Participation in the martial arts increases annually with over 6 million people in the United States attending at least one class a year. An important part of training is martial arts tournaments where martial artists from different backgrounds and schools can test their skills and training. Tournaments also provide a unique platform for social interaction for people from all walks of life sharing a healthy common denominator – the martial arts.

Understanding the Sport and the Compete Internationals

One branch of martial arts tournaments are open martial arts competitions. These events are open to all styles of martial arts and build on traditional martial arts techniques by offering blanket rules that all participants can follow. Competitors can compete in traditional divisions, light contact or “point” sparring and performance divisions. The performance divisions allow competitors to be innovative while still maintaining the underlying traditional moves found in their style.

The final weekend of February – February 23-25, 2024 –  was the weekend for competition at the Compete Internationals Martial Arts Championships. The tournament was held in Ontario, California and is the largest open sport martial arts event on the West Coast and is always a fun way to see top notch competition and mingle with some former competitors who are now big names in the entertainment industry.

Compete Internationals is a family event run by the entire Jahanvash clan. Mohamad and Amanda Jahanvash, owners of Red Dragon Martial Arts in Diamond Bar, California are the backbone and parents – they make sure everything happens. Children Ava, Shahin and Alec have all grown up in martial arts and martial arts competition with their own roles in making the event a success. Once again, together they managed to put together a great event that was enjoyed by all.

The West Coast is also well-known as the destination for top forms and weapons competitors hoping to get into the entertainment industry. As usual, the 2024 Compete Internationals showcased amazing talent in forms and weapons. In addition, the point sparring divisions for the men and juniors were quite deep with a lot of strong talent and large divisions. Plus, there were appearances by cool people that reside in the area.

Team Paul Mitchell Dominates in Point Sparring

The 18 and over black belt fighting divisions were dominated by Team Paul Mitchell as Katerina Herman of Canada won the women’s open weight and the women’s overall weight class grand championships. In the men’s divisions, Devon Hopper of Paul Mitchell is on top of his game with the open weight win in a tough line up. His final fight against Kevin Terrell Walker was a lesson in strategy. In the individual weight classes, Darron Payne advanced to the final along with teammate Kameren Dawson where they declined to fight each other for the overall grand championship match and split the winnings.

Paul Mitchell’s men also won the men’s team sparring title at the event with a strong line-up of Kameren Dawson, Darren Payne and Devon Hopper. And what made this super exciting was the team they faced. It was a G-Force Classic as executive competitors Justus Lawrence and Kyle Richards came out of retirement to fight alongside point sparring phenom Bailey Murphy against Team Paul Mitchell. It was a lot of fun to watch. Lawrence’s timing was a little off against the speed of Dawson but he was still able to do full splits and fend off his younger opponent to stay in the mix. Richards just could not get into his groove and ended his match against Payne and ended the match with a significant deficit. Although Bailey Murphy has been known for great comebacks, he was unable to score enough for a win against Hopper and it was Paul Mitchell with the win. Here’s hoping that we see Lawrence and Richards back again this year!

Jack Felton Never Quits

One main reason to attend the Compete Internationals is because California competitor and legend Jack “Iceman” Felton always shows up to fight and prove that some competitors just get better with experience. Felton is a lightweight competitor but is able to face off against any size opponent. In men’s open weight, Felton made it to the final rounds with a solid win over Paul Mitchell’s Darron Payne. It ended up with Kevin Terrell Walker of G-Force defeating Felton in overtime to stop Felton’s drive to the finish line.  In the individual weight divisions, Felton won his division and then advanced to the stage to face Canada’s Ben Clarke for the lightweight grand championships. In the final two-round fight, it was Felton all the way with a great win for the title.

Famous Sport Martial Arts Faces In the Building

If you love to meet people in show business, Compete Internationals is the event for you. There are so many former sport karate competitors who have advanced to work in stunts, acting, choreography and so many other areas in the entertainment industry. And when Compete Internationals comes around in February, many will show up to see old friends, reminisce or watch their own students compete.

In 2024, the Compete Internationals was the place to meet Dallas Liu who played Zuko in the Netflix Series of The Last Airbender. Also in the arena was Kieran Tamondong who had a supporting role in Dahmer and Steve Terada who has a career in stunts and has appeared in Cobra Kai. Rudy Reynon who is now doing stunts and music and Gemma Nguyen who performed stunts in movies like Everything Everywhere All At Once and plays a number of characters in a new video game project were both present and presenting awards in the finals. As always, former Mortal Kombat actor Chris Casamassa opened the show.

The Best Finals Ever

The finals for the 2024 Compete Internationals was one of the best ever. It was live streamed by the crew at and you can watch it here: 2024 Compete Internationals Finals Live Stream. Ava Jahanvash had her dream come true as she debuted as the MC for the finals show and she rocked the house and kept the show moving with a great dialog throughout. For the live stream, brother Shahin Jahanvash stepped into the commentary booth with veteran Joey Perry and the two of them put on an amazing show.

The 13 and under girls competition was not only won but dominated by Madelynn Wiersma as she won all four grand championship titles for the girls (CMX and Traditional Forms and CMX and Traditional Weapons). This meant that she had no one to compete against for the overall forms and weapons titles for the evening other than herself! She put on two great demos and took home the honors. For the boys, Michael Molina and his outgoing personality were quite the treat in 13 and under boys’ weapons as he took home the overall title. In forms, Adomas Rackauskas of Team AKA defeated Jayven Jones for the overall win.

Averi Presley and Sophia Rodriguez-Flores battled back and forth for the two 14-17 girls overall titles in forms and weapons. It was Presley going home with the forms title and Rodriguez-Flores with the weapons. But Rodriguez-Flores also took the title for 16-17 girls point sparring as she showed her triple threat skills.

If you haven’t heard of Team Freestyle from San Diego, California, then you really need to learn! Coached by Will Jackson, this completely homegrown team is full of immense talent and they were in full force at the 2024 Compete Internationals. One of their standouts is Judah Sagawa. Sagawa was on stage twice for 14-17 boys forms and weapons and went home with both despite feeling a bit under the weather. Notable, this is Sagawa’s first year in the 14-17 category and he is making big waves. It usually takes a year or two for a competitor to move up and make an impact but Sagawa is jumping in with both feet in 2024 and already getting the titles.

The women’s forms and weapons overall competition gave the audience some new people to cheer on along with familiar faces. Gabrielle Rudolph did her thing and won the women’s traditional forms title. Soft stylist Sofia Campos jumped from the Chinese division during the day to the overall title for women’s traditional weapons competition during the finals. In the CMX championships, Lillie McGuire got the forms title after winning all the daytime eliminations divisions and Sara Campbell amazed the crowd with her bo techniques to take the women’s CMX weapons grand championships.

Esteban Tremblay was so powerful he broke his bo in the men’s traditional weapons overall showdown against Alec Jahanvash. Jahanvash was declared the winner. In the men’s traditional forms competition, young Diego Rodriguez-Flores keeps showing the world he means it with his overall win. Tremblay didn’t let a little broken bo stop him as he went on to win the men’s CMX forms and the men’s CMX weapons titles to close out the evening.

Help Contribute and Tell Your Sport Martial Arts Story

The West Coast is well-represented with the Compete Internationals and the talent displayed at the event. Did you attend the 2024 Compete Internationals? Send us your story from the event (team at sportmartialarts) and you might get featured on