Blind churchgoer fights his way into Karate elite

 Move over Ben Affleck - the real Daredevil "blind avenger" is a 49-year-old, church-going, father-of-two from Edinburgh. Peter Davey has just become the first blind man to fight his way into the ranks of the Karate elite after winning a coveted Third Dan Black Belt. His unprecedented win has put the Standard Life IT project manager among the top 20 Karate fighters in Scotland. Mr Davey, a member of the Episcopal congregation at Christ Church, Morningside, spars with fully sighted opponents using sound and a sonar-like awareness. "You can sense that an attack is coming. It is a little bit like sonar," said Mr Davey. "It's more difficult to know whether it's a fist or a foot coming at you. But that's not so important. The key thing is to get out of the way quickly. "I try to get hold of a person as quickly as possible. I lose my disadvantage once I've got hold of someone's wrist and put an arm or a head lock on." Mr Davey picked up his Third Dan Black Belt last week after passing a gruelling test involving kihon (basic karate moves), kata (an almost balletic sequence of movements) and kumite, or full on sparring. His test was monitored by the respected Karate master Sensei Masao Kawasoe. Officials from the Karate world today said they thought his achievement was unprecedented. "I've never heard of anyone who is even partially sighted getting to that level," said Chris Thompson, chair of the technical committee of the English Karate Governing Body. "It is hard enough for an 18-year-old to get to a black belt. His other senses must be working so much harder. I applaud him." Mr Davey's achievement is so striking that his children Calum, 16, and Miriam, 14, have started teasing him over his uncanny resemblance to the star of the latest Hollywood blockbuster Daredevil. In the film, Ben Affleck plays Matt Murdock, a blind superhero who defends the innocent in court by day and fights evil with dazzling martial arts moves by night. Mr Davey also helps the vulnerable in court by day, working as a volunteer for Advocard. He also leads a Traditional Karate Federation club in his free time. But that, says Mr Davey, is as far as the comparison goes. "I hadn't even heard of the film until my children started mentioning it. I should probably go an see it." He stressed that Karate was essentially a defensive rather than an aggressive sport. "The first move in the Kata is always a defensive one. "The main thing that I get out of the sport it that it is something that I can do at the same level as a fully sighted person. It's an excellent form of exercise apart from anything else. It has also given me a lot of confidence in terms of my life and my job." Mr Davey started losing his sight in his childhood after the onset on a rare condition called Macular Degeneration. He was registered blind with a guide dog by the age of 18. He took up Karate in 1994 when a colleague at his last place of work, General Accident, started a club. Source: Scottish Episcopal Church

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