When I tell people I train a martial art (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my particular addiction) I generally get one of two responses;
- They laugh until they realise I’m not joking and I don’t find them funny or
- Shouldn’t a woman like you do something a little more y’know suitable for your issues
The truth is I have no legs, I don’t like admitting I’m disabled but there it is … I contracted meningitis at 17 and had to have both legs amputated below the knee and all the fingers on my left hand. I was told by health professionals that sports were a no go area and I should stick to ‘safe’ activities like ‘swimming with the disabled group on Wednesdays’ to improve my physical health and that is what I adhered to for the next 16 years. Although I ditched the swimming quite quickly, I did spend a small fortune on gym memberships and personalised fitness plans for people with issues like me… None of which worked because I hated every minute of it!!
Last year I was told that I needed to have both legs redone/ re shaped… basically they wanted to chop more of me off. I knew that being 16 years older, 5 stone heavier with poor mobility was going to ruin my chances of a decent recovery.. I saw a post on Facebook about Gym 01 and popped in …. This is what struck me initially…
1)No judgements were made about my disability or my capability, instead there were really positive discussion about how I would get the most out of my training..
2)There was no ego, you knew just by feeling the dynamic of the groups training that some were competitive athletes, some were just like me – but they were all in it together.
3)There was an atmosphere of mutual respect and acceptance.
Fast forward 12 months (6 months post amputation) with the unwavering support (and patience) of my coaches and teammates I am back in class training BJJ regularly, with my personal training sessions supporting disability specific training. I am down 2 dress sizes (I don’t weigh myself regularly anymore), physically I am making huge leaps forwards in terms of strength, stamina and flexibility.
Training at Gym 01 is more than just ‘going to the gym’, it’s about outstanding coaches and teammates, it’s about a better way of doing things, being a little better than you were yesterday because you’ve put the work in. I am seriously grateful for the experience I have when I train at gym 01… Onward and upward…Oss xx