About 150 athletes representing 30 different clubs will compete in the 54th Annual East Coast and Collegiate Shotokan Karate Championships this weekend at Salve Regina University, according to a news release from Salve Regina University.

The two-day event on April 8-9, which is being organized by Salve students, will include competition in multiple divisions, including seniors (age 45-plus), youths (ages 6-17), adult and collegiate. All events will take place in the Rodgers Recreation Center.

The action will begin on Saturday morning with the youth events at 8:30 a.m., followed by adult events at 11 a.m. Collegiate competitions will be held Sunday beginning at 8 a.m. Competition will be staged in individual kata (forms), individual kumite (sparring), team kata and team Kumite. Competitors will be divided by gender and rank, with adults in brown and black belt divisions, and collegians in beginner, intermediate and advanced divisions.

Karate is a registered club sport at Salve, founded and directed by Dr. JD Swanson, associate professor of biology. The club is affiliated to the ISKF under Master Teruyuki Okazaki, who has visited campus to teach a master class for Salve students. The team practices weekly in dance studio space and travels year-round throughout the Northeast participating in the East Coast Collegiate Karate Union.

The club is also open to students without any karate experience. Swanson teaches movement and meditation as a university seminar for freshmen, emphasizing the philosophy, biomechanics and history of martial arts.

Swanson has been involved in the sport of Shotokan since 1980, when he began his training at the age of 6. He has founded several Shotokan clubs along the east coast, including at Salve Regina upon his arrival as a faculty member in 2011. Having achieved the rank of Godan (5th dan) in 2013, Swanson graduated from the ISKF instructor training program, earning his license as an official instructor, examiner and judge. In 2016, he was appointed to direct the National Collegiate Karate Association, and the East Coast Collegiate Karate Union.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).