Open tournaments

Damian Mavis

Master Black Belt
Mar 21, 2002
Reaction score
Bangkok, Thailand
OK I totally got off topic in the MA tricks thread and I felt it would be a good topic for another thread. I started to talk about my experience at open karate type tournaments that shocked and horrified me because they were the worst examples of martial arts I had ever seen. (besides the villains in the karate kid series)

Anyway...I thought it would only be fair for other people around the world to post their experiences (good or bad) to see if this is a common problem everywere or just in my neck of the woods. Again I wasn't knocking karate...just the way these tournaments were outta control. Heres my quote from the other thread:

"Actually.... I've been considering going to a karate tournament for point sparring matches. But I have never gone to a karate tournament to compete before. I've gone to watch and was kinda horrified (this is not a knock on karate but rather the karate schools in my area) there was absolutely no discipline, people were screaming and yelling profanities, getting into fights and rolling around on the ground, almost attacking the people watching if they said the wrong thing!! I wanted to go down on the floor and start kicking everyone *** because it seemed not a person on the floor understood what martial arts were about. (But that would make me as bad as they were wouldn't it?) Things are pretty bad in my area for Karate...I'm positive it is NOT like that everywere else.

In TKD the tournaments (at least for ITF) are very strict. Theres no messing around or your in major trouble, and your instructor too. I think that is what a large organisation gets you....organised tournaments with rules...the karate ones are open tournaments and no one listens to no one. "

So if you've got any insight please post it all here!

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
Hi Damian,

I have competed in open trounaments for almost the last 4 decades.

You get out of it what you put into it. If all you want are the trophies, then be prepared to run into politics. If you are wanting to make new freinds, and learn from others who are not the same style, then they are great.

I for one compete for the fun of it.

Hi again,
I forgot. I don't know where you live, but I have never encounterd that kind of actions by people. Some get angry, but not to the extent that you are talking about. :)

If trouble makers come they are thrown out, but as I said, it can be fun, and a neat way to learn from others.

Ya the stuff going on at the tournaments I've visited was insane...wish I got it on video....people would be shocked. glad it's not the case everywere.

Damian Mavis
Honour TKD
Talk about timing on the subject of your posting Mr Mavis!

I went to a Open TKD toruney this weekend, got 2nd place in forms with a Kenpo pattern(which they had no idea what to look for . I was judged by a 5th Dan, 1st Dan, and 2nd Dan(both teenagers) nifty, huh?

Parents, kids running on the floor, getting in the way. Little ones crying, a Tourney Director, and a 5th Dan complaining about our work. Total disorganization, now I know why I hate these local tourneys. People not professionally dressed, not cool at all.

Thats what I like about the ITF, No parents, no non players, and if you're a Black Belt, and NOT competing or working, you ain't on the floor. Not only that, if you don't comply, you're out the door!

Got a problem, that's why you have a Chief Referee, and Director, and the Promoter is not gonna get involved, Not to mention, EMT's, or Paramedics there to provide medical attention.

Very professionally done, and no BS from anyone except those that have Real authority.

As it is, we work for free, so appreciate it, because without the other Black Belts, you got no one to run it. My big gripe:The thing I don't like, is that you have to work them in order to get consideration for getting promoted. I already have a Class B, and C Certifications, and I don't see the need to go for an A Certification. Not only that , I have to travel accross the state pretty much, just to get there. All my expenses, come from my pocket, and they make all the money. I believe in sacrificing some, but how much, and how far does one go?

Anyone care to anwser that last paragraph?

I not only judge for free I compete for free. Only at the national tournaments, do I pay. Now if I go the the ITF here, or the TSD I pay.

I have never been an advocate for closed tourneys. It limits the students as to how really good they are, because they only compete against people who are their style. I have nothing against them either. I think it is and should be left up to the individual. :)

I do believe however, that if a person is not going to like the open tourneys, then stay away. I have been to both and competed in both. But I enjoy the open more, because I meat and share knowledge with others who are different styles.

I know a man in another club, who always complains about open tourneys, yet he still goes. That to me is crazy.:rofl:
If a person is looking for a particular thing, and expect certian criteria, then I think said person should pick the kind they like and stay there. :asian:

Open tourneys are not run like a class, they shouldn't have to be, after all they are for fun. A way to relax, I have mat many a good freind at the open toruneys, and I have had the pleasure of talking to many a good masters from other styles, like Okinawan Kempo, Wado-ryu, Shoto-kan, and the such and exchanging information. So as I said I think it is left up to the idividual. :) Maybe where I am at there are more schools in the region of different styles..don't know, but the tourneys here for the most part are run by Proffesionals, and quite well.

Good points Shihantae!

Well, I forgot to add that the reason I went was to help a friend, and yes, I knew what I was getting into.(Just forgot about the other headaches)

The only other outsider there was an Shorin Ruy stylist, but he fared very well.

I do enjoy watching other other styles, and what they have to offer. That is a big plus for me.

Thank you for your views!

Tournaments are for the most part very calm in relation to what they once where. At one point (about 15 years ago ( they where blood baths.
As far as the spectators and kids walking all around the floor. The director needs to pull his head out of where ever it is. The head judge in each ring needs to take control also and tell people to get the hell off the floor or he will stop the ring then he needs the tournament director to stop all rings until some semc\blence of order is established. If a parent or student or child keeps interfering with a ring or shouting profaneities (sp) kick them out of the place if the instructor of the group they are with bitches kick him out and all his people.
The black belts on the floor MUST keep order .
Shadowchsaer I don't know what tournaments you went to, but I have been competing way long than 15 or 20 years. all the way back to no safety equipment. I have never been to a blood bath. Either regionally of nationally. Please let me know where you are at, so I won't come there. :rofl:

I think the tournaments then were more controlled than they are now. Even the full contact fights were more controlled. But like with everything else, we could have gone to different ones in different places...glad I wasn't there.

Peace, :asian:

I Live in mass. and if you ever went to any of the tournaments in this area or in N>Y>C> back in the early 70's you would have seen more blood than was sane at some of the tournaments. NOT ALL but some.
Yes things are saner now THank goodness
I know what you are talking about now. I have a freind from there.

I traveled to many palces in the 60's 70's and 80's, but not that area. I have heard about it though. So I think I will stay in my corner of the wrold. :D

Thanks for the reply.

Tae :asian:
The more I think on the subject the more I agree that years ago you would never have seen some of the crap you se today at tournaments.
Anyone walking into a ring or through the corner of the ring was fair game plus they where told in no uncertian terms to get out of the ring and off the floor.
Spectators who interrupted a ring would have been escorted out.Dojo darlings and their parents had the rath of ring officals and participants to deal with.
whole schools where banned for periods of time because of group and/or individual misbehavior(SP)

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