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Why We Compete
• Competition creates urgency to perfect techniques in a student’s forms
• Students are able to judge progress with other competitors of the same age and rank
• Students gain confidence by trying something they are afraid of doing
• Competitors feel part of a team as they compete to make our studio #1
• Students gain confidence to perform in front of others
• Competition inspires excellence, giving each student a chance to shine
• All competitors get to attend our competition team pizza party after each competition
In short, competing at tournaments is great for boosting self-esteem! Whether the competitor wins a trophy or not, they are all winners because they went to the tournament and tried their hardest.
Special discounts are available to parents and family members who volunteer to be a timekeeper, scorekeeper or security. Contact the front office staff at your dojo and see if volunteer positions are available. A special training class is held 2-3 weeks before the competitions to become certified.
Because of the widely varied interests and strengths of karate students, tournaments affiliated with Red Dragon Karate and the AKKF (American Karate Kung-Fu Federation) offer a variety of divisions. At Red Dragon Karate, we pride ourselves on versatility, being able to compete in Open Kata, Weapons, Sparring, even Musical Kata, Showmanship and Traditional Kata, in the space of a few hours, and performing all extraordinarily well. Beginning students (yellow to orange belt) are encouraged to compete in Kata and Sparring divisions. Intermediate and up (master orange to black belts) are encouraged to compete in as many divisions as they can; that diversity can only make them better at what they love!
“Students that compete on a regular basis excel extremely faster and more proficiently. Competition is a positive activity and beneficial experience for all martial artists.” -Shihan Sensei Louis D. Casamassa
What Can I Compete In?
Kata- A kata is a routine of self-defense moves put together in a pre arranged pattern. Competitors are judged by Black Belt officials and scored based on their balance, focus, power, intensity and degree of difficulty. Beginners traditionally perform the “Tioga’s” and then progress to the American forms. Often called 'Open Kata" because the type of form that is allowed is not restricted. The most popular forms performed in Kata division are the dynamic American forms featuring spin, jump and flip techniques, fast punch and kick combinations.
Weapons- Scored similar to kata except they add the overall control of the weapon into the scoring. Another ‘Open’ division, where a participant can demonstrate their skills in a kata that features various martial arts weapons like the knunchaku, Bo staff and Kamas.
Sparring- a special game of tag where martial arts skills are used to win points. Matches are won when a participant gets five points or the highest score at the end of two minutes. There are two corner judges and a center judge or referee to call each match and there needs to be a majority decision for a point to be called. Score one point for a punch to the body, two points for a kick to the body and one point for a kick to the groin. There is no face contact allowed for any of the color belt divisions, and chest / rib protectors are required for competitors’ age 17 and younger. Good sportsmanship and a high level of respect are a must for this division.
Musical- your favorite weapon form or kata set to music, a very dynamic and fun division. Ask your Sensei or Shi-Han for help on music selection.
Showmanship- Special demonstrations: team katas; fight sketches and other special demos with 2 or more participants often performed with music. Ask your Sensei if you want to participate and check the tournament flier for rules regarding this division.
Traditional Forms- these are the Katas handed down through the generations from Japan, Okinawa and Korea. They emphasize power, precise technique, low stances and intensity. Wearing a ‘traditional’ gi or uniform is recommended but not required. See your Sensei for more details on this division.