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Competition events


A martial arts competition is usually divided into several separate events or unique competitions. The following are events usually seen in martial arts competitions. Which events are available in a competition and how each event is carried out varies between different martial arts and between different organizations within a martial art.

Pattern competition

In pattern competition, competitors perform their patterns in front of judges who determine the place awards. Competitors may be required to perform specific patterns, patterns required by their rank, patterns they choose from their martial art, patterns created by the competitors, patterns created by others, or even patterns from other martial arts.

Competitors usually compete in divisions arranged by age group, belt level, and gender. Patterns may be performed by individuals or by teams. Some competitions allow music to be used during pattern performance.

Scores in patterns are usually determined by a panel of judges who each score the competitor based on criteria established by the organization holding the competition. Judges usually award from zero to ten points in half-point increments. The competitor's score is the sum of the points awarded by the panel of judges. To determine the winners, competitors are rank-ordered in descending order of total points scored.

Breaking competition

In breaking competition, competitors break objects and judges determine the place awards. Competitors attempt to break pine boards, bricks, concrete blocks, etc. using their body weapons.

Successful attempts are scored according to the number and thickness of the objects broken and by the difficulty of the technique used to perform the break. Judging may be based upon the number of objects broken, the type of objects broken, the ways the objects are broken, and on the performance of the breaker.

Sometimes competitors attempt to break objects arranged at different heights and/or distances. Successful attempts are scored according to the degree of difficulty of the technique used, the height of the target above the competitor's head, the distance traveled in a jumping technique, or the number of objects broken.

Technical skills competition

This type of competition involves competitors preparing and performing a unique demonstration of their martial arts skills or using their skills in realistic self-defense situations. Competitors may compete individually or in teams. Judging and scoring are much like that used in pattern competition.

Weapons competition

In weapons competition, competitors usually do not spar each other with the weapons; they display their expertise with the weapons by performing a weapon pattern or by demonstrating the use of the weapon. Judging and scoring are much like that used in pattern competition.

There are some extreme martial arts where the competitors fight each other with weapons. While there are injuries, there are rules to help prevent serious injury. In some martial arts, such as kendo and fencing, competitors spar each other using weapons but the weapons do not have edges or points and protective equipment is worn that protects the competitors from injury.

Sparring competition

Sparring competition is when competitors spar each other in elimination matches to determine the place awards. There are many types of sparring and each organization or event may have its own unique sparring rules and methods of elimination.

The rules of sparring competitions restrict or prohibit many martial arts techniques for the safety of the competitors and to promote the use of the more difficult techniques. In the case of taekwondo, since kicking techniques are central to taekwondo, the rules of taekwondo competition foster kicking techniques. Hand strikes, while also important in taekwondo, are restricted to promote the use of more difficult kicking techniques.

Since hand strikes are more easily learned and delivered than kicks, competitors would tend to use hand strikes more than the more difficult kicking techniques if hand strikes were not restricted. This would result in an imbalance of hand techniques over kicking techniques. Additionally, because hand strikes are easily delivered to the head and may cause injury, hand strikes to the head have been eliminated for the safety of competitors.

Only techniques that result in accurate and powerful contact will score. The rules of competitions require the use of sparring protective equipment to protect the competitor from injury and allow some level of contact to be used. The type of sparring contact allowed may range from no-contact to full-contact.

Performance event

In this event, teams perform major productions to showcase their martial art, inform the spectators about their martial art, and simply to entertain the spectators. This may sort may not be a competitive event.

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