Muripo upgraded to Shihan

HARARE - Zimbabwe's leading karateka Samson Muripo added another title to his many accolades after he was upgraded to Shihan during a five-day Iko World So Kyokushin grading event in India on Tuesday.

Shihan is a Japanese term that is used in many Japanese martial arts as an honorific title for expert or senior instructors. It can be translated as “master instructor”.

Muripo already has an impressive curriculum vitae as he holds the renowned 4th Dan black belt Kyokushin Karate World Champion.

He is also the first African World Kyokushin Karate champion and an experienced trainer in mental and physical coordination.

Muripo is a man of few words and was modest despite achieving a great feat in the sport.

“I’m humbled towards this recent recognition, this victory is for my country and the African region. I give thanks to the Lord above for his continued guidance and protection,” Muripo said.

Zimbabwe Karate Union technical director Kumbirai Musanami said Muripo’s achievement will give the local sport a lot of attention in the region.

“Besides the physical and mental testing in this prestigious exam, he also had to go through a 50-men fight taking one karateka after the other without any rest and at least his winning ratio should be at least 85 percent,” Musanami told the Daily News yesterday.

“He did well and passed with flying colours. I’m told he was in the region of 97 percent or better which is highly commendable and gives us the satisfaction that we have an able leader who is a genuine all-rounder in all aspects of the sport.”

Musanami added that the upgrading of Muripo also comes as a blessing for ZKU, who for long have depended on international grading personnel for their local championships.

“It also means that we have grown as an association and we can conduct grading exercises locally which makes it a bit easier because we had been missing out on such initiatives owing to lack of funding,” Musanami said.

Muripo is also a Zimbabwe So Kyokushin chief instructor, a council member for the International Karate Organisation Kyokushinkain among other titles.

En-route to becoming the first ever African World Karate Champion in June 2009, Muripo defeated Spanish, Kazakhastan, German, Australian and Japanese champions in the men’s middle weight category at the 1st World Cup Open Karate tournament in Osaka, Japan.

In 2013, he was named Zimbabwe Sportsman of the Year and with this latest grading means his competing days are nearing an end.

“If he feels he can still compete he can still fight but this is a highest recognition,” Musanami said.

“He’s the first Zimbabwean from So Kyokushin to achieve this feat and it means he will now be charged more by the developmental initiatives in the region more than him competing.”

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