Martial artist overcomes learning difficulties to earn a spot at world games

Rory Lark, who will travel to Florida to compete in the World Martial Arts Championships thanks to f

Rory Lark, who will travel to Florida to compete in the World Martial Arts Championships thanks to fundraising by his father�s colleagues at Bateman Groundworks. Commercial director Jason Ramsey, holding the cheque on the right, topped the fundraising up to �1,000. Rory�s father, Eddie, is also holding the cheque. Picture: TMS Media. - Credit: Archant

A Lowestoft man is set to compete in the World Martial Arts Games in Florida next month.

Thirty-year-old Rory Lark of Blundeston, who has physical and moderate learning difficulties, has excelled in martial arts during recent years and has been rewarded with a place on the GB Team for the event in Orlando.

A head injury suffered when he was just five-years-old left Rory without the use of his left arm and spasticity in his left side, and he was treated at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge for several weeks.

But, having expressed an interest in martial when he was 15, Mr Lark's parents found him a club that would provide the necessary support and adaptable syllabus in order to help him thrive.

He subsequently achieved a black belt in jujitsu, before joining Great Yarmouth's East Coast Black Belt School to train in Krav Maga which combines techniques from boxing, wrestling, aikido, judo and realistic fight training.

His background in jujitsu helped him with the basics and he has adapted techniques to suit his physical capabilities.

Rory's mother, Tina Clarke, said: 'We didn't know how life would turn out for him, but his learning difficulties improved.

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'I was amazed he was so good at martial arts, but the repetition helps.

'No special allowances are made for him because of his disabilities; he just makes it work for him.'

Mr Lark's performance in the qualifiers at the UEA earned him a place in the squad for the games, where he will compete in the Point Sparing, Kata and Weapons categories, but he needed to raise £2,500 for his accommodation and flights.

Nevertheless, employees at Bateman Groundworks - where Rory's father Eddie Lark works - raised £1,000 towards the expenses.

Mr Lark has also been helped by £500 from the Taylor High Memorial Fund, a favour that arrived due to Rory showing continued support for the regular Taylor High events.

In addition, a fundraiser was organised by Mr Lark's darts team and the darts league has also donated £500.

Laura Biggs from East Coast Black Belt School added: 'Rory is absolutely amazing. We are so proud of him.'

Mr Lark will compete at the World Martial Arts Games from September 4 to 10.

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