Karate kid wins despite the odds

KARATE kid Andrew Brooks has fought his way to becoming the first ever Down's Syndrome sufferer to achieve a blue belt at an Ipswich club.Quick reflexes and natural ability have helped Mr Brooks, 27, to become the most successful Down's Syndrome martial artist that Foxhall Karate Club has ever had.

KARATE kid Andrew Brooks has fought his way to becoming the first ever Down's Syndrome sufferer to achieve a blue belt at an Ipswich club.

Quick reflexes and natural ability have helped Mr Brooks, 27, to become the most successful Down's Syndrome martial artist that Foxhall Karate Club has ever had.

Mr Brooks has proven that the sky is the limit, even for those with co-ordination problems and speech impediments.

"Flexibility and an understanding of the martial arts is the key," said karate trainer Sean Hollobone.

This, coupled with his extraordinarily quick reflexes, has been the secret of Mr Brook's success.

He first started with the club eight years ago, and has even trained with England International black belt third dan and world champion Milo Hodge.

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His mum Kathy Brooks said he has worked hard and deserves to win.

She said: "It's wonderful. He's come on in leaps and bounds since he was born – I couldn't feel more proud."

Mr Hollobone said he was also immensely proud of his pupil's achievement.

He said: "I would encourage anyone with any mental or physical disability to try any sport. Just give it a go. You have nothing to lose.

"You can do anything you set your mind to."

When asked if he thought that Andrew might one day manage to earn the ultimate reward of a black belt, he was full of encouragement.

He said: "There's nothing stopping him. He could go all the way."

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