Blind ambition

Ian Blackburn with his instructor Adam Metcalf. Picture: Marcus Whisson d427845
Ian Blackburn with his instructor Adam Metcalf. Picture: Marcus Whisson d427845

The 49-year-old was born blind but it has never affected the way he lives day to day.

He has been the only blind WA person to train and participate in the sport of judo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a sport he decided to add to his resume last year.

The North Perth resident said he grew up wanting to try martial arts but never got the opportunity because he was blind.

Now training four days a week and sometimes twice a day at the Academy of Mixed Martial Arts (AMMA) in Balcatta, it is an opportunity for which he is grateful.

‘When I was a teenager I wanted to do something like this but never got the opportunity, so when it came up, first with the UWA Judo Club I took it,’ he said.

‘From there I started with the AMMA and both sports are quite similar. They are both very tactile; that’s why it’s suitable for the blind, they’re grappling sports and not kicking.’

While winning one medal is a coup for most people, for Blackburn who won two bronze medals at a recent Mixed Martial Arts tournament there is still a way to go.

He said for him the sport was not about winning anything but more about learning.

‘I want to learn, for me it’s about learning, engaging in it, learning the skills,’ he said.

‘To be given the opportunity to get trained by the AMMA and by Adam is great and I had to jump at the chance because the opportunity may never be there again.’

Currently unemployed with double-degree in economics and systems operations Blackburn said he was using his free time to get better and take part in another tournament on November 9.

‘It’s a good club and they are kind to me but the only way to get better is to train,’ he said.

‘At the moment I can do that because I’m not working so we will see how we go.’

The Academy of Mixed Martial Arts is having an opening day on October 25 and 26.

For more information on classes