View Full Version : Karate man defies odds, amazing recovery

7/26/2006 7:30pm,
Karate man defies odds
By Sarah Schwager

27th July 2006 09:12:21 AM

A CRANBOURNE man defied the odds to become a karate black belt after a devastating accident left him in a wheelchair.

Matt Charles will now take over the Seishin Dojo karate school in Cranbourne despite being told he would never walk unaided.

The 32-year-old was crushed by a concrete retaining wall at his workplace 10 years ago and three discs in his spine were squashed.

He had two discs removed but extensive damage to his spinal cord meant doctors could not operate immediately.

Mr Charles said within six weeks he could not walk and was confined to a wheelchair for the next year.

When feeling came back into his legs he started to use crutches and leg braces to help him walk but doctors told him he would never walk without the support.

But after another two years he began to walk by himself and in 2000 he started his karate training.

“I used to train when I was younger. I always loved karate,” Mr Charles said.

He said he progressed very slowly at the start and had to find an instructor that would not only take him on but also give him the attention he needed to keep going.

On 16 June, he was awarded his black belt.

“It took me a bit longer than most,” he said.

Mr Charles said he hoped his case took away some of the stereotypes of people with a disability.

“I didn’t want to get held back. Karate is for everybody,” he said.

“Gone are the days when you had to be of a certain physical stature to do sport.”

Mr Charles had been teaching on a casual basis at schools in Seaford and Mornington and jumped at the opportunity to take over classes in his home suburb.

He now teaches 20 people, half of whom are kids, at a temporary site at the Cranbourne Guides Hall.

Mr Charles said he would not have been able to keep going if not for the support of the people around him, particularly his wife, Fleur.

They had just moved in together and she was training as a physical therapist when he had the accident.

“She is my biggest fan. She always believed in me,” Mr Charles said.

“If I had to do it on my own I think I would have given up.”

Mr Charles still lives with a fair degree of pain and has some numb spots in his legs and while he cannot compete much he said he was well suited to teaching, having compensated his physical weaknesses with a high understanding of technique.

Classes are run at the Guides Hall on Grant Street, Cranbourne, at 6pm on Tuesdays and 7pm on Fridays.


That is an amazing recovery, training karate probably assisted in his recovery and chi flow.