A year ago, I was trying to find activities outside of the house. I don’t let my limitations get to me.

But my diversability does get in the way at times, and limits me to what I can do. I am extreme when it comes to living my life, and when I say extreme, I mean it! I like rock climbing and bungee jumping, just to give you an idea of what I mean.

So I wanted to try a martial art. So last summer, I went to the Parkinson Rec Centre for a karate class. That was fun! I did the entire 8 weeks, but it was all about kicking and punching. And because I was in a chair, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I anticipated.  It was not my domain. So I found something else that I could do, that was adaptable to me, and my life.

So I looked into jiu jitsu. And I noticed there was a class at Pacific Top Team, and I could go to the first class for free, so I tried it, and I enjoyed it! So I started off by going once a week, because I had other commitments that I also wanted to continue to do. (For example, wheelchair rugby, and wheeling 10km). So that was in September.

In the wintertime, because of the snow, I usually stop wheeling. This in turns can cause me to get seasonal depression. But this winter was different. Because jiu jitsu was inside, I could still continue to attend the classes over the winter season! So I started attending two classes a week.

And I noticed that when the winter was over, I was still happy! And I started to really enjoy what I was doing, and the people I was meeting. It is very inclusive for me. They were very kind, and I was able to adapt to what they were doing. Now it is springtime, and I have started doing three days a week. I still enjoy wheeling, but I am using jiu jitsu to strengthen my core. I am still able to wheel, and do jiu jitsu.

I wanted to find a martial art that I could do. And I found it! I found a community of great people, who don’t understand divers-abilities, so I have to teach them. They are afraid of hurting me.

But when I do my first tournament, I am sure that they will get over that very quickly!

Paul spokes

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