A local man creates karate for the disabled, travels teaching people his methods

Posted at 5:17 PM, Jul 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-28 18:38:31-04

All his life Paul Brailer has been told things he couldn't do. 

"I can feel the front of my legs, not the back, and not from the knee down. Being told no you can't, you shouldn't your whole life, you develop a low self-esteem," he said. 

Confined to wheelchair since birth when he was diagnosed with Spina Bifida, Brailer doesn't let that stop him. He expressed that the mind, is just as important as the body, for everyone, especially someone in a wheelchair. It's something he's learned quite a bit about after loosing friends. 

"One day, like eight years ago I got a phone call that a couple of my friends died," said Brailer. "About 6 months after I found out my friends past away from being out of shape & poor health, two of my friends were mugged." 

That's when he decided to do something about it. 

"I want to encourage other disabled people to have self confidence," he said while practicing his combat moves with his partner. 

Mastering the skills in martial arts, Brailer has created Criptaedo, a special kind of self defense for people just like him. 

"With Paul, it's purely enthusiasm," said Charles Campbell one of Brailer's Criptaedo colleagues. 

And for the past three years, he's been traveling to neighboring states, teaching others his methods. 

"I'm healthier than I was seven years ago, I have more confidence than what I had seven years ago, and that's what Criptaedo is, that's what the art of karate is," Brailer said.  

"When he gets out in the community to the abilities expos, he blossoms with these people, he can just, he's infectious," said Campbell. 

His main goal? To build self-esteem, and show the impossible, is indeed possible. 

"Just because you got wheels under your butt, doesn't mean that you can't, doesn't mean that you shouldn't try," Brailer said. 

He became a 2nd-degree black belt in karate last year, a first at his gym. He hopes to connect with karate schools across the country to teach people young and old his methods.