A KARATE centre will open at Waltham Forest Pool and Track Centre, Chingford Road, Walthamstow, with free lessons and a display by national black belt competitors.

Chingford Karate Club is opening its new centre tomorrow, and aims to instruct budding martial artists of all ages and abilities.

The shotokan karate club has been running in the area for 20 years, and has had considerable success at competitive level.

Daniel Jenkinson, a junior black belt member, won the Junior National Championship last year. His skills will be on display at the opening event.

Rob Butler, the club's chief instructor, describes the benefits of the sport, saying: "Karate instils discipline and respect for each other. It is also a great way for youngsters to understand how to concentrate and learn."

The new centre is a response to the increased popularity of karate, which Mr Butler says is down to greater awareness of the benefits of physical exercise.

He says: "People are more interested than ever in sport, and are aware of the health benefits it brings."

He adds that the desire to practise karate is today as much to do with keeping fit as self defence.

The new club opens tomorrow at 6pm. Those who enrol in classes on the day will get a free karate suit. Contact the club on 8364 3606 or info@karate-london.co.uk for more information.