The Embassy of Japan is set to host the first Japanese Karate Championship tournament scheduled to take place on October 21 at Kamuzu Institute for Sports in Lilongwe.
Japanese Ambassador to Malawi, Kae Yanagisawa, confirmed the development, saying the championship will also provide athletes a platform to qualify to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Yanagisawa said she was impressed with the development of Karate in the country but said there was need to correct the understanding of karate as a sport.
"The purpose of the tournament is to promote the understanding of Karate sport in the country as one of the important sports. Many Malawians are familiar with Karate as an entertainment in movies but they are not aware about the value of the sport.
"Therefore, the tournament is an opportunity for Malawians to understand what Karate sport is and how the sport benefits athletes to improve their physical strength, discipline and mental development," she explained.
She also said the tournament will also direct all Karate clubs in the country to move in one direction and expand the diversity of the sport.
The Japanese Embassy has also been supporting Japanese martial arts groups in Malawi namely; Judo, Kendo and Karate.
The ambassador said the forthcoming Karate championship will subsequently motivate Karate athletes in the country to polish up their skills.
Bahebe Dogani, a representative of Japanese Karate in Malawi and the owner of Zanshin Dojo (state of awareness Martial Arts School) told Mana that the tournament will uplift professional skills of Karate practitioners and expose real Shotokan Karate practitioners in the country.
"The tournament will give an opportunity to Karatekas [Karate practitioners] to educate each other and improve their Karate techniques.
"On the other hand, the event will help expose real Karatekas in Malawi because many people claim that they do Shotokan Karate. So this is an opportunity to show up real Karatekas on the ground" said Bahebe.
However, he said the tournament will not involve Kumite (sparring match), saying that the country does not have enough professional referees who can judge during the game.
According to Bahebe, the practitioners will display and compete Katas (forms) based on their colour belts in various categories.
Practitioners with Yellow, Orange and Green belts will compete in Heian Shodan and Heian Nidan Katas.
Those with Blue, Purple and Brown belts will compete in Heian Sandan and Heian Yondan and Black belts will compete under Heian Godan, Tekki Shodan and Bassai Dai.
Bahebe added that the tournament will also allow other Karate groups to demonstrate their Karate styles with the aim of bringing organisation among Karate practitioners of different styles and build strong Karate teams in Malawi.