Eight year old karate kid goes viral with Darth Maul skills

Eight year old karate kid goes viral with Darth Maul skills
From CTV - December 7, 2017

The Force is strong with eight-year-old Ontario boy Savino Quatela, who is dazzling online viewers and the martial arts world with weapon skills he developed in part from watching Darth Maul in Star Wars.

Videos of Savinos incredible precision with the bo staff have racked up tens of millions of views online, as the boy from Woodbridge, Ont., has rocketed up the North American sports karate circuit to become a world champion. Savino has placed second in multiple world tournaments over the last year, outshining many top competitors who are also several years older.

Savinos father, Joe Quatela, says the boy has an incredible talent for studying other fighters on video and adding their skills to his own repertoire. That talent sets Savino apart from most of his peers, including older brother Matteo, 10, who also competes at world championship tournaments.

Theres a lot of adults in martial arts in general that cant do what he does, Quatela said of his son, in a phone interview with

One of Savinos earliest influencers was the acrobatic, double-bladed lightsaber-wielding Sith Lord, Darth Maul, in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The villain, who is portrayed by real-life martial artist Ray Park, inspired Savino to focus his training efforts on the bo staff.

He mimics scenes in the movies, Quatela said, adding that he suspects Savino might have a photographic memory. He picks up things at lightning speed, he said.

Savino and Matteo have worked Star Wars into their training routine at home, where they have several lightsabers and a variety of Jedi and Sith outfits to use while they practice.

Roleplaying is encouraged at my house, Quatela said. It gets them excited to do more and train on their own.

Quatela said his boys have succeeded in their sport because they like to practice on their own, without being pressured or prompted to do so.

You cant just go to a class and do half an hour. Youve got to do it on your own and youve got to want to do it, Quatela said.

He adds that despite all the home swordplay, his boys never cross the line into fooling around or trying to hurt each other with their weapons.

They dont actually strike each other, even with their plastic lightsabers, he said. They do develop a different degree of respect for those things.


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