Photo gallery: Lowestoft boy kicks up a storm with his karate

Jack Bayes, 13, is fast becoming a Karate expert despite his disability.Jack working with his instru

Jack Bayes, 13, is fast becoming a Karate expert despite his disability.Jack working with his instructor, Steve Williams. - Credit: Picture: Nick Butcher

We are constantly told that today's youngsters need to get more active and take up a sport or hobby.

But 13-year-old Jack Bayes is already doing more than most.

The Benjamin Britten High School pupil saw off tough competition to win two trophies at a karate tournament, less than a year after taking up the martial art.

And his achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that he has had to overcome a handicap that seriously limits his mobility.

Jack, of Frostenden Crescent, Lowestoft, was born without a right hip socket and shortened femur, meaning he cannot bend his leg or walk properly.

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But he has not let that stop him pursuing his goals.

Thanks to a prosthesis on his leg and plenty of determination, Jack has gone from strength to strength since taking up karate 11 months ago. Having already secured an orange belt, he won his category at a competition held by the Phoenix Karate School at Cliff Park High School in Gorleston on Sunday.

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Jack came first in the section for 0-8 kyu and, more impressively, came second in the open 4ft 2in to 4ft 8in section, which featured members of all the nine schools in the area run by Phoenix Karate.

And, ominously for Jack's future opponents, he is aiming to become a black belt within three years.

Jack said: 'When I started it was a bit difficult but I've got used to it and really enjoy coming. I've made a lot of friends and I feel more confident. I didn't think I'd win my bit of the competition – I just gave it the best I could.'

Because of his disability, Jack is unable to perform some karate moves and he trains to a modified syllabus.

As he cannot kick opponents with the prosthesis, he relies on upper body strength to overcome the disadvantage.

His mother, Karen, 48, said: 'Jack was born without a hip socket and a shortened femur so he can't bend his leg – that is why he has the prosthesis. But he has never been down about it.

'He has never let it get in the way of him doing what he wants to do – he will even do the hurdles.

'I am just so happy he did so well on Sunday. He was brilliant. I am very proud of him.'

Jack signed up to the Phoenix Karate Club's classes at Denes High School as his girlfriend Samantha Williams, a junior blackbelt, is a member. Her father, Steve Williams, is an 1st Dan instructor at the club and holds the classes, which have about 30 members, at the school in Yarmouth Road on Friday nights.

Mr Williams said: 'Jack is very determined. He has done really well since he has been here and is progressing very well. I think he should be an inspiration to others.'

The Phoenix Karate School holds Friday sessions at Denes High School on Yarmouth Road from 6pm to 7pm.

?For information on the martial arts group and all its classes call 07895 550168.

?For a report on the inter-school competition, turn to page 64 in Journal Sport.

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