A VISUALLY impaired boy who was determined to fend off bullies is on the verge of becoming a martial arts champion.

Shamreaz Hussain asked his father Ollie for karate lessons after being physically picked on by his fellow school pupils.

The then eight-year-old told his dad he wanted to learn to defend himself in case his father was not around to protect him.

But Mr Hussein struggled to find an instructor willing to help young Shamreaz because of his condition.

He eventually found Tracie Quelch, who began to teach Shamreaz the art of Shotokan Karate.

Now, six years later, he is preparing to take his black belt exam on December 17.

His proud father, of Coventry Road, Reading, said: "There were two or three kids that were picking on him.

"He said to me 'dad you're here today but could be gone tomorrow, so I need to defend myself'.

"Those are powerful words to come from an eight-year-old.

"I was getting no joy at first. When I told them about my son they were reluctant to take him on board.

"I think the main issue was that if he got hurt they would face an insurance claim.

"He doesn't let his disability in the way.

"I am so proud of my son."

Shamreaz, who recently recovered from major surgery, is blind in one eye and has a maximum of 15 per cent vision in the other.

The Highdown School pupil, 14, is now a junior instructor in his field and hopes to pass on his wisdom to others.

Because he cannot see the moves he needs to learn, his instructor instead has to guide his legs and arms to show him the routines.

The determined teenager said: "At the beginning it was hard because I didn't recognise all the moves and the Japanese names.

"Now I've memorised all of it.

"I want to carry on doing it for years to come. I'm a junior instructor now."