Arashi-Do News

Friday, 02 October 2015 11:10

What You Should Know Before Your First Martial Arts Tournament - Competitor and Parent Edition!

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)


* Disclaimer: I am not a martial artist. I am a parent of several, friend to even more, and have attended close to 100 tournaments over the last 15 years. This is written from my perspective and is meant to be helpful to those who have never been to a martial arts tournament or have never been the support system for a participant before.


     It's tournament season! For those of you relatively new to martial arts, tournament season runs from late September through early June, usually, and a tournament can be a small club tournament where only those members of a certain club, such as Arashi-Do, are invited to participate, or a huge open tournament that is open to all clubs and several martial arts styles. I would like to offer my top 12 hints, tips, tricks, and things-you-should-know before your first tournament.



1) When you know a tournament is coming up it is time to check the uniform, gear, and mouthguard. Make sure they are in good repair and they still fit, especially the mouthguard. If you have just purchased a mouthguard but have not sized it yet, this is when you want to do that. 

2) A few days before the tournament you want to go through equipment again, this time to make sure you have it all, it is clean and all in one place so it can be grabbed as you head out the door. There is nothing worse than the panic that ensues as you realize something wasn't washed or a belt is missing as you are ready to leave.

3) Also a few days before the tournament, make sure you have the following information: Location of the tournament (venue), what time you are supposed to be there, what the fees are, and if possible, scope out the parking situation beforeheand. We always post information regarding our tournaments on the website ( on the events calendar. If you can not find the information in the events calendar on your location, please check the main location events calendar.

4) You competitor is likely to be nervous, especially if this is their first competition. Be encouraging, positive, and remind them that there will be a lot of kids and instructors there they know and that everyone there is an Arashi-Do person. The nerves can take quite a toll, so be as supportive and positive as possible. Ask them during the days leading up to the tournament if they would like for you to watch them practice. If they say yes, go for it! If they say no, be understanding. 

5) Be prepared for thirsty, hungry, fidgety competitors, siblings, and parents! Please bring foods that are not messy and do not require preparation and beverages that are in sealable bottles. This helps avoid cleaning up messes.

6) CHECK WHAT TIME YOUR DIVISION WILL BE EXPECTED TO COMPETE! Parking is always limited and so is space at the venue; that is why we do staggered starts. Check the division sheet or division schedule on the website, located as a downloadable file at the bottom of the event page. Bear in mind that tournament time is not like time for the rest of the world, as the time a division starts can depend on the size of previous divisions,  previous time discrepancies, late start, weather allowences, etc, and you may have to wait a little bit after your scheduled start. This does not always happen, but it can. For a club tournament, please arrive about 10 minutes before your division is scheduled to start. For an open tournament, please arrive about 30 minutes before your division is scheduled to start.

7) Process:

  • Arrive and park
  • Enter venue
  • If you registered online, present your printed ticket, or register at table or desk at the venue (Please bring cash! Not all venues have access to debit or a cash machine available so always check the fees first and bring just-in-case cash).
  • Find a place to relax while the division before yours finishes up. There will always be an overlap between divisions just finishing and the competitors just arriving. Please be patient and seating should open up.
  • Feel free to invite guests to come in and watch our tournaments! Club tournaments have no entrance fee, but always check other tournaments, just in case. Let them know about parking and that they may have to stand for a bit. 
  • Listen for your compeitors division to be called. They will be called by age and belt colour or rank, i.e., 8-10 year old orange and green belts or teen and adult Jr Black belts. Follow the directions of the person calling the division.

8) Arashi-Do does not tolerate abuse of the competitors or audience members, verbal or otherwise, or abuse of judges, centers, or volunteers. Our policy of good sportsmanship includes all competitors and audience members and invites everyone to cheer and be supportive; negativity is not allowed. 

9) Pictures! At the end of each division, immediately after the trophies are awarded, the competitors and judges stand for pictures. If you would like pictures or video during the competition please remain respectful of the need for everyone else to be able to see the event as it takes place.

10) Please do NOT enter the ring or allow non-competitor siblings to enter the ring, even if it appears inactive. If a division is in progress the ring is meant only for the competitors and judges and is set up for maximum safety. Do not sit inside the ring. I know room can be tight, but no one wants an observer to get hurt because they were too close to the action. Between divisions, feel free to move as you wish but clear the ring as soon as a division is called. 

11) Tournament Etiquette:

  • Judges make decisions during a tournament that can sometimes leave observers scratching their heads. Please do not interrupt the competition if you have questions regarding a decision. After the tournament, feel free to ask and they will explain or clarify. 
  • Do not enter the ring unless invited
  • If there is a problem in the ring such as an upset competitor, bloody nose, or some sort of disruption, please let the judges handle it. 

12) You will notice that each ring has a table set up. This is for scorekeeping and timekeeping at each ring. We LOVE volunteers! The jobs are simple but absolutely necessary. If you have the time, please volunteer to help out at one of the tables for a division or two. Be aware that your child may not be competing in the ring where you volunteered. If that happens, please wait until the division ends before leaving to watch your child. You will have our sincere thanks for helping out!!

Finally, the tip that isn't a tip or a rule or even etiquette: 13) Have Fun! In the end this is a great way to get to know new Arashi-Do members, members from other schools, and a way to be supportive of not just your competitor but of the entire Arashi-Do community. We are there to have fun, we want the competitors to have fun, and we want all of you to have fun. This is a sport and can be quite intense and serious, but believe me when I say that the instructors you know on a weekly basis laugh, see the humour in every day life, and want everyone to have a positive experience. Have Fun!

Read 2133 times Last modified on Friday, 02 October 2015 12:10