A decade ago, the GMAU was one of the first legitimate online schools to begin offering internationally accredited home ranking courses. As an organization, we are always pushing the boundaries forward to create the best and most realistic training experience possible for our global students. A few years back, I had a crazy little idea to hold an online tournament. I decided to shelf the concept into the recesses of my brain for some time. Earlier this year, it resurfaced, and we set out to engineer and host the world’s first online martial arts championships. Now our online students can compete against one another (and any other martial artists) to prove themselves on the world stage.
The first obvious question, is how can you compete online? So, let us be clear, we are only holding forms (kata/poomsae) divisions. No sparring. Maybe in the future we can use VR technology to host an online sparring tournament, but for now, we can only do forms. What we realized is that at a live tournament, the judges (and spectators) simply watch with their eyes, and then score the form. The exact same thing can be facilitated with video, without reducing the accuracy of the process or standards of the competition.
If you are interested in competing in the Global Martial Arts Online World Championships, here is what you need to do:
Below is the scorecard that judges will use while judging your entry. As an open style competition, judges will do their best to score a participant on these overarching martial arts proficiency principles.
The first major category in which you can compete is Karate. This is an open-style competition, which means that any style of karate is welcome to enter. You might train in Goju-Ryu, Kyokushin, Shito-Ryu, Shorin-Ryu, Shotokan, Wado-Ryu, or something else. You can enter the competition using your favorite kata. The judging rubric is based upon principles more than the judge knowing your specific kata. The divisions are separate by age and by experience level. You will be competing with other martial artists within your same age group and belt rank group.
Another major category in the World Championships is Taekwondo. Again, as an open-style competition, any style of Taekwondo can be used in the poomsae/pattern demonstration. Whether you train in International Taekwondo Federation (ITF), Global Taekwondo Federation (GTF), American Taekwondo Association (ATA), Jhoon Rhee system, World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), or something else – your poomsae can be entered.
This category is specifically “traditional weapons” rather than extreme weapons. We did not name this “Kobudo”, as weapon styles from non-Japanese/Okinawan based systems can also be entered and demonstrated. You will demonstrate a weapons form/kata of your choice, with a weapon choice. For this category, focus on the stances, traditional techniques, and less on spins/twirls/tricks. Some popular weapons that could be used: bo, nunchaku, sai, tonfa, kama, katana, 3-section-staff, and jo. If you hold rank in a specific weapons style, such as Ultimate Bo or Kobudo, then you need to enter a division with that rank. If you hold no rank in a specific weapons style, enter a division with the rank of your main traditional style.
I can just feel you visualizing yourself throwing down and putting it on the line, giving it your all, and feeling that sense of confident victory. I then notice a withdrawal, a fear of ridicule, a fear of losing, a fear of not sizing up. Competitions bring out the best and worst of us at times. I urge you to use this competition as a catalyst to ratchet up your training. Use it as “an event” – something that you are working toward, and that will give you tangible feedback as to how far you have gone. A few benefits of competing in this online tournament:
Ready to do this? Register now for the Global Martial Arts Online World Championships.