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5th Annual World Open Karate Championship

Forget the United Nations. This weekend, the world will be gathering—and competing—in Queens. Great Grandmaster Aaron Banks’ Fifth Annual World Open Karate Championship will showcase the skill and grace of the martial arts through competitors from the United States, Asia, Europe and South America. The event will be held at the Adria Ramada Hotel and Conference Center on Sunday, April 24. Registration begins at 10 a.m.; the competition begins promptly at 1 p.m. Aside from world class competition, the event will feature will be the popular breaking exhibition, where wooden planks and glass sheets are obliterated to the delight of the crowd. A weapons competition is also scheduled. Men, women and children will all compete. “Without a doubt, the competition is very fierce,” Banks said. Banks, a great grand master, has long showcased the varied martial arts disciplines, as well as incredible displays of strength and agility in the form of live, in-your-face entertainment. His events have been held in venues as illustrious as Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. In the 1970’s he appeared in films with Bruce Lee, Richard Roundtree, Roddy McDowall and Adolph Caesar. For over 35 years, banks ran a martial arts school in Manhattan, which he gave up in 1993. “It’s important that people come and get some kind of enthusiasm, not only for themselves to start training but also for their children,” Banks said. Scheduled guests include Maurice Elmalem, known as the martial arts daredevil; Dr. Earnest Hymen; Shihan Robert Ornes; and Grandmaster Scott Schenker. Elmalem, who grew up on Ocean Parkway, has participated in over 750 championships throughout the world, claiming 47 gold medals and 450 trophies. His powerful hands and elbows have landed him in the Guinness Book of World Records. Elmalem recently penned a book called “The Willpower,” said he hopes to teach and empower a younger generation of martial artists. Banks said that breaking wooden planks and other objects, while entertaining, also serves a purpose. “It shows accuracy and how one can break a board or a brick without hurting themselves. One has to know how to do this.” “There has to be some type of object to prove you have the power to break something. Power and technique are very important.” Better brick than ribs. A medal—and bragging rights—will be the champions’ prize. The Great Grandmaster Aaron Banks Fifth Annual World Open Karate Championship will be held at the Adria Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, 220-33 Northern Boulevard, Bayside, N.Y. 11261, 718-631-5900. Tickets are $20 (adults) and $10 (children). For more information call Aaron Banks at 718-271-7997.

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