BY MIKE STROBEL, GUEST COLUMNIST

Within the bustling taekwondo room at Selection Village, Liam Marriage, 8, is testing for his yellow belt.

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He acquired up at 6 a.m. to observe at house, so he breezes by means of the feints, pivots, jabs, blocks and thrusts, dragging his walker round just like the nuisance it’s.

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“Very, VERY good, Liam” declares Grandmaster Choung.

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Liam Marriage, 8, with black belts Kelly Morrison (again) and Mayushan Mayurathan, throughout his taekwondo check for a yellow belt at Selection Village in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday December 5, 2018. His muscle joint situation — Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) – leads to all 4 joints being frozen and stiff. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar/Postmedia)

Ernest Doroszuk /

Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar/Postmedia

Then a staffer brings out a board for Liam to cut, a la Bruce Lee. This, I gotta see. The child weighs, what, 45 kilos? To not point out he can barely bend his legs and arms.

Liam lets unfastened a yell and takes a mighty whack. The board is unmoved. “Ow!” yelps Liam, shaking his hand. However the metal rapidly returns to his eyes.

One other yell, a bolder thwack. “Ow!” says Liam once more, louder. He seems to be stunned.

A black belt steps up and adjusts the child’s palm. Liam’s jaw clenches. He delivers a last mighty clout.

The board snaps like a saltine cracker.

“Wow!” cries Liam. The room, relieved, bursts into applause. A yellow belt by no means seemed so shiny.

“That was fairly freaky,” Liam tells me of the chop, after his classmates, most with some form of incapacity, have completed their exams.

Yessirree. You probably did Bruce Lee proud.

“Wait, who?”

I assume the martial arts have moved on.


Liam Marriage, 8, with black belt Mayushan Mayurathan, throughout his taekwondo check for a yellow belt at Selection Village in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday December 5, 2018. His muscle joint situation – Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) – leads to all 4 joints being frozen and stiff. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar)

Ernest Doroszuk /

Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar/Postmedia

You met Liam in these pages about three years in the past, when he and a crew of Selection friends took on a squad of Toronto Maple Leafs in Volt hockey. Volt is a brand new Selection speciality, through which you rampage across the ground in a speedy, battery-powered cart that’s simply managed, no matter incapacity, with a toggle.

“We completely busted ‘em,” Liam recollects of these Leafs, together with Mike Babcock.

Babcock ought to have signed Liam when he had the possibility, as a result of the lad has now retired from Volt hockey. He has an excessive amount of else to do, akin to sustaining straight As in Grade 3, coaching for the Village Flames swim crew and, particularly, taekwondo, which he took up a 12 months in the past.

It’s a full plate for a dude coping with the joint-riveting affliction known as, uh, what’s it known as once more, Liam?

“Anthrogryposis,” he says. I need to look outdated and confused. “An-thro-gry-po-sis,” he says, helpfully. “5 syllables.”

Bought it, child. Did I point out he’s in Grade 3?


Liam Marriage, 8, with black belt Mayushan Mayurathan, throughout his Taekwondo check for a yellow belt at Selection Village in Toronto, Ont. on Wednesday December 5, 2018. His muscle joint situation – Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) – leads to all 4 joints being frozen and stiff. (Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar)

Ernest Doroszuk /

Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Solar/Postmedia

“Liam is the perfect pupil for taekwondo,” says Village teacher Avi Sudama, 30, a black belt.

“He’s very loud (which is useful for the standard taekwondo yell, “ki-up!”) and really pushed.”

Might he make black belt? “I hope so. He has the potential,” says Avi. “In combative video games, he’s proper in there.”

“There’s ‘toe-taps,’” Liam pipes up, “the place you attempt stepping on one another’s foot. However NOT stomping, trigger that’s gonna harm.”

Talking of which, Liam, what was with these ‘Ow’s within the board chop?

“Right here, you attempt it,” he says, with a wry smile, holding out a bit of board.

No, thanks, younger fella. I would like my palms to sort.

The subsequent belt up, orange, could have to attend a bit. Liam is scheduled for surgical procedure in June to unlock his elbow.

If he makes black belt – and I’d not guess in opposition to it – odds are it’ll be with out the walker. Largely, he’s already shed the contraption at house.

“My walker’s awkward for taekwondo,” Liam says. “It makes it arduous to get into place rapidly. Actually, it’s simply slower.”

Perhaps by then he’ll even have tossed the braces that maintain his toes straight.

“So long as he’s rising,” says his dad, Allan, “his flexibility and mobility will enhance with remedy. And nothing beats taekwondo for remedy.

“The aim is complete independence.”

His son nods, emphatically.

As Bruce Lee used to say, “As you assume, so that you shall grow to be.”

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Extra about Selection Village

Mighty mite Liam Marriage properly sums up Selection Village: “It’s actually a really inclusive place,” he says.

It’s that – and right here is nothing phony or political concerning the form of inclusiveness the Village gives youngsters. With or with out disabilities. Which is the entire level.

The individuals on this listing perceive that. They’re latest donors to my Solar Christmas Fund for Selection Village:

John Cosway, Port Hope, $35

Brian Grey, Toronto, $50

Gordon McRae, Burlington, $500

Mike O’Hearn, Scarborough, $50

Patricia Suddes, Brampton, $30

David Moss, Etobicoke, $100

Margaret McAulay, $100

Jinchon Park, Thornhill, $50

Allan Moks, Mississauga, $30

Wendy Smith, Toronto, $100

Laurel Bowman, Thornloe, $50

Shirley Lawson, Keswick, $50

Bradford Print Store, Bradford, $200

Donna Cullen, Scarborough, $100

Sylvia Ogilvie/Joe Saunders, Oshawa, $50

Eric Sobel, North York, $36

Whole thus far, $2,968

You may be part of these variety people by donating at sunchristmasfund.ca. Or see Web page 26 of the Sunday Solar for particulars.

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