The Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios
Martial Arts Tournament FAQ
What is a martial arts tournament?
A martial arts tournament is an exciting event where competitors put their martial arts skills into action. SPARRING is when a student will compete against another in an effort to score the required points to advance to a trophy round and place 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in their division. In the KATA division, students perform a series of choreographed movements against invisible attackers demonstrating as much control, precision, spirit, intensity, etc., as possible. Tournaments provide students with a chance to see what’s to come in their training, watch exciting demonstrations, and experience the size of their Z-Ultimate Self Defense Studios family.
Why should I compete in a martial arts tournament?
An important reason students should compete in martial arts tournaments is to help develop confidence. The mere act of performing a Kata in front of judges or sparring against an unfamiliar martial artist helps someone understand that they are capable of more than they might have believed. Remember, the goal of competing in a martial arts tournament is not just to win a trophy, but rather to gain an education on a new side of the martial arts. Use tournaments as an experience to cultivate better character, confidence and respect. Parents, be sure to display a great attitude no matter if your child wins or not. This event should be a positive and fun event where your child feels your support and encouragement. Lastly, participation ultimately shows great Dojo team spirit.
Who is eligible to compete in the martial arts tournament?
Our tournaments are considered “CLOSED” which means only Z-USDS students may compete and only Z-USDS instructors may judge. The benefit of this is that you know you will be competing against people of the same training, mindset, and respect levels as yourself. All of our judges are instructors who run their own studios across the country, which means we do not favor one person over another, judging is fair without any strange politics that infamously plagues non-Z-USDS tournaments.
What are the rules?
The rules of martial arts tournament sparring are quite simple. There is zero to light contact allowed depending on your rank. This means the outer surface of the glove or foot protector could make contact with the outer surface of your opponent’s equipment. The force of a strike should not be felt through the equipment. This is defined as “Contact”. Anything more is considered excessive contact and will result first in a warning, then a point to the non-offender, then in disqualification. The legal striking targets are anywhere the headgear covers, the chest, stomach, and ribs. No striking is allowed to the face, back, or below the belt. There are also a few points of etiquette required for forms and sparring that your instructor will familiarize you with as the tournament nears.
How do you match people up for competition? Is there some sort of criteria?
For the Kata events, there is no pairing necessary, as that is a 1oo% individual effort, non-contact, no partner involved activity. For Kata, you will be grouped by age and rank, so that you will be competing with people that are roughly equivalent to you in experience and ability.
For sparring events, you are paired off by age, rank and size, based on the height and weight listed on the application.
How does the scoring work?
For the Kata event, you will be judged on a 1 to 10 scale and, depending on if there are enough people competing in the division to eliminate to a final four, the four people with the highest total – based on technique, balance, speed, power, intensity and difficulty – will be declared the winners.
For sparring, each time you execute a proper technique, you are awarded one point. The person who gets to three points first will be declared the winner of that match and advance to the next round. As students advance, they are paired off with other students that won their match, until it is down to the final four. The final four then compete to see who will be declared the winners.
Is this the only martial arts tournament of the year? How often are they held?
Z-USDS holds several tournaments each year. The two largest tournaments are usually held in Irvine, Orange County, at the University of California-Irvine Bren Events Center. These are the Summer and Winter Championship tournaments. Z-USDS also holds tournaments in Washington, Arizona, and Colorado. These are much smaller than the Summer and Winter tournaments, however are perfect “Stepping Stones” to help a student gain experience for the Irvine events. So take a weekend trip to any of those great places and get familiar with your Z-USDS national family.
Okay, I’m ready! How do I get enrolled in the martial arts tournament?
Your instructor will let you know when tournament registration begins and ends. Typically registration begins about six to eight weeks before the actual event and ends the Monday night before the event. Competitors pay $35.00 for one event, $50.00 for two events; weapons division is $35.00. Adult Spectator tickets are $8.00, Children spectator tickets are $6.00, and Children spectators ages 3 and under are free. Please know that studios are given only so many competitor tickets based on previous tournament attendance numbers. So be sure to register as soon as allowed so that your studio can order extra tickets as needed. Your instructor has already pre-registered your name, all you need to do is simply sign your competitor form, pick up your tickets and tournament information guide, and show up!
What is this I hear about the Dojo Tournament Trophy?
The school trophy is the extremely tall and shiny object that sits at the head trophy table at each martial arts tournament. To win the school trophy our dojo must accumulate the most points by the end of the tournament. The point system is as follows: 1st place = 4 points, 2nd place = 3 points, 3rd place = 2 points, and 4th place = 1 point. For every place we achieve, we take a step closer to bringing it home!
What about Student Code of Conduct & Image at the Tournament?
Your uniform should be neatly cleaned and pressed with no tears or holes. Be sure your Z-USDS Logo Patch is of the proper colors and not bleached! Your belt should be tied properly and a Z-USDS Logo T-Shirt should be worn beneath your uniform. No jewelry is to be worn for reasons of safety and tradition, hair, face and teeth well groomed, and a smile is always appreciated! Just as in your dojo, anytime you see a Black Belt of any age or degree tying their belt on or removing it, kneel out of respect for the rank you one day will achieve or already have. Address all upper ranks as either Sir or Ma’am, and show great sportsmanship come win or loss.
See your Instructor right away to get your application and martial arts tournament schedule and get enrolled.
Good luck – and train hard.
P.S. – To learn 10 Tips to Becoming a Martial Arts Kata Champion, follow this LINK.
P.P.S. – To learn 6 Martial Arts Sparring Secrets, follow this LINK.