A five year old boy who wowed doctors and family with his fighting spirit has beaten the odds again at his karate class.
Young Jack Rickard’s parents were told he would struggle to even stand unaided when he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was born.
But now he has risen to the top, picking up his red belt at karate class.
Proud dad Stephen (57), of Uffington Road, Barnack, Peterborough, said: “Jack was born with cerebral palsy. His arm movements are restricted, and he sometimes struggles to walk.
“But he has constantly amazed us. The doctors said he would struggle to stand unaided in the middle of the floor, or ride a bike, but he can do those things.
“He is a trier, and we wanted him to do everything that other children do.
“One of the main things we wanted to do was keep him active, which is why he does karate.
“He needs stretching exercises, and he struggles with some of the kicks, but he has excellent upper body strength, and he really enjoys himself, and loves participating with his peers.
“Clifton Findley, his tutor, says at this early stage it is not all about technique, but it is about understanding.”
After only taking part in lessons for a matter of weeks, Barnack Primary School pupil Jack passed his first belt exam on February 28.
Stephen said: “Clifton is very positive - he is a fabulous teacher. He says he can tell Jack understands immediately, and has a fantastic memory.
“Jack always looks forward to going to karate every week.
“Getting his red belt was an exceptional achievement, and myself and his mother, Shona, are always amazed by him.”
Along with martial arts, Jack also has a talent for music, which surprised Stephen. He said: “He has a real aptitude for music and singing. His twin sister (Ava) is not like that at all, which makes it very surprising.
“We are looking at guitar or piano lessons for him in the future.
“Jack also does massive amounts of swimming, which doctors said he wouldn’t be able to do. He can swim a width without floats, which makes us very proud.”
Cerebral palsy is caused by abnormal development or damage to part of the brain which controls movement, and is either caused in pregnancy, birth or shortly afterwards.
Clifton Findley said he was very impressed by Jack’s determination - especially as he has never taught anyone with cerebral palsy before.
He said: “Jack’s co-ordination is spot on, he has learnt all his movement for his first belt, which is red, even though his leg movement is restricted.
“It’s the first time I have taught someone like Jack with this condition and I am really proud of him and his success.”