By Gibson C Kamanga
Back in the days, taekwondo used to be despised upon by almost all and sundry. Once people observed you were into this sport, many black-labeled you an outlaw, or a rascal incarnate so to speak.
But thanks to the power of the clock; everything is now changed. Taekwondo is slowly becoming one of the most sought-after sporting disciplines locally. Many around us are living witnesses, whatever that means, of the beauty that Taekwondo is delivering.
Now talking of the goodies of Taekwondo, there is nobody who can, not only explain better but also demonstrate it more sounding than one youthful energetic ‘Olympiad’ Joseph Phiri junior.
Based in Mzuzu, Joseph has been there and done it in the echelons of Taekwondo planet. His taekwondo skills have seen him global-trekking; demonstrating his super-human dexterity.
Born on the 1st of January 1998, the Mzuzu-based karateka’s origin into this sport was, as expected, courtesy of his curiosity towards the game.
As he recalls, his friends who used to be practicing the art back then always intrigued him.
“It was in 2008 when I used to be observing how my colleagues were twisting their bodies; practicing the art. I got fascinated with it and wanted to be part of them. The rest is where I am now,” he reminisces.
As his passion grew, so too was his popularity in the game. It was no surprise therefore that his kinsmen took hold of the wind about Joseph’s new found love, Taekwondo.
At first, as expected from Malawian parents, they loathed the sport. To them, Joseph was now a spoiled brat.
“My parents used to be discouraging me a lot from pursuing my dreams in this field. But as time went by, they started understanding it and it was also them who have been motivating me a lot, almost on a daily basis,” he says.
Eleven years later…
time immemorial, Joseph has been fighting under the Mzuzu
Taekwondo Club where he is the captain. It is through this club that he has travelled to almost all corners of the world. From Botswana to RSA, to Zimbabwe all the way to South Korea, the youngster has stepped foot there, carrying the black, red, green flag higher.
- Weight: 68 kgs
- Dan: 3rd
- Club: Mzuzu Taekwondo Club
Joseph is at pains with the minimal support Taekwondo and other minority-but-successful sports are getting from all relevant authorities. He is of the view that it was high time such successful but ignored sporting disciplines got the boost they deserve.
“We’ve been winning stories; internationally-acclaimed trophies. However, up to now, we’re not nationally recognized. It’s painful that the focus is mostly on soccer, whose fruits are always bitter,” cried he.
The discipline in Taekwondo
Against all expectations, Joseph, is one of the most disciplined youths out there. According to him, Taekwondo teaches one to be well-disciplined in all spheres of life.
“It’s not like we slap every Jim and Jack that crosses our paths. We’re professionals who have our ethical code of conducts. This is why you’ll never see a truly authentic Karateka being involved in irresponsible behaviours,” lectures he.
A day in the life of Joseph
“I normally train in the afternoon after I have finished ‘all’ of my daily endeavours. My training involves perfecting some moves, as per our various literature and also stretching here and there so as to make my body as supple as it can get.”
Take home message to wanna-be karatekas
If one wants be in this legion of elite athlete, Joseph advises, “Self-belief, dedication, and discipline are the mantra!”