport on my college. I want to keep practicing, but I need to know if there is a way for me to do it in spite of my disability.

I have dyspraxia to some degree.

  • I tried to edit your question to clarify it, but I'm not certain if I understood the first question of your second paragraph. – Sean Duggan Jun 19 at 20:18
  • In addition, can you tell us what disability you have that interferes with your motor and coordination skills? It may helps us help you with your problem. And was there anything different that you did in college than now? Or were not disabled then? – Sean Duggan Jun 19 at 20:19
  • I have dyspraxia to some degree – Jose Agustin Reinoso Jun 19 at 20:26
  • 1
    You have practiced in the past, so what happened then that you think you cannot continue? Is it just you are not happy with how fast you are progressing? – mattm Jun 19 at 20:54
  • So what's the question? Go train. I've trained with guys that can't use their legs, and are wheelchair bound for transportation. They just keep showing up to the gym. – coinbird Oct 23 at 15:39

Martial arts are a journey on your own path, at your own time and speed.

I have (or have had) a number of students with wide ranging issues with co-ordination, flexibility and movement. As an instructor it is very important for me to take these things into consideration when running the class - perhaps demonstrating things more slowly - or giving alternate exercises where the remainder of the class are doing something not (currently) possible for a particular student. If your instructor does not alter their teaching to your needs find a new instructor.

I commend you on choosing martial arts - they will test your movement, co-ordination, balance and mind (and much much more). This is fantastic if you struggle with these things - you will learn to cope, gain resilience to failure, your balance and co-ordination will improve. You might never reach the highest levels of ability in your art - but you will get better than the you are today.

So train hard, grade when you are ready and look back at how far you have come/how much you have improved every once in a while - you may surprise yourself.

  • 4
    "Martial arts are a journey on your own path, at your own time and speed." ← This could have been the only line of your answer and I would still have upvoted it. This is critical to gain insight! – Sardathrion Jun 20 at 11:56
  • 1
    Mimicking movements works for some people, explaining movements works for others, and some have to be moved for a couple of times before the body learned the series of moves, especially when the connection between consciousness and body is problematic. I want to emphasise the point of finding an appropriate group plus instructor. Instructor, as he has to be able to teach according to your individual needs. Group, as partners and size have to be supportive and accommodate your needs as well. But martial arts will help you either way, you just have to be attentive regarding what helps you. – Philip Klöcking Jun 20 at 16:59

I started judo for that very same reason. It's a great sport to learn spatial perception of your own body. 13 years later I can see a huge improvement in coordination and balance. You'll see the results in a few months. Try it.

Now I just enrolled in karate :)

As Jigoro Kano once said :

It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than you were yesterday.

― Jigoro Kano

  • 1
    Do you have a source for that quote? – Sardathrion Jun 25 at 6:40

I have a question for you: can you do a proper star jump/jumping jack?

If you can, then you are facing a difficulty in your mind. Forget about the Dyspraxia. Don't call it a disability. You must accept the fact that you will need to work harder than others to learn skills that are easy.

When you learn any martial art, you learn single techniques first. For example, a block. Then you repeat that block a few thousand times in every class. Practice that block at home until you can do it in your sleep without conscious thought. When that happens, learn another single technique.

With the single technique as your building block, add on top of it. My personal view is that combinations are endless (you can't memorize them all), you need to come up with your personal system/keyword to repeat the combination that your sensei (during that class) is doing.

Using karate as an example, there are 4 main blocks.

  • OUTER block
  • INNER block
  • UPPER block
  • LOWER block

I use internal keyword prompts for myself.

up, inside, outside, down

For left and right hand, it becomes

right, other hand

As for repeating people's movements, you have to approach it another way. Don't struggle to mirror the movement; name the technique that is shown (internally) and do your version of the technique.

Some people, myself included (for reasons similar to yours), believe that Tai Chi^ is just a much slower version, or pace of Kung Fu (for the most part) for balance, Flow of Chi (^, remember), and very many other benefits...gain/keep/re- learn balance and flexibility, etc. I have Spinal Stenosis(cervical), Degen'd Disks, couple of fusions, Ost. Arthritis on top of Fibromyalgia, nearly all for almost 21 years and not even 48 years old. If I were to SKIP/FORGET/NEGLECT my morning Tai Chi + Stretch routine (gets oxygen to more muscle tissues, promoting regrowth of even nerve and brain cells...last info just found out months ago), then I am in too much pain to eat, sleep, smile, socialize, laugh... ALL OF WHICH makes me hurt even more. Yoda said, "There is no 'try.' Only DO, or DO NOT!" Yoda only said DO. He never said anything about hurry up. I am already on Disability. I am not going to let that own me. I have some Disabilities. They don't have me. I am not "DIS-ABLED! I AM Michael. I am not as fast, strong, or agile as I was at one time. I CAN WALK and TALK! I can still LAUGH, LOVE, ENCOURAGE, LEARN FOR FREE, AND SO MUCH More! I can also be angry, hateful, spiteful, and blame others for reasons that not even my Doctors have figured out. I can waste my time with negative, hurtful, useless feelings. I could. But I don't want to and I REFUSE TO BE A HATER! Martial Arts is more than just physical movements to be memorized. In fact, the mental and spiritual, the Chi (Qi), THAT is the hard part. You want to see what is after 1st and 2nd Black? A TON of "Internal" that is not easily taught and is even harder to learn. You, I, we. We are more. So? Do, Be, Become. MORE. ~Michael

^ (I know: several spellings, more complete/longer ways to have written it, but it's simplified for everyone's benefit)

  • 4
    There is a good answer in there. However, it is buried in lack of formatting and too much rant-like wording. I strongly encourage you to please rephrase it so it reads more like an article and less than a rant. Thank you. – Sardathrion Sep 10 at 7:37

Your Answer


By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.