PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The USA Karate Championships have come to Pittsburgh for the first time. There's action on every mat at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
National Team coach and former USA champ Dustin Baldis led the way in bringing the Championships to his home city.
"My local team here, we have fifty athletes competing from the Pennsylvania Shotokan Karate Club, and they're all excited because they don't have to travel far," said the Moon Township resident. "They can just come and celebrate the National Championships in their home town."
The first day is marked by solo competitions. Head-to-head battles will come later in the four-day tournament.
Junior competition begins at twelve years of age. Seniors are eighteen or older.
"Pittsburgh has been fantastic to us," said USA Karate spokesman Darren Myers. He said it's the country's mot important karate competition.
"You actually have here the National Championships, that are under the US Olympic committee. So the level of competition here is really the best it can be."
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Competitors are aware that karate may be a part in the 2020 Olympics. The Olympics take place in Tokyo, Japan, the nation where karate was born.
Between now and Sunday, all that training comes down to a few precious moments.
"You have one person to give credit to when you win," Dustin Baldis said. "And one person to blame when you lose."
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