Bradford Shotokan Karate Academy’s chief instructor Fred Fawcett reckons he has a special talent on his hands.

St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School pupil Leon Kowal, who is only ten, has already been a national champion three times and is heading for the European All Styles Karate Championship in Sheffield in October.

However, Fawcett says: “Leon may be small but he has such dedication and is so mentally strong that he will be a world champion by the time he is 18.

“Not only does he train with us three times a week, but he also trains at home.

“He was so meek and mild when he first came to the club five years ago.

"He used to cry when he got a kick or a punch, as all children do, but now he can take a really strong punch or kick and not cry.”

Fawcett, who has won European gold himself, added: “His younger sister Sophie, who is six and even smaller than Leon was when he started, is also making big strides.”

Bradford Shotokan Karate Academy train at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and further information is available from seventh dan Fred on 07787-880330.