Tournaments – A Guide to Your First Competition

Tournaments – A Guide to Your First Competition

Thinking about joining our JSTKD team at a tournament?  Not sure what to expect?

Am I ready to take part?

If you’re undecided as to whether you should give it a try, it’s worth saying that contrary to what you might think, it really is better to just get stuck in! 


You can take part as soon as you get your yellow stripe and even though you might think that’s a bit soon to go launching yourself into competitions, it really is the best time to start as the only way to get experience is to, well….launch yourself into a competition!   Everyone is new at this stage so you’ll find that everyone is just testing things out and finding their way around.   Now, imagine if you wait until you reach a high colour belt before you start competing – all those red stripes will also be the same level as you but think how much more experienced they’ll be.  This is especially true for sparring but it also holds true for patterns too as although you will be used to performing your moves at gradings, it’s quite another thing to do it, under pressure  in front of a panel of judges.  Again, those people who take part regularly will have the advantage.

Great – You’ve decided to take the plunge!  What do you need to do?

Make sure your licence is up to date – a current licence is compulsory for all competitors.

Download and complete your entry from our website and return it to Mr Schembri in plenty of time with the appropriate fee.

Please take care to make sure that you enter the right category.  Correct belt and height/weight (see below) for sparring.  Don’t forget to add ‘P’ in the box if you also want to enter patterns.

For juniors (up to and including 14 years) divisions are by belt and height.  Please note that competitors will be measured on the day so please make sure you put your tick in the right box.

For cadets (15- 17 years) and adults it’s by belt and weight.  As above, competitors will be checked (weighed) on the day and there is a £10 penalty if you have to move to a different category.

For everyone (juniors, cadets and adults) please make sure you put the correct belt – this is the main colour on your belt so e.g. if you are a blue stripe on a green belt then you would choose green belt as your category.  The only exception is for the yellow stripe competitors who need to select yellow belt.

If you only want to enter patterns (i.e. no sparring events) you don’t need to worry about weight and height – just put your category (boy/girl/male/female), your belt and of course put ‘P’ in the patterns box.

Just for noting, there are also ‘tag team’ events for sparring that take place at the end of the day where you can form an impromptu team of 3 competitors, regardless of your club.   You need to pay cash (usually £5 per person) at the event itself.

What do I need to bring on the day

All competitors regardless of age/category need to wear their full TAGB dobok (white suit) – you MUST wear the full dobok or you will not be allowed to compete.  You can change at the venue if you don’t want to wear your dobok to travel in of course.

You need to make sure you have your correct colour belt that corresponds with the category you have entered (if you have graded in between and you’re a different belt by the time of the tournament, please wear the belt that matches your entry form)

If you are sparring, you MUST bring your FULL kit – headguard, shin guards, foot guards, gloves plus everyone MUST have a mouth-guard/gum-shield and male competitors MUST have a groin guard.  The officials will check that you have all your kit on before they let you take part and will refuse to allow you to spar without ALL kit.

Other bits you might not think about include having some change for the car park and bringing some drinks/snacks as it can be a long day and catering facilities vary considerably.

What will it be like?

First things first, you can expect to see some friendly faces as our team regulars will be there to cheer you on and help you settle in on the day.

Sounds obvious but be prepared for lots of people – those competing (both juniors and adults) and those supporting them.  It can be a bit chaotic whilst everyone is finding seats, finding out when their events are on etc

You will need to listen out for announcements – things like height/weight checks which will be called out by belt/category

You will need to find out where your patterns and/or sparring events are taking place – it will be a number corresponding to the various areas that are allocated so e.g. boys lightweight green belts sparring area 2.    At the larger tournaments,  there should be a display board/screen that will list the running order.

Top tip for first time sparring – put your feet on when the event before yours is taking place!  By that, we mean get your shin guards and foot pads on ready as it will get you used to wearing them and save you time when it’s your turn (boys can put their groin guards on then too if they like).  

All you need to do now is try to relax and enjoy the experience!

If you have any further questions, please see Mr Schembri after class.


Thanks to Zac Grinter for giving us the action shot and to Menna Burmingham for the fantastic patterns display!