disable shortcut keys

I have written a program which plots some data and then performs certain actions when the “down arrow” key is pressed. The problem is that the “down arrow” key is also used to move the focus to the pylab tool bar at the bottom of the window. It seems to move the focus to the tool bar before it gets to my key press call back function which handles all key strokes, which implies that I cannot do anything to stop it from performing the default behavior from my key press function. I was curious if anyone knew of a way to disable the default short cuts in pylab so that the down arrow will not switch focus to the new window. If someone knows of a way to override the default behavior, that would also suffice.

My backend is GTKAgg.