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Taekwondo helps amputee to get over his depression
LOSING his right leg in a motorcycle accident 20 years ago might have caused Robert McLeod to give up the daily fight had it not been for his beloved daughter Jade.
The 40-year-old, who introduces himself as ‘Stumpy’, has spoken about how he beat his long, dark depression by taking up martial arts with his 12-year-old daughter, becoming not only equipped to deal with would-be attackers but with everyday life too.
Rob, of Chiseldon, is thought to be the first amputee in the UK to have reached the brown stripe grade in Taekwondo – only four away from a black belt – and in time he hopes he can establish his own dojo to teach other people with disabilities.
A mechanic by trade, Rob was a keen martial artist and fitness fan before a reckless overtake on his motorbike left him with his right leg amputated just above the knee, a pelvis broken in six places and a fractured back.
He went back to work after spending three months in hospital and tried to deal with the changes in his life but even after becoming a father, the pressures of life such as separating from his partner and money worries, forced him to hide away except when taking care of Jade.
“Monday to Thursday I was depressed but come Thursday, when I would have Jade for the weekend, it was like a switch that would go on and I would be in daddy mode. We would go shopping, cycling, rock climbing and live a normal life.
“But it became a habit that I would hide away during the week,” he said.
When he started taking Jade to martial arts lessons at the Matt Fiddes Martial Arts Academy, in Cheney Manor, he decided there was no reason he could not have a go too.
“I was thinking ‘I can do that’,” he said. “So I started having a go and the instructors started coming up with a few things, a mixture of taekwondo and mixed martial arts. At first I wasn’t going to do the gradings, it was just for fitness.
“But now I’m training four or five days a week and going with Jade is even better. She’s a red stripe now and that’s just two off a black belt.”
Jade has excelled too, obtaining distinctions in her gradings and hoping to do a junior instructors course, with an ambition to represent Team GB at the 2020 Olympics.
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