THE amazing life of a Wearside man who overcame the loss of an arm to become a national karate star has been documented in a new book.
Owen Murray’s left arm was amputated following a horrific industrial accident aged just 20 while he worked in a printing factory.
But Owen, of South Hylton, never let the handicap stand in his way.
Worried that his injury could leave him vulnerable to physical attacks, he took up karate as a means of defending himself.
Owen won two gold medals at the European karate championships in the 1980s and also captained the Sunderland team when they won the national championships in 1991.
In 1992 he taught the form of martial art in Sierra Leone, West Africa, to children and adults who had lost limbs in the civil war there, and in 1994 he was awarded an MBE for his sporting achievements and charity work.
In 2007 he achieved the prestigious sixth dan title, the oldest person in the Karate Union of Great Britain to do so at that time.
Now, karate author Dr Clive Layton has written a book on Owen entitled “The karateka who was made whole by the loss of a hand”.
“I’ve had an exciting life considering I wasn’t well-educated when I left school,” said Owen, 63. After my accident, my confidence was at an all-time low.
“I was on 100 fags a day and drinking 10 pints.
“But after I started karate, within seven days I’d packed in smoking and I’ve kept up with my fitness ever since.”
Active Owen continues to run his own training company, Sure Safe, which teaches those who work alone how to defend themselves if they are attacked.
He also keeps a strict karate regime despite having had two hip replacements.
“I’m poacher turned gamekeeper in a way as I now teach people how to escape safely if they are attacked,” added the former doorman, who ran security at some of Sunderland’s most popular nightspots for 20 years.
“The other day I was giving a lecture to 50 disabled people at Durham College and I try to inspire them that just because you have a limb missing doesn’t mean you can’t do what you want to do in life.”
To order a copy of the book, call Ellen on 07525235526 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copies are also available from Bodyzone, in High Street West, Sunderland city centre.