A BLIND boy's ambition to beat the bullies has seen a 12-year-old defy the odds to notch himself one step closer to a prestigious black belt in karate.

Despite being born with no more than five per cent vision in his only functioning eye Shamreaz Hussein's instructor says he is matching and even exceeding his classmates.

By adapting the tests the Newtown schoolboy managed to nudge nearer to his dream last weekend after achieving his brown belt - one grade shy of black.

Shamreaz, known to his friends as Giggsy, said: "When I was at school I was getting bullied and I wanted to take martial arts lessons so I could protect myself and feel confident.

"At first it was difficult but then I got used to it and Tracie and Molly have really helped me a lot.

"My dad is with me now but he will not always be there to help me so I need to learn how to protect myself."

Karate instructor Tracie Quelch and her daughter Molly have spent the last two years guiding their keen student through the basic moves and helping him to drill the sequences, known as katas, into his memory.

Tracie said: "We do a lot of throws and swipes with him and it is slightly different because we usually like to keep people at a distance from each other."

Beginning bouts at close contact Shamreaz proves himself as a worthy opponent according to his teachers who believe he has what it takes to continue on for the discipline's top award.

Tracie added: "From the first lesson I said to myself he is going to get there."

Not content with a black belt Shamreaz has said he would one day like to become an instructor in is beloved shotokan karate.

Proud father Zulfiqar said he hoped his son's determination would spur others with visual impairments or disabilities.

He said: "If he can achieve this so far it should be an inspiration to other kids.

"He does not brag about it at school, he is doing it for himself.

"He knows it is a skill to use only if he has to."

Zulfiqar also added how a chance encounter was the only thing that allowed his son's dream to get off the ground.

He said: "I was banging my head against the wall, when I first phoned up three or four associations and told them about my son's condition they were very reluctant to take him on.

"Then one day when I was on the phone Tracie just happened to overhear my conversation while doing her gardening and told me to bring him along."

Two years later Tracie now believes her student has what it takes to make it.

She said: "About one per cent of people, if that, who take up karate make it to black belt.

"But Shamreaz will make it - you have to be really determined, committed and focused and he has all of that."