Most of you wont know Alex but his story is extremely inspirational and he is a student of Mr Jones
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
I was born during a blizzard, so the story goes. At the young age of 17, after just giving birth, my mom was told that her baby would probably not make it through the night. You see I was nearly 3 months premature and weighed little more than a bag or sugar.
If I somehow did manage to survive my first night, the doctors said I’d be blind, deaf, be in a wheelchair and be unable to speak! My heart stopped several times that night. Needing a full blood transfusion, my mom gave me all her blood, she likes telling me that one!
My disability is Cerebral Palsy (or CP) I have proven the doctors wrong on three of the four problems they laid out for me the night of my birth.
Jump forward a few years to around the time I was 6, I’m sitting on the floor in my mate’s front room. My mate was about 3 years older than me, he said “let’s watch this”. I don’t remember paying any attention, until I heard “WAADDDAH”.
There’s Bruce, shirt off, taking on a room full of karate men. From then on I was hooked on anything martial arts.
During my first time in hospital, for the first operation on my legs, still at the age of 6 my giant wall-size poster of Bruce Lee hung above my “nil by mouth board”
As the years past by I learnt a lot by watching and mimicking not just Bruce Lee movies and Mike Tyson fights but all the kung fu films I could absorb, copying as much of the moves as possible.
Life went downhill as I grew older and I slowly slipped into a downwards spiral for a few years.
MARTIAL ARTS AS A HELPING HAND
After a few nights of thinking and reading how to get out of this downward spiral, things started to become clear, ideas began whispering to me. Then my favourite movie quote came to mind. It’s a quote from the film BATMAN BEGINS. “if you make yourself MORE then just a man! If you devote yourself to an ideal and if they can’t stop you, you become something else entirely”. “Which is?”… “Legend, Mr Wayne”.
“That’s it! I want to learn and practise a Martial Art.” Once I heard myself say it, I couldn’t ignore it or take it back! The next morning I woke up, got straight out of bed and googled “martial arts for wheelchair users”. One click later I’m reading about Sensei Clay Johnson Jr. who owns his own dojo, in the States, is a 3rd Dan black belt in American Freestyle Karate and is a student of Guru Dan!
I rang my local Modern Karate dojo minutes later. I joined 5 days after that first phone call.
Two years and a few twists of fate later, I have an advanced level in JKD street concepts and I’m making video clips with Mr Jones and Martial Art Concepts!
Before becoming a MAC student I had some training in Wing Chun, Traditional Jujitsu and Gracie jujitsu.
During my time training under Mr Jones I have learnt the true difference between “ART” and COMBAT. (and I’m still learning) What is applicable for ME in real life self defence and MORE importantly what’s not! Having been given that paradigm shift has helped me grow more as a martial artist, not only physically but also mentally. I look at situations in training from MY own physical point of view not the average person who is able to walk or run away. Being in a wheelchair I can’t do that! I have to use verbal communications, like warning a potential attacker to “stay away, don’t come any closer, stay there”! Mentally I have to be aware of my surroundings, more alert to what’s going on around me than most people! Physically, holding MY ground is key! Not moving forward towards or “chasing” the person or persons attacking me. Doing that leaves me open to blows to the face and head!
If the attacker comes within my “ZONE”, which is arms length or trapping distance, then i can use Dumog techniques to pull the person in and keep hold of their arm while striking them with hooks, upper cuts and my favourite, hacks!
The realistic and truthful approach Mr Jones gives to training me is testimony to:
. Research your own experience
. Absorb what is useful
, Reject what is useless
. Add what is specifically your own
I enjoy the other arts I practise they all have their merits but their approach is that of having to adapt their syllabuses to fit me. Then leaving me to “figure out” what’s really useful by myself. Leaving me to sort thought their adapted classical mess!
Training at MAC is like a breath of fresh air every week. I get to be myself within my training, again physically and mentally. I’m not sat there thinking “OK but that’s not what I’d really do!”
MAC’s JKD/Kali Panantukan feels as if it was made for someone sat in a wheelchair! It never feels false! That’s what drives me to keep training with Mr Jones every week. I’d be training every day given the opportunity. Training with such professionals and like-minded Bruce Lee and Guru Dan people is an honour.