Lukáš Polčák was born without part of his leg and arm. Nevertheless, he swam for the Paralympic team and he was the second best swimmer in the Czech Republic. Today, he focuses on fitness, raps his own lyrics and he tries to motivate other people with various disabilities to do sports. One of the most common questions he receives is how to handle “the looks of others.” He experienced bullying at primary school himself. However, he has always done everything to the fullest.
You have been missing one leg and one arm since birth. But in your case, it is not really possible to say that it is “missing”. You do everything to the fullest - you do sports and music. You also sing your own lyrics. Do you remember what led you to start all these activities?
I remember I have always wanted to do everything that my peers and friends were doing. That is why I’ve always done everything to the fullest, handed or non handed, legged or non legged. :-) I have always been learning motivation and a positive approach to life. I watch motivational movies, I read books about positive thinking, I listen to motivational music. Last weekend, I was with my girlfriends in a theater for a performance of Four Agreements.
One of your authorial lyrics says: ,,Without a hand, without a leg, not without dreams, that’s for sure.” Have you ever fought doubts?
I have. I still do sometimes, it is natural. The most important is to realize that you have what it takes and not to give up. That really is crucial. Changing the way you think is a very long process and I think it’s not possible to do so to the full. In my opinion, it is important to learn how to live and work with fear, doubts and apprehensions.
How did you get into sports, firstly it was swimming, today you do fitness.
When I was a baby, my doctor recommended to my parents to swim with me. As a prevention against scoliosis, lordosis and kyphosis, simply poor posture. I had a tendency to do so. This is how I got to swimming. Then I started swimming competitively, I enjoyed it but most of all, I was good at it. I was really good at swimming. :-) I competed for the Paralympic team for two year and I was the second best swimmer in the Czech Republic.
Later on, I gave up swimming, I was about 18 years old. At around the age of 20 I started doing fitness. Firstly outdoors and then at the gym. And I stuck to it.
How often do you train?
It depends. A little less during the summer but from September on, I am going to start training three to four times a week!
What would you recommend to those who would like to start with fitness?
Everybody had to start and was a beginner. Even the best ones. It is only up to you. Just start.
In one of the interviews you remembered that at first, other athletes at the gym were staring at you. As a freak but also, somehow “caring”. Are there any other situations you had to face?
Yes, it used to be like that for a while. Everything is different now.
The caring approach is fine to some extent. I always say, if I wanted or needed help, I would ask for it myself. And that is for most people with disabilities. That means, you do not have to ask us ten times if we really need help or not, you only make us angry. :-)
You try to motivate other people with disabilities to do sports. Especially through social media. Do some of them come to you for advice, for example, how to start? What problems do you deal with most often?
They do. I often receive thank you messages, that they started to exercise or to do basic daily activities thanks to my videos. For example, a 20 year old guy messaged me recently that thanks to one of my videos, he finally learnt to tie his shoelaces without one hand! That is cool, isn’t it?! It is amazing to see that it all makes sense. However, the most often people ask about is how to deal with the looks of others. That is simply the most common topic.
You work on a computer. How do you manage typing, did you have to learn it in some special way?
To be honest, I don’t really remember, I was a child. But today, I can touch type with “all six”. On my YouTube channel, I also have a video on how to write hand free. Check it out! :-)
Let’s go back to your childhood. You were born without a leg and an arm. What was the most challenging for you during school years? After primary school, you continued to study at grammar school that was sports oriented.
I experienced bullying back at primary school but I also built great friendships that I still have today. We had a pretty good team, mainly the older children were the bullies. As a teenager, I learnt not to perceive bullying and today, nobody can verbally offend me in any way. Life has taught me to defend myself against it. Everything was completely fine at grammar school, nobody really cared. :-) Simply, I was just like them.
This year, you will be helping to find volunteers for the ninth year of the European Youth Games for the Disabled Emil Open. What is your opinion on this event? One of their goals is to bring disabled youth to sports.
I am very pleased. I see it as an amazing event, where many athletes can gather together across countries and especially across various disabilities. People find out that no matter what disability you have, you can do your favourite sport and be successful at it. And in my opinion, this is extremely important. I am really looking forward to the whole event and to my musical performance too. Which will be on the first day during the opening ceremony.
What are your other dreams and plans at the moment?
Thank you for this question. I have many plans and goals, both in my personal and career life. I want to focus on music but also on making motivational videos for people because I can see that it is needed and helpful.