“I used to be able to tell if someone was a threat by listening to the tone of their voice.

I learn a lot more from the feel of the move now, how somebody is grabbing.

It’s a daily thing for people with sensory impairments. People touching you to ask if you need help.

You need to be able to feel the intent, feel instantly if it’s a threat or not.

I woke up in the spring and couldn’t hear the birds.

Going to work in the morning, I got clipped by cars because I couldn’t hear them.

I used to be able to tell if someone was a threat by listening to the tone of their voice. Now I have hearing aids, and stripes on my cane to let others know.

I was upset, I get upset about it. I’ve learned to keep my back straight and head-up.

Irvine Times:

I’ve been doing martial arts for years.

Specifically, blind friendly ones such as jiu-jitsu or judo, with plenty of contact.

Judo teaches you how to land safely and take hits

Once someone tried tripping me up to see how blind I was. I did a judo roll and got back up.

But not every blind friendly martial art is useful and I was attacked a few times and the judo didn’t work.

When I did the judo, Jiu-Jitsu and Aikido. You’ve got seconds to respond and you can’t see your surroundings, so you don’t have the room for big wide techniques.

One of hand is on a cane, my defence has to be connected to the stick.

I was threatened to be thrown into the canal. When I held the cane up, they grabbed it, and I used their force against them to throw them in the canal.

Last time, full on assault all I could do was cover up. Keep myself covered. When people are attacking me I try to prevent them from bringing me to the floor.

The first time I went to Aikido, I was hearing screaming and shouting. It was a sensory overload.

It can be terrifying, you’ve no idea what to expect.

But The Scottish Centre for Personal Safety is not macho, it’s a nice, friendly environment.

I like the fact that we take the edge off, you might feel scared to come into the class if you’re expecting a martial arts class.

Irvine Times:

I’m more tactile because I’m not hearing. I hope it will improve my teaching ability.

I learn a lot more from the feel of the move. How somebody is grabbing. I get people grabbing me all the time, touching me, it is feeling through the intent.

Learning to understand the difference between someone grabbing to help you, or someone who wants to control or dominate you.

We teach ways of helping people cope in certain situations.

It’s helped their worry, of walking down the street, worrying about all the things that could happen.

I’ve started learning sign language. I thought I couldn’t learn it, but I’m doing finger spelling with help from deaf co-workers.

I’m talking to deaf people now, I have more of an understanding. I didn’t understand, I only knew how much my hearing benefited me. I didn’t know how it would affect me.

It felt massive. It would be the same for a deaf person who were to lose their sight. Body language, facial expressions - deaf people communicate very visually.”