At the age of 17 I looked at my parents and told them I want to take a karate class, and there was an evening class being taught in an elementary school just down the road from where we live. My parents were baffled by this request. They study me and reject the idea of me joining a karate class. “Why do you want to do such a thing? What makes you think you need to learn self-defense? You are disabled and well liked; so who is going to bother you?” My mom went on to say, “…if anyone gives you any problems all you have to do is reach up and smash them between the legs.” I already knew by this point in life that reaching out and smashing someone between the legs didn’t always work. Not that I tried to when rough housing with friends. Majority of the time people anticipate such action and they move out of the way.
However, practicing karate was never about needing to learn how to defend myself. It looked fun. It was better than just walking up and down the boring drive way for some form of exercise. Since I was a child this was something that had interested me. I spent many years being laid up in hospitals watching Chuck Norris, Cynthia Rothrock, Don the Dragon Wilson, and Jean Claud-Van Damn movies. When those movies weren’t on I was watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I was fascinated and wanted to do those moves. I couldn’t, I was laid up after having my back split open for some unknown reason to me (at that time).
My parents were being overly caution. From the age of 6 months to 15 years old I was in and out of the hospital having operations. I was born with clubbed feet, scoliosis, and my hip and knees were not aligned. Probably after a total of a million dollars in operations, plaster cast from chest to toes, halo’s, and orthotic braces just so I could live a somewhat normal life. That last thing my parents wanted me to do was something stupid where I might get hurt and need more operations or undue all of the work and progress.
Mom and dad eventually gave in and said I could try to do karate provided that I contact the doctor who had previously worked on my back and get his input. The doctor could not see anything wrong with me practicing and told me that it was very physical and would need to be careful.
The first day I walked into my karate class, I was using a walker to help me walk. I had to use a walker to assist me when walking from point A to point B. At that time in my life I could stand on my own and take a few steps without the use of the walker. After a year of practicing karate I didn’t need the walker. I could walk from one end of my high school to the other without any difficulty.
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