Teenager Riaz Amin has become a World Champion. The Stepney youngster participated in the recent WEKAF (World Escrima-Kalis-Arnis Federation), World Championships 2014.
The completion was held in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. The fighting style encompasses many forms and is based around the Filipino martial-arts based system. Competitive events involve the double, single and first strike soft stick bouts. There are also various forms and demonstration based contests.
Riaz was involved in hand-to-hand combat. Entering three events, the double, single and soft stick/first strike, Riaz walked away with winning medals in each category. His prowess was simply too good for his Hungarian opponent in the final as he walked off as World Champion.
Riaz’s bouts consisted of 3 rounds of full contact, high-octane stick fighting at extreme speed, which tested the athlete’s stamina to the highest level. The winner was chosen from their ability to demonstrate their skills, techniques, accuracy, timing, blocking, disarming, stamina and aggression.
Immense sense of achievement
Riaz said: “It’s a total honour to be a World Champion at this age and the feeling cannot be described. I would like to thank my parents for their support and my trainer Master Shamim Haque for mentoring and coaching me to such high standards.”
Master Shamim Haque, Director & Chief Instructor, FMA Academy/Kalis Illustrimo (UK & Ireland) said: “Riaz and my other student Fahim has done exceptionally well to win gold in the World Championships. They both train very hard and are very hard working and motivated students.
“Riaz is the youngest ever student from our club to win gold in a major tournament – He has an extremely bright future ahead of him.”
Near lifelong passion
Riaz started Martial Arts at the age of 5 in Shotokan Karate with Alton Brown and Joe Anderson of Toyakwai. It wasn’t long before he started competing at local, national and international competitions in. During this first spell, he won various gold medals such as The English Open, Southern Regional Championships, Maltese 4 Nations Open Competition and just missed out on a medal position in the Funakoshi World Championships.
Riaz achieved his 1st Dan Black belt at the age of 11. At the age of 13, Riaz started learning Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) at the FMA Academy under Master Shamim Haque and Abjol Miah. It is Haque who teaches him the deadly blade art ‘Kalis Ilustrisimo.’
At the age of 14, Riaz entered his first full contact tournament at the British WEKAF Tournament and became the Cadets British Champion in Single Stick Fighting that day. He was also crowned cadet’s fighter of the day held in December 2012.
Riaz has been competing consistently since at various competitions nationally at a very high standard and this has resulted in him being selected this year. A 16 year old British Bangladeshi from Tower Hamlets who become a Cadet’s squad member for Great Britain and was given the opportunity to compete at the World Championship in Hungary in July.
The WEKAF World Championships is a high level competition held with competitors from all over the World competing over a 7-day period in various events. The Championships are held every 2 years and every four years the event usually takes place in the Philippines, the home of FMA.
Photo Credit - Mo and Kay Photography - premiumphotos.co.uk