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Martin’s story

In this story, Martin Ede, Development and Implementation Manager at Equal Lives in Norfolk, discusses how his life has been turned around because he has found a sport he loves.

Reading Level: Medium
Reading Time: 6 minutes

I was diagnosed with ME/CFS when I was twelve years old, unfortunately it took me a long time (about 12 years) to come to terms with and accept the condition and while I was going through this process I made some very bad choices which resulted in my condition getting worse. This eventually resulted with my health getting to the point I was no longer able to work, was regularly using a wheelchair and certainly couldn’t even think about leaving the house without some kind of walking aid. I had to give up working and sell my house which in turn lead to my wife at the time leaving me, needless to say it was a very low point in my life.

I found myself living on my own in a small bedsit in the St Augustine area of Norwich and for the first time in my life I started to feel vulnerable, walking around a rough area at night with a stick just made me feel like I had a big target above my head. Having never felt this way before (despite growing up in a very rough part of Yarmouth) I was not happy with this and decided I needed to take action and learn some self defence, having always loved the old Kung Fu flicks I decided that was what I was going to learn and that’s when I first contacted Mark.

When I first met Mark, I mentioned that I had ME/CFS and how it was effecting me and questioned him regarding whether he felt I would be able to manage, he barely even blinked and assured me that he was there to take me as far as I was able to go. Over the years training with Mark it’s become clear that his main ethos is all about getting people to their potential, not to some graded level, and this is something he is passionate about.

I absolutely believe that if it wasn’t for Kung Fu and more importantly Mark’s outlook, I would still be unable to work. It was going to the gym that gradually (and I mean gradually!!) built my strength back up and I can’t tell you how good it felt the day I punched through my walking sticks (probably on par with actually getting my black belt). Obviously it was pushing myself to do the exercise and rebuild up my muscles that got me walking again but if it hadn’t been for the support, understanding and guidance from Mark I would never have got there. Had it been another instructor with a different outlook I doubt I would have made it through my first grading never mind all the way to black belt.

Personally now I’ve got my black belt I feel that I have reached my potential with Kung Fu as no matter how good my legs get I don’t think I will ever be able to achieve 100 jumping spin kicks in a row which is a requirement for my 2nd level, but I know that when I do get round to chatting to Mark about it he will help me find a new style or art that I can continue with (and knowing him he will want to turn a blind eye to the kicks and let me grade anyway, the fact I can’t bring myself to that is just a personal thing).

As I said above I have come to know Mark very well over the years and he just loves the art, when training two students he doesn’t compare them, he regards each one for there own merits and is just concerned with getting them to be as good as they can be and developing their potential, and I can say with all certainty that whatever the condition/impairment or physical ability someone may have Mark will be able to find a way to teach them something.

I honestly can’t promote doing Kung Fu enough and Mark is an absolute legend!!!

To find out more about Mark and The Three Family Fist Kung Fu Club please visit their website and Facebook page.

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