Karatekas earn black belts

HARARE – At least 15 local karatekas under the Zimbabwe JKA Shotokan style were graded to black belt last week following the visit of highly-respected South African karate instructor, Shihan Edward Mtshali (7th Dan) to the country.

The grading examinations took place at the Gweru Sports Club after rigorous pre-grading sessions which also saw eight karatekas being graded to Shodan (first degree), while seven successfully graded to Nidan (second degree).

Zimbabwe JKA is affiliated to the Japan Karate Association (JKA) whose headquarters are in Japan, and practices Shotokan, a traditional semi-contact form of karate that originated from Okinawa many centuries ago.

Mtshali, who is also the JKA African region director, was pleased with the standard of karate practiced under Zimbabwe JKA as he predicted a bright future.

“I have seen very good karate from some of the practitioners and I have no doubt that Zimbabwe will be able to raise a formidable team for any future regional championship,” Mtshali said.



Zimbabwe JKA chief instructor, Phibeon Mudzenda (6th Dan), who also sat on the grading panel, said grading examinations were important to measure the quality of karate in every style.

“As a karateka you may not know how well you are doing unless you grade under such rigorous conditions. Passing such a grading is a good indicator, but even those that failed must learn from their errors and improve next time”, Mudzenda said.

The grading focused on basic drills (kihon), forms (kata) and fighting (kumite).

The grading also affords the Zimbabwe JKA a wider selection base for karatekas who will participate at the JKA Africa Cup scheduled for South Africa in August next year.

Only black belt karatekas are eligible for the competition.