Photos, Words and Video by Jeff Sainlar
“I chose to persevere because I didn’t really have any other choice,” said Michael Coe. And it was a case of if I don’t make it work, nobody else is going to, If it’s something I want to do, I’m not going to not do it because of the handicap.”
When life dealt Michael Coe, the 39-year old man from England, a bad hand, he was not going to let that be his defining moment. While living in Spain in 2004, Coe got into a serious motorcycle accident and was fighting to survive while in a coma and living on life support for a month. The damage from the wreck caused Coe to lose his right arm.
“I get by just using my left arm,” said Coe, “In a strange way the strength of both arms are now just in the one.”
The former amateur boxer credits his love for boxing and fitness training as his salvation. It be easy to wallow in self-pity after the accident,” said Coe. “Ultimately I’m not only feeling better, I’m better for doing it.”
During a recent stay at Tiger Muay Thai, Coe is currently involved in Muay Thai, boxing, fitness and jiu jitsu classes at Tiger Muay Thai.
“I got one arm you know, there is no excuse for not training,” said Coe “There is always something you can do.”
Going to a different gym is always a difficult task for Coe. An overhanging of self-consciousness lies in Coe that other trainees are looking at him with dismay and unacceptance.
“I think people are looking at me thinking what’s he doing here, he’s got one arm, how’s he think he’s going to train with us?” Nothing but respect and kind words were said to Coe while training at Tiger Muay Thai from other guests.
Coe preached about the hardest part of losing his arm, was the way that people were looking at him, pitying and sympathizing him. “I know sympathy only lasts so long, I didn’t really want to be cared for, It was a case of learning to adapt to do it myself,” said Coe.“I hope I’m an inspiration to people here.”
We can all learn a thing or two from Michael Coe to use in our everyday lives. The majority of us are not forced to persevere through tough trials and tribulations every single day. Yes, it’s true Michael Coe will be limited or not able to do some everyday tasks that we take for granted because of his handicap. But, you would never know by talking to him. In my opinion Michael Coe is the epitome of the never quit attitude.
“I believe you can do it, you just find a way to adjust. There’s not a lot I can’t do now, that I could before, I just do it in a different way,” said Coe. “I have no illusions or aspirations of being the best in the world,. I just want to be the best I can be.”