Tying My Shoes With One Hand Makes A Difference

I would never of thought something so simple could make such a huge difference in people’s lives. Living this one-handed life and tying my shoes has truly been one of the simplest activities I do which has one of the greatest and profound affects. In fact, because it makes such a difference in so many people’s lives, especially children, I have decided to mostly only where shoes that need to be tied. This way, when I am asked how I do things with one hand (a question I get asked a lot) I can offer tying my shoes as an example. Or if I am directly asked how I tie my shoes by a child (which happens quite a lot) I am in the position to tie my shoes. But in those rare cases when I do not have shoes that tie I have tied the child’s shoes per their request. I get extra some super cool bonus points for tying there shoes. It is one of the many benefits of having one hand. I can inspire people by doing very simple things. Even though right now having one hand and tying my shoes is a blessing, this was not always the case. In my 3rd blog of my “40 Blogs in 40 Days about my first 40 Podcasts” campaign of inspiration I will share with you what lead me recording Podcast Episode OHS002 about the benefits of tying my shoes with one hand. 

Learning to tie my shoes as a young boy was the first hardest thing I ever had to learn, especially with one hand. I think most adults and people forgot how hard that activity was as a child. It is something I have never forgotten. It took me so long to learn to tie my shoes. I was way behind the other kids my age. And it always took me longer to tie my shoes than other kids. When I was a boy there was typically a bit of pressure on me when it came time to tie my shoes. Additionally, when I was so young and people would stare at me I would become uncomfortable. Being the object of people’s interest because of the way I was born was disconcerting. I did not understand it so much at such a young age. Regardless of the challenges I stuck with it and over time I got very good at tying my shoes.

Then after a while I started to notice most people noticing me when I would go down to tie my shoes. People wanted to see how I did it. For the early part of my life I wore a prosthetic hook. This had a different and unique appeal to how people viewed me. On some level it also formulated their desire, interest and curiosity about how I tied my shoes. It is really a very different thing to watch me time my shoes with my prosthetic hook and watching me do it with my one hand. And I think how you think about how I can tie my shoes with a prosthetic hook or with one hand makes a difference in how you look at me. No matter the reason why, I just started to notice this was really a very big point of interest for most people.

Over the course of my life I noticed tying my shoes was actually one of the biggest points of interest and one of the most asked questions about how I did things with one hand, especially by children. As I started doing my professional speaking and youth empowerment programs tying my shoes became my number one activity. In a real way I was a hit! It is interesting how something that was so difficult for so long and something that made me feel so uncomfortable would become the source of so much joy and inspiration. I realized I had transformed a perceived challenge or limitation into a limitless source of inspiration for most people. In a funny metaphorical way kids would stand in line to watch me tie my shoes. In fact, it was the reaction of a young boy who saw I was going to tie my shoes that allowed me to realize of truly beneficial it is to have one hand and to tie my shoes.

I was attending and training at a weeklong Aikido seminar in California. At the time I was the owner and teacher of a school (dojo) for the Japanese martial art of Aikido in Boise, Idaho and spending a great deal of time in California honing my skills. After a long day of training I was tired and sore and hungry and thirsty. I wanted to got get something to drink. I put on my shoes but did not tie them and started on my walk to find a soda pop. As I walked I stopped at the local 7-11 convenience store at the corner to pick up something to drink.  When I came out of the store I realized I would be doing more walking. So I decided to tie my shoes. That is when it all happened.

I noticed, as I was standing there at the corner, in that brief moment as I was deciding whether or not to tie my shoes, two young boys staring at me. This kind of thing has been happening my entire life. For me it was now a “normal” part of the one-handed life live. So in a real way this was not a big deal or the reason why I made a podcast about tying my shoes. It was how they reacted and then responded to seeing me about to tie my shoes. But what makes this story so special is the story I told about these boys and my experience at the end of the seminar. I gave a short monologue at the seminar about “One-Handed Aikido.” I spoke about what it is like being an Aikido instructor who has one hand. I spoke about what it is like practicing Aikido with one hand. And I told the story of the two boys and what happened a few days earlier as I started to tie my shoes. A story you will need to listen to my podcast to hear and enjoy. I said in my speech about how special it is for many children to see me tie my shoes. In fact many of the things I wrote about in this blog I spoke about in my one-handed Aikido monologue. But sharing the benefits of tying my shoes with on hand in this martial art speech helped people understand who I am more deeply. And if that is all I spoke about in that speech or all I wrote about in this blog, that could really be enough. But it’s not!

It is what happened the very next morning at the end of the weeklong seminar at the local coffee shop (Pete’s Coffee). Most of us were packing and getting ready to leave back to our homes and our dojos. A group of teachers and students all went to Pete’s Coffee for our last round of coffee. It was in this coffee shop I had one of the most profound and impactful moments I have had trying my shoes. This moment helped my more deeply realize the benefits and blessing to live life with one hand.

I invite you to listen to my Podcast Episode OHS002 to hear my beneficial and enjoyable one-handed stories about tying my shoes by clicking on the link below. Please feel free to share this blog or my podcast and I ask you to comment with your opinion and feedback! Thanks!

One Hand Speaks Storytelling Podcast Episode OHS002

Here are some links to some of my videos including my monologue on “One-Handed Aikido” and other cool things:


3 Responses to “Tying My Shoes With One Hand Makes A Difference

  • Tabitha
    2 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading/listening to how you think and interact with people and your view of yourself and others is amazing and inspiring. So happy I came across this. Thank you.

    • AlejAndro Anastasio
      2 years ago

      Thanks so much for finding me Tabitha!! I appreciate your support and offering a comment. I have some great podcasts coming up about disabled traveling to china and Tibet real soon. All the best to you. AlejAndro and One Hand Speaks

    • AlejAndro Anastasio
      2 years ago

      Thanks again!

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