FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Inside a busy Fresno martial arts studio, karate students are hard at work preparing for their next tournament.
"We're hosting our 6th tournament. It's an open karate tournament here in Central California. Probably one of the biggest in Central California," said Fred Bell owner of Bells American Karate Fitness Owner.
Fred Bell or "Master Fred" as he's known by many, along with his wife Connie are hosting the 6th annual Central Valley Open this weekend.
"February 11th. Here in Fresno, Rio Vista middle school. We draw kids and adults from Southern California and Napa Valley even San Francisco are coming out," said Bell.
There will be a heavy Central Valley presence including one man who's experience in karate has been life changing.
"Billy he came to us. Autistic and karate has kind of taken him out of a big shell in his life," said Bell.
"I learned from my cousin. When I was young I saw how to the special move. I feel I can become just like them," said karate student Billy Cox.
Billy's passion for the sport began at a young age but it wasn't until his mother walked into the doors of Bells American Karate Fitness that his life truly transformed.
"Change his lifestyle from the isolation he was in and I had to do something. Just walked in and Master Fred just opened the door," said Billy's mother Lydia Lowe.
To a world of possibilities and a chance to showcase his skills for all to see. Billy is on the verge of earning an orange belt.
"Well last time I was white but then I started to get yellow," said Cox.
"When he had tested for his first belt and I had some grand masters come down the Bay Area. His comment after he actually fought and gave him his belt and he came up to his mom said I'm a man now," said Bell.
With a positive attitude Billy is excelling in the sport and inspiring those around him.
"Everything is improving all the time. He doesn't want to be treated any different than any of my adult, I can't give him anything less. He wants the same and he does it, he finds a way," said Bell.
"He has a journey that's going to be completed. Now the World is seeing him blossom. Enthusiastic, on time, schedule, it's just the heartbeat that beats and goes on and on," said Lowe.