THE North Coast’s very own Budo Martial Arts headed by internationally acclaimed Taekwondo and Hapkido master Timur Kurmanov hosted its first ever international competition recently.Dubbed the Open International Intercontinental Budo Martial Arts Festival 2018, the tournament, which took place at the KwaDukuza Town Hall, hosted well over 100 participants.High-ranking local officials and dignitaries also attended the festival, including KwaDukuza Deputy Mayor Dolly Govender.Govender was alongside Kazakhstan deputy ambassador to South Africa Berik Sadykov.The duo observed world class martial arts demonstrations. Kurmanov, who has been training locals for over a decade, said his dojo hosted the tournament with the hopes of taking KwaDukuza and the iLembe District to international levels.“We have taken many locals for overseas tournaments. I decided to host this to bring the competition to my home and our beautiful town,” Kurmanov said.He brought over some of the world’s most recognised martial arts experts including former world and Euro champion, 9th dan Akinakdo grandmaster Aleksander Rhee.Another master who attended from overseas was Anatolyi Ni, an 8th dan Akinakdo and 4th dan Taekwondo and Hapkido expert.The internationally acclaimed duo were in good company with an array of other highly trained SA martial arts experts.Abdul Latiff from Jogies Dojo in Durban, Bruce Madura from Richards Bay Stingers, Kuben Pillay from ISKF in Glenhills, Lisa Dobson from Megaforce Black Belt Academy and Terrence Goldstone from Paul Caves Kickboxing Club in Empangeni were among the highly trained from SA.Kurmanov said that the sparring youngsters competing signified future strength.“When you introduce children, to martial arts at a young age, it instills discipline strength and courage. It is a tool.“Martial arts will not just help their self-defence skills, but it will also encourage them to remain resolute and strong minded.“I believe it is vital for our young girls to also emerge as front-line competitors. It is a different time for women and we must embrace it. It helps our country and communities grow,” Kurmanov said.