Amputee with ONE arm becomes one of Britain’s top KARATE instructors


An amputee has given his disability the chop after becoming one of Britain’s top karate practitioners – despite having just ONE ARM.

Owen Murray, 63,  had his left limb amputated following a horrific industrial accident in a printing factory aged just 20.

Worried it would leave him vulnerable to physical attack, Owen quickly took up karate as a means of self-defence.

Owen, now 63, rose speedily through the ranks and won two gold medals at the European karate championships in the 1980s.

Since then he has taught karate in Africa and was awarded an MBE in 1994 for his sporting achievements and charity work.

In 2007, and aged 56, he achieved his sixth dan, a prestigious title held by only eight other people in the Karate Union of Great Britain.

His achievement made him the oldest person in the Karate Union to do so at the time.

Now his inspirational life story has become the subject of a book entitled ‘The karateka who was made whole by the loss of a hand’.

Owen, a former doorman from South Hylton, Sunderland, said: “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.

“I’m poacher turned gamekeeper in a way as I now teach people how to escape safely if they are attacked.

“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.”

Owen 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.

Now his story has been recorded in a book written by karate author Dr Clive Layton.

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.

To order a copy of the book, call Ellen on 07525235526 or email


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