Martial arts competitors reconvene for Pennsylvania Karate Championships
The Valley High School gymnasium again will host the Pennsylvania Karate Championships, which will bring together some of the region's finest martial arts competitors.
The 42nd annual event begins 9 a.m. Saturday.
“It's considered the oldest and most established tournament in Pennsylvania,” tournament director and producer Frank Caliguri said. “We are the highest state-rated tournament that you can get.”
In addition to local competitors, Caliguri expects more than 300 participants from as far away as New Mexico and Canada to compete.
“As time goes on, word spreads and you have more instructors,” said Caliguri, who is an eighth-degree black belt. “We're looking to have a real good tournament.”
In addition to free sparring, Kata and self-defense competitions, the open tournament gives spectators a peek into different styles and disciplines, including karate, kung fu and taekwondo.
There will be seven Grand Champion trophies awarded in youth and adult divisions. The Pennsylvania Karate Rating Association also will award state titles based on this past season's cumulative point totals.
Last season's local champions who will defend their titles include Kelly Lecocq and Jeff Wadsworth of Lower Burrell, Angelo Marziale of Creighton and Jose Rivera of Murrysville.
The Caliguri classic marks the beginning of the 2015 points season. Because of the tournament's prestige and longevity, competitors have the opportunity to earn more points at Caliguri's tournament than they do at other events.
“If they place in the top three, they get a lot of points to start off the next season. If not, they have to work harder,” Caliguri said.
Case prizes will be awarded to the top two schools in the Best Supporting Schools category.
The final day to pre-register and save $5 ends Friday. Registration fees are $40 in advance or $45 at the door for one event. For two or more events, the fee will be $45 in advance or $50 at the door.
For more information, visit academyofmartialarts.com or contact Caliguri at 724-335-9300.
William Whalen is a freelance writer.