U.S.A Judo is sponsoring an exciting camp for the blind and visually impaired at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind that features top fighters from the U.S. Paralympic Judo Team slated to compete in London this summer.

The camp, which runs through July 20, is designed to empower young, visually impaired athletes by teaching them how to develop their coordination, agility, strength and self-defense skills. Adding huge star-appeal to the instruction and workouts will be members of the U.S. Paralympic Judo Team including Myles Porter, 100 kg, Dartanyon Crockett, 90 kg, and Ron Hawthorne, 60 kg. All three hail from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO, where they’ve been preparing for the Paralympic Games in London later this summer.

Porter is ranked 4th in the world among visually impaired judokas and is a U.S. favorite to climb in London. He was born with ocular albinism, a visual deficit in which his retinas lack pigmentation. He believes judo is a perfect sport to build confidence and athleticism for visually impaired children.

“We love doing demonstrations for these young athletes,” says Porter. “Judo has given me so much, and this is a way to give back to the sport. So many people with disabilities are so often told about what they can’t be or what they can’t do – these demonstrations serve to show these kids that they can do things they thought were impossible. It’s really nice U.S.A Judo and Miami Lighthouse make these camps possible for the visually impaired.”

Luis Guardia, the program’s coordinator, is hopeful the combined efforts of U.S.A. Judo and organizations such as Miami Lighthouse will make judo much more accessible to young, visually impaired athletes. “Many visually impaired people feel isolated. This program is designed to incorporate these people, and prevent them from feeling marginalized by society,” explains Guardia.

Judo is a great sport for the visually impaired because at its root, the sport relies heavily on a person’s ability to balance and grapple, while utilizing their core strength. Classes are offered on Monday and Friday, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., at Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, located at 601 S.W. 8th Ave., Miami, Florida 33130.

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