Stories From The Mat – AMAA Member Darrell Mattingly’s Story From The Mat
Stories From The Mat
Cerebral Palsy's no match for this Kenpo Karate warrior...
Darrell Mattingly was born and raised in rural Marion County, Kentucky. After high school, he attended the University of Kentucky in Levxington, where he received two Bachelor’s Degrees in Computer Science and Mathematical Science with a minor in Statistics and is a web designer and developer at the University of Kentucky. He also serves on many non-profit boards which assist the disabled community, including the Adaptive Martial Arts Association.
Darrell was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a walker and motorized wheelchair to get around. for everywhere else. After years of renting, he purchased a home in 2013 and enjoys the personalizing it. He also enjoys pursuing his passion of martial arts and currently hold the rank of Nidan (2nd Degree Black Belt) in Kenpo Karate.
Martial Arts Training:
Darrell began practicing Chinese Kenpo at the age of 31, after reading a local newspaper article about a local school owner who had a disability similar to his. Leading me to the school was the lasting benefit of that owner. His first lessons were taught in privately by the original owner. It was not until the school owner took over that Darrell felt like he was actually starting achieve his goals.. His new instructor made adaptions to techniques, focusing on "What Worked" for Darrell instead taking a "By The Book approach, while still honoring tradition. This taught him that the right teacher was the key to success. Darrell began to advance in rank and soon began to integrate into the "Group Class" setting. At first the other students were nervous working with him because he was the only adaptive Martial Artist at the school, but before long Darrell was "Just Another Student" and began teaching others. Darrell says he has seen many Physical and Emotional benefits as a result of his training, he say " The Dojo just feels right, I fit in and have a sense of accomplishment every time I train. Darrell says his biggest obstacle in regards to training is transportation, he doesn't drive so in order to get to the dojo he must either ride his power chair there which takes 45 minutes one way or take a one way 75 minute city bus ride.
When asked if he had any training regrets Darrell's response was "Only that I didn't start sooner and I didn't document my journey'.
Darrell's Advice To Others:
"It may seem strange, but I would not encourage anyone to follow my path. I feel each of us have our own unique path to travel and I encourage those with disabilities to explore everyone opportunity and not to let their challenges to hold them back!"
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