The Sunday Mail
IT has taken a while – longer than expected even – but the full Samson Muripo docuseries is finally out.
A product of Yakontent, and sponsored by First Mutual Holdings Limited, the four-part series offers a unique take on Muripo’s rise to stardom, from his early beginnings in Chimanimani to being the two-time Kyokushin world champion we know today.
After a few delays in production, the last two episodes were released online recently, and below are four key takeaways from each episode.
The contents of the first episode are well-documented, but for those not in the know, here is a small biography.
Born May 5, 1978, Muripo is a two-time World Kyokushin Champion who began karate training in 1993, at Ndima High School.
In Japan 2009, Muripo won gold at the 1st World Cup Open Karate Tournament in Osaka, after defeating Japanese champion, Kikuyama Yasumichi, in the final match.
The win also saw him become the first black African Kyokushin World Champion, and to date, he has over 22 medals in various regional and international events.
However, the two he is most recognised for, are the two world championship titles in Japan 2009, and most recently Russia 2019.
A sheer force of will
After a lukewarm introduction, the second episode made huge strides in the storytelling department.
It mostly chronicles the Kyokushin master’s sheer force of will, and how it has been a major driving force during his journey to international stardom.
The ‘never give up’ spirit has a common trait during his rise to stardom, whether it was getting back onto the mat after being pretty banged up during his first competitive fight back in 2001, or the many obstacles towards gaining international recognition.
There is also the amount of work he put into strengthening both his body and mind.
“Around 2001, I competed in a tournament at Rutendo Hall in Mufakose,” said Muripo.
“I won my first fight, after many draws, and fought a very senior person in the final.
“He was very conditioned.
“When I got home, I remember my sister expressing concern over my injuries as my leg was swollen.
“However, that did not deter me.
“It actually challenged me to work and train harder, so I could become fitter and stronger than the person who had injured me,” he said.
Another master, Sensei Sam Gara, who was the referee of that fight, gives his take.
“It was one of the most interesting bouts that I have ever officiated, and up to now I have never come across such a fight,” said Gara.
“It should have been Muripo’s first professional bout, and he was so relaxed.
“When we talk of tournaments, there are certain karatekas who take advantage when they realise that they are losing the fight and end up doing illegal stuff.
“Here Shihan Muripo was actually laughing, and I could not even punish the other fighter because Muripo did not seem affected,” he said.
There are a couple of other instances of Muripo’s sheer force of will scattered around in the episode, with the main being Shihan Tendai Marange describing his journey towards self-improvement.
In it, Marange describes how Muripo worked on his craft, taking lessons twice a day until both his mind and body were well-conditioned.
Muripo: The model student
Today, Muripo stands as both a teacher and inspiration to many, doing all he can to help spread the Kyokushin to the next generation of fighters.
However, not many know about the student within and that was the biggest takeaway of the third episode.
The year is 2007, shortly after his first international tournament (All Africa Kyokushin Karate Tournament in Cape Town), and Muripo decides he wants more.
The 43-year-old ventures to Japan where he is taken through the ‘furnace’, so to speak, under the tutelage of Hanshi Daigo Oishi.
The training took roughly three months and left Muripo unable to eat or drink water for four days.
Such was the severity of the training.
However, Hanshi Oishi said Muripo was an exemplary student.
“He was an honourable student who did his best during each lesson,” said Oishi, of his time together with Muripo.
“The way he applied himself during lessons (Keiko) showed the other students how a black belt holder should conduct himself.
“He was a role model and good influence to the other students.
“I observed his strength many times, especially his ‘seikenzuki’ (punch).
“It was the best of the best.
“I also don’t know anyone like him, he is so strict and disciplined,” he said
Another Hanshi (exemplary teacher), Bastiaan van Stenis, speaks to Muripo’s humility as a student during the episode.
Under his tutelage, Muripo became Zimbabwean, South African and African champion, having met back in 2003.
Episode four opens with the podium ceremony for the 2019 World Kyokushin Karate Championship, Muripo’s most recent world title win in Russia.
Sensei Kumbirai Musinami then offers a small summary of the many fighters Muripo has trained, a few of whom have gone on to become world champions themselves.
The most notable of these are the likes of Naison Chituwa, Admire Chingozhoro, Sempai Tangayi Mhlanga.
However, these three are just the tip of the iceberg of the many people Muripo has inspired in and out of the sport.
A simple scroll through the comment section proves that it is neither his two world championship titles, the many other local and regional medals nor the many karatekas he has trained that is Muripo’s crowning achievement.
That honour goes to the many people, both local and international, that Muripo inspires with his story and exploits.
“Thank you so much for motivating us. Sometimes we do need to be reminded that it is possible,” reads one comment.
“This has been inspiring…it proves that if you keep working hard for what you want to achieve in life, you will make it”- Anonymous.
“‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’ – Martin Luther King Jnr. Such greatness has been portrayed by the man himself, Shihan Samson Muripo”- Tafadzwa.
“The results of self-discipline and commitment to what needs to be done show themselves in the achievements of Shihan Samson Muripo”- B Mukorera.
‘Keep on shinning King. Thank you for motivating us young men of Africa to take on this world” – Lionel.