“I show people that just because you are blind does not mean you have to be nervous or afraid when you are out travelling,” says Jim. “You can still travel in public confidently and independently.”
Jim tailors his lessons to the abilities of each student. In addition to students with visual impairments, he has taught students with hearing loss, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, autism, people who use wheelchairs and those who are fully sighted. He keeps his classes small so he can spend time with each student.
“My classes are about adapting the moves to what each person needs and how they can apply the self-defense techniques,” says Jim.
In August, Jim, his wife Vicky and their eight-month-old son Eli moved to a Chicago suburb to be closer to family. Jim is also taking the opportunity to increase his own martial arts skills. He has the goal of earning a black belt in Brazilian Jujitsu.
“There are many benefits to martial arts beyond the ability to defend yourself,” Jim says. “It is not about being aggressive. It is about learning how to travel safely in public, building close friendships with people you train with, and the health benefits of exercise. The added confidence helps decrease stress when you are out and about.”
Jim received his Council Excellence Award in May at the Excellence Awards and Scholarships luncheon in Madison. The Council is pleased to present Jim with the Community Volunteer Excellence Award. Thank you, Jim, for your service to the people in the blind and visually impaired community.