Check out unique and fun new divisions at a tournament near you.
Sport karate tournaments today are not the same as what your instructor experienced back in the 90s with simple forms, fighting and weapons divisions. Promoters are working hard to come up with new and unique divisions to keep competitors excited about competition and to make their events more memorable. Here are ten cool divisions and concepts that you should participate in if you can!
- Super Forms – Super Forms is unique to the New England Open. This division requires you to spin a wheel and then do a whatever style of form and/or use whatever weapon you land on. You better have a full arsenal to compete in this division!
- Open Weight Fighting – Open weight fighting for adults is also sometimes known as Super Fights. It started out only for black belt adults but is expanding now to include youth. The basic concept is that all competitors enter the division and fight whomever they draw without regard to weight in contrast to competitors fighting in weight categories or by division. The Irish Open has one of the largest Open Weight divisions for black belt and advanced adults with the winners getting a lot of recognition. The Amerikick Internationals, Quebec Open, New England Open and Pan American Internationals (uses term Superfights) offer open weight for combined black belt and under belt adults and juniors. The US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships has gone even further with open weight divisions for adults and juniors at black belt and separate under belt levels with divisions based on age.
- Under Belt Finals – Under belt finals were introduced in 2015 by the New England Open and the concept has spread like wildfire. Under belt winners get their own chance on stage to perform. A great way to get the experience needed to succeed at the black belt level and for more recognition. Under belt finals are offered by the AKA Warrior Cup, Ocean State Grand Nationals, Battle of Atlanta, US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships (called the Night of Victory), Dixieland Nationals and US Capitol Classics/China Open.
- North v South (or other locations) fight challenges – Which part of the world is the best? Some events are offering a chance to find out. The Grand Slam Open offered a cool division for kids that allowed kids to fight off for their area (South or North) with each winner facing the age equivalent winner on the other side in the finals. It was a cool way to showcase the kids and create a team based on both location and skill.
- Elite Forms – The Canadian Open boasts a unique forms competition called Elite Forms. Forms competitors face off just like fighters with head-to-head competition and simultaneous performances, with the judges pointing to the winner and only one continuing to the next round. This means the winners may perform their routine many times as they face off against each challenger.
- Michael Kohrs Fights – Another creation from the New England Open is this fighting division. The Michael Kohrs fight challenge takes all entrants and throws their names in a bucket. Two names are draw and have a 60 second fight with the winner being thrown back into the bucket and two new names drawn. This is expected to offer fast-paced fighting and lots of fun surprises for competitors.
- Mixed Teams – Normally team fighting is for men or women only but the Kumite Classic is offering a mixed teams division and a huge $10,000 purse. Each team must consist of three men and one woman. A great way to make sure both genders are showcased in fighting.
- Clash Sparring – Clash sparring is an invention from the US Open ISKA World Martial Arts Championships. Clash sparring is like sparring in the dojo – it is continuous like continuous sparring – but with less contact and more breaks by the center ref if things get a little out of hand. The judges score at the end of each round. A great way to assure that your tournament experience won’t consist of just one two-minute round.
- Ironman Challenge – This was offered by the Grand Slam Open and was a pretty cool way to determine who was the best all-around martial artist. Entrants had to compete in forms, weapons and sparring disciplines and be able to do traditional and creative forms and weapons. The overall finalists were showcased in the finals. If you could win the Ironman Challenge, you could definitely call yourself the best all-around competitor in sport karate.
- Tag Team Sparring – This division is offered sporadically at events but can be a lot of fun. Each team has at least two fighters and during the match, competitors can tag in and tag out. This leads to lots of surprises and a lot of strategy needed to win. Tag team sparring is often offered at the Ocean State Grand Nationals.
Sport karate will never be boring with all the unique ideas coming from promoters. Make sure that you check out one of the cool new divisions at your next event!
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