A martial arts champion has revealed his lifelong fight with epilepsy and how he suffers up to 250 seizures per DAY - half a million in his lifetime.

James Bailey, from Essex, began enduring crippling fits soon after he fell and banged his head on a pavement outside his parent's home when he was just two years old.

The gold medallist at the European Championships was diagnosed with "uncontrollable epilepsy," told he'd have to wear a crash helmet every day and that he'd lose the use of the right side of his body.

But the 27-year-old refused to be defined by his condition and, after leaving school, took up martial arts and boxing - despite being told another blow to the head could be disastrous.

James competed for Britain in Kuk Sool Won, a mix of Korean fighting styles used by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris.

He was widely considered to be among the best practitioners in the UK, and scooped gold, silver and bronze medals in three disciplines at the 2014 championships.

Now James has spoken for the first time about how a severe form of epilepsy caused by brain injury caused him to fit at least once every five minutes.

It was “totally common” for him to record more than 100 seizures within just two hours of waking up, he says.

While most only last a few minutes, some have left him fitting uncontrollably for up to three quarters of an hour.

In total James reckons he has suffered more than half a million fits in his lifetime.

But thanks to a recent adjustment in his medication, he has been seizure-free for the last seven months.

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James winning an award

“Epilepsy has without doubt been the hardest fight of my life," he said.

"A lot of people with epilepsy have three seizures a week - I absolutely blow that out of the water.

“In terms of seizures, I am like a Ferrari. I rapidly go from 0 to 100, and as soon as the doctors get my medicine right, I stop just as quickly.

“When you take into account that I average at least 150 seizures per day when uncontrolled, and I have spent approximately eight and a half years in total uncontrolled, then I must have had 465,000 seizures to date, and that’s being conservative.

“One of my neurologists has described me as a ‘miracle’. He said that he hadn’t been expecting to see somebody as capable as me, given the severity of my condition.”

James’ battle began when he was just two years old when he fell and banged his head on the pavement outside of his parent’s home.

He suffered damage to his left temporal lobe and began experiencing violent fits every few minutes.

The seizures were so frequent that he had to sleep in his parents’ bed and was only allowed to bath in three inches of water to prevent him from drowning.

James was later diagnosed with chronic epilepsy and warned that he would have to wear a crash helmet for the rest of his life.

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James as a child

His parents were also told that he would completely lose the use of the right side of his body in later life.

As a schoolboy, he was labelled a “freak” and bullied relentless about his frequent uncontrolled spasms.

His schoolwork and grades also suffered because of the amount of time he spent in hospital and the powerful, drowse-inducing medicine he was prescribed.

When he turned 16, James had the reading, writing, and speaking age of an eight-year-old.

But despite the setbacks, and against the advice of neurologists, James took up judo, boxing, and Kuk Sool Won—and excelled at all three.

By the age of 20, James had reached the level of ‘black belt candidate’ and was teaching classes of up to 30 adults and children.

He even took part in the European Championships in 2014 - held in Norfolk - where he picked up a gold in sparring, a silver in technique and a bronze in ‘forms’.

James’s condition means that his medication must be regularly tweaked to control his fits.

If the medication is working correctly, James can go many months without a major seizure. This ‘break’ allowed him to learn, teach and compete in Kuk Sool Won.

But just when things were looking up, James’s relationship of seven years fell apart.

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With plans for a wedding in place, and with his fiancée expecting their first child, James suffered more seizures and spent two weeks in hospital.

During his stay in hospital, his partner tragically miscarried - something which James blames himself for because of the stress his illness put on his fiancée.

Eventually, heartbroken James, who tried to take his own life in the weeks following his partner’s miscarriage, moved back home to live with his parents, aged 25.

Now, however, his medication seems to be regulating his condition and he has managed seven months without a seizure.

He currently runs two successful businesses—a landscape gardening company, and a personal security firm protecting well-heeled clients.

He has also developed his own ‘street-wise’ system of self-defence incorporating elements of Kuk Sool Won, judo, jiu-jitsu, boxing, and Krav Maga, which he teaches exclusively to multi-millionaire businesspeople.

James has penned a book about his life called Light In The Shadows: A Life of Epilepsy, which hits the shelves this week.

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He has also launched a Go Fund Me page to fund a one-to-one mentoring service for people with epilepsy and other conditions including obesity, depression, and anxiety, as well for those who have been bullied “Just because you’ve been dealt a bad hand it doesn’t mean you can’t end up doing well in life," he added.

“I know it may be difficult for some people to understand but, for me, my condition isn’t a curse, it’s a blessing. It has allowed me to gain all this experience that I can now use to help others.

“My parents brought me up to be positive. They said I was unique, not disabled. I know I can give people hope and help them become the best that they can be.

“I may not be able to change the world, but I can change the world for someone else.”

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