Young Karatekas Pilani Masuku (left) and Taakundanashe Matongo (right)
By Ronald Moyo
Sensei Greatmans Agripa Sibanda from the Karate Nomich Shotokan has come out with a 2018 program aimed at stretching the strides made in spreading the sport throughout the Matebeleland Provinces.
Currently, Sibanda is focusing on primary and secondary schools in Bulawayo’s Reigate district. He is overwhelmed by the uptake of Karate in the schools he is working with so far and this shows that there is interest in the entire province.
Sensei Sibanda who also introduced the sport in one of the country’s periphery towns, Tsholotsho says the program will be aligned to the Zimbabwe Karate Union (ZKU) calendar of activities.
“In line with the new curriculum which emphasise on sport, we saw it important to introduce the sport in primary and secondary schools. Karate is a discipline sport, and I have to mention that at this point, it is semi-contact. Currently I am confined within the boundaries of Reigate district, and we have been able to take part in the national tournaments. On the 5th of October we took part in the competition organised by Japanese Karate Association (JKA) in Kwekwe” said Sibanda.
The Bulawayo Provincial representatives did very well in that Shotokan competition which was sanctioned and supported by (ZKU), scooping a total of 16 medals, four of which were gold medals.
Shotokan is a style of karate, developed from various martial arts and it is largely associated with Gichin Funakoshi.
Funakoshi taught karate at various Japanese universities and became honorary head of the Japan Karate Association upon its establishment in 1949, and Sibanda has taken a step to make this character, together with his works popular among school pupils.
Viola Ngwenya, Themba Dumane, and Mthandazo Ndlovu are some of the athletes who have been doing exceptional well so far, and Sibanda says there is plenty of talent in schools, and he hopes to see them competing at the highest level in the few coming years.
“Next year definitely the program will spread to the whole Bulawayo Province. The program for next year is already out, so definitely plans are in place to cover the whole of Bulawayo. In future we are going to see National team athletes coming from Bulawayo” he added.
Aware of the fact that people have a negative attitude towards Karate as they associate it with violence, Sibanda said people have to understand that karate is a sport which emphasises on discipline, and it does not only involve kicking as many people assume.
“Initially, our focal point are the parents because you have to motivate the parent first and make them understand the sport, and in turn, it’s easier for the parent to then motivate the kid” he said.