Harare – At just age five, marshal artist Junior Mashaya is adept at eight karate katas including the taxing Sono San, and also use kobudo weapons.
Now he is the first African karateka to win a world title in Kobudo in his age group.
The son of Africa’s Kobudo master, Wilfred Mashaya, grabbed the gold at the recent Online Samurai World Championships in the weapons category, performing with the Terukawa no tonfa.
It was Junior’s third competition since he started martial arts last year, and he is well on his way to emulating his illustrious dad.
Junior’s trainer and father Wilfred said, “His passion is out of this world. At first I didn’t want him to follow in my footsteps. But he would always go about imitating my moves since he was about three-years-old, and when I was down and felt unmotivated at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, he would always wake me up.
“That’s how I started training him. I quickly saw that he was someone who could be moulded and become a good fighter. I am surprised at the rate at which he grasps techniques. He is definitely one for the future.”
Junior’s first tournament was in September 2020 at the Online OTW World Championships organised by Mediterranean Karate Alliance (MKA), where he won bronze in the karate kata doing Pinan sono san, and emerged fourth in kobudo.
He followed that up with another determined performance in December at the Online Q Challenge International Championships, again organised by the MKA. The boy scooped silver in the karate kata category.
At all the tournaments he has participated in, an average of 60 contestants from an average of 24 countries have taken part.
Among his many attributes, Junior can perform several karate katas, including the Taikyoko Sono Ichi, Sono Ni and Sono San. He can also do Pinan Sono Ichi, Pinan Sono Ni and Pinan Sono San, among others.
Junior is mastering weapons, too, and can do the Toma Bo Kata using the bo/staff, the Terukawa no Tonfa using the tonfa Weapon, and the nunchaku freestyle katas.
That is not all. He has started lessons in full contact karate, boxing and gymnastics.
Funding remains his only stumbling block though, and his perplexed dad has issued a plea for assistance to help his son realise his full potential.