Weapon karateka off to Russia

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s weapon karateka Wilfred Mashaya has been invited to represent the country at the International Kobudo competition and Samurai Show to be held in Moscow, Russia from November 18 to 21.

Kobudo is a system of martial arts in which practitioners use swords, nunchaku, sai, wooden staffs and other ancient weapons.

The competition involves both pre-arranged weaponry known as kata, weaponry combat known as kumite and weapons freestyle.

The fifth category is the full contact fighting known as kumite Nippon kembo and this incorporates mixed martial arts techniques and skills.

Mashaya is set to be the only African competitor at the tournament which is expected to bring together contestants from 30 countries including Japan, France, Palestine, Germany, Malaysia, Iran and hosts Russia among others.

Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) secretary-general Steven Chirandura said: “The Sports and Recreation Commission have cleared Mashaya to travel and represent the nation after receiving an official invitation letter from All Russian Kobudo Federation president Alexey Kuznestov and his participation will be a first for Zimbabwe where the sport is still growing.

“He’s a black belt holder in Kyokushin karate and this trip affords him an opportunity to be graded and certified as a Kobudo world class and competitive instructor so as to spread the discipline in Zimbabwe and Africa as a whole.

“ZKU confirms its confidence in Mashaya’s abilities and notes financing as the only hindrance.

“It is our hope that well-wishers will support this opportunity to bring pride and visibility to Zimbabwe.”

Zimbabwe So-Kyokushin karate branch chief Samson Muripo described Mashaya as the country’s own Bruce Lee.

“Martial arts weapons are usually seen in Shaolin films and Japanese Ninja films but the Zimbabwe’s own ... Lee has been unleashed who has defied all odds to rise and is about to break new ground by representing the country internationally,” Muripo said.

“In the local entertainment circles he is known as Ninja/ Ninjaress. He uses his vast martial arts experience in the Zimbabwe Republic Police where he is a regular feature of fascinating police displays where he thrills the crowds applying some of the ninjistu skills that will now be put to test on the international stage.

“The scintillating displays have made him not only popular but a darling to many fans around the country where he has been captured in action especially on well-coordinated Police Graduation Parades.

“He is one of the founding instructors of the ZRP Morris Kyokushin Karate Dojo and an active certified member of World Sokyokushin Karate with its headquarters at Raylton Sports Club.”

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