MORE than 250 karateka from clubs around South Africa will converge on the Coega Village's Vulindlela Conference Centre today to take part in the annual Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan National Championships.
The two-day tournament, now in its 19th year, starts today.
The aim of the event is to honour eighth -dan black-belt national president Claude Johnson, who established the karate organisation in South Africa.
The Shorin-Ryu Shorinkan Karate Club have seven dojos in Nelson Mandela Bay and the region has hosted the national event on six occasions.
Steve Johnson, one of the competition organisers, said they expected participants from Boland, Border and Pretoria to attend.
"This is a semi-contact style of fighting that will promote karate students to a higher level," Johnson said.
He said the event would be divided into juniors (aged six to 17), seniors (18-25) in men's and women's categories, and veterans. Today's opening day will start with kata and kobudo weapon categories, and the fighting division events will take place on Saturday.
Last year's kobudo weapon senior division winner Megan Minnaar (25) said she was looking forward to this year's tournament, even though she was nervous.
"I am hoping to win trophies and medals but overall we want the Eastern Cape to win," she said.
"I enjoy doing karate and we try to get as many competitors for the province to win. We've got a big club in Port Elizabeth, where an equal number of men and women take part."
Minnaar, a third-dan black belt, has been involved with karate for the past 15 years and she received her first-dan black belt in kobudo weapon in Okinawa, Japan, in July.