England native Carl Hodgetts, 34, is a black belt in kickboxing and a Wing Chun expert, despite the fact that he’s been paralyzed from the waist down since birth.
Hodgetts suffers from acute spina bifida. After years of schoolyard bullying, he turned to martial arts for a more peaceful and satisfying lifestyle. Hodgetts gained his black belt credibility in 2006 by the World United Martial Arts Federation after they classified his unique skills as “freestyle martial arts.”
Because Hodgetts is bound to a wheelchair, he alters traditional moves to his advantage, such as by blocking kicks from his opponents with his hands and arms and uses the wheelchair as a way to protect himself. His method is simple: for taller opponents, he attacks knees, legs, shins, stomach, and the groin. For shorter opponents, Hodgetts aims for the face and top half of the body.
Not only did Hodgetts gain physical skill, but martial arts have allowed him to be more at peace with his condition. He claims that it taught him serious discipline and self-control and he doesn’t allow what others may say about him anger and frustrate him.
Since 2006, Hodgetts has served as an instructor for both disabled and able-bodied students. He aspires to continue spreading his story and lessons across schools through demonstrations.
How's that for inspiring? Looks like Hodgetts listened when Bruce Lee said: “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
-Kung Fu Los Angeles Staff