SENSEI Tawanda Mufundisi wants to create a karate dynasty.
Mufundisi has represented Zimbabwe at several international competitions, and one would say it’s only natural that he would want to expose his children to the sport.
The serial national champion explains it thus: “Kids who take part in karate are confident and well-behaved. It’s a way of life, a positive way of life and I just want my children to grow into the best beings they can. Yes, I train them karate but they are free to pursue careers of their choices.” Mufundisi’s 12-year-old son is named Jean Claude after the famous Belgian actor and martial artist whose surname is van Damme.
Of course, the boy has already earned a black belt.
Just before he sat for the Grade 7 exams last month, Jean Claude successfully went through the IFK Kyokushin Kai black belt grading process.
And as he prepares for high school the young Mufundisi has it all mapped out in his head.
“Away from karate my dream is to be a CIO (Central Intelligence Officer),” says the 12-year-old.
Does he know what that means?
“Yes, you will be guarding the country from its enemies, working undercover. It’s a job that needs one to be very educated and that is why I work hard at school.”
The pursuit of a dream in the secret service will not stop Jean Claude from sweating it out at the dojo.
“Karate skills are also needed in the CIO because sometimes you are attacked when you don’t have a gun and you will need to defend yourself. Being a black belt holder at such a young age is exciting but it doesn’t mean much, I still have a lot to learn and it’s not a license for me to go out there and starting beating up people.”
Mufundisi says he knew his son was a fighter when the boy was just two.
“Fighters are not made, they are born. This one was born a fighter. I named him Jean Claude, which means God is gracious, after van Damme, but at that time I didn’t have the idea of him being a fighter in mind.
“However, at the age of two I began to realise that my son was a fighter through the way he loved karate movies and always imitated what he saw. At the age of four I started to train him at home and when he turned five I took him to the dojo,” beams the proud father.
In the Mufundisi household there is also the nine-year-old Alisha.
“That one is deadly. She is coming through very well and has been winning competitions since she was five and I foresee her becoming a world champion. She is fast and has amazing endurance,” says Sensei Mufundisi.
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