Tournament FAQs

Who can compete?

Any member of ATA. There are divisions for all ages, white through black belts.

Who would I compete against?

The divisions are divided by age, rank, and size within those categories, provided there are enough competitors.

What is the difference between a Recreational and a Champion Competitor?

A champion competitor usually has a lot more competition experience.  They are actively going for a title or simply want to compete with the best martial artists in their age/rank group.  Please note: You must be in the Leadership program or higher in order to eligible for an ATA title.
A recreational competitor (formerly known as novice) is usually new to the martial arts competition arena. This competitor is not seeking to win a martial championship title (ie. State Champ, District Champ, or World Champ).  These competitors will compete with other recreational competitors.  Any program can compete in the recreational divisions.

I’m a beginner, what would I compete in?

White, orange and yellow belts, who don’t have gear, compete in two categories, forms and one-steps. They are judged on their knowledge of material, technique, and attitude. Medals are awarded for first through third place in each category. Those who have sparring gear will compete in forms and sparring. Medals are awarded for each category also.  All competitors will receive a commemorative pin for participating in the tournament. Be sure to speak to your instructor about which divisions are best for you.

What about Tigers?

ATA Tigers are a special division. We call this an introduction to competition. All Tiny Tigers will receive the same medal. Instead of placement, they are awarded based on performance. For instance, strongest kicks, strongest hand techniques, loudest ki-hap, etc. Our goal is to create confidence in public performance. Once they progress to the junior level, they will learn competition and placing. There is also a black belt assigned to the ring to assist any Tigers.

What do I need to bring?

Bring your full white uniform and belt. White gym shoes will be needed to wear around during the day with your uniform. You compete barefooted. Those sparring need official ATA approved sparring gear: head gear, foot gear, hand gear, face mask, chest protector, mouthpiece, and protective cup for males. If registered to compete in weapons, be sure to bring your ATA approved weapon.

What do I do when we get there?

  • Every tournament has a door entry fee per spectator ages 5 & older.  You will need to pay this fee before you are permitted to enter the tournament site.  Once paid, you will have access to the space for the duration of the event (including two-day events). Competitors do not pay this fee.
  • If you register in your school (not always offered), bring a Registration Forms for each Division in which you are competing to the tournament.  The form(s) will serve as the competitors entrance ticket.  Once at your ring, you will give the registration form to one of your judges. 
  • If you registered online at, your registration forms are available to print from your ATAEZSIGNUP account.  It is important to print these forms before the tournament and bring them with you.  There is not a back up copy on-site and the competitor will need them in order to compete. The forms only become available to print once payment has been received.
  • Once inside the tournament site, you will listen for the competitor’s belt color and age group to be called to “Staging.”  This is where you will be divided up and assigned a ring to start your competition.  Some groups will stage in a Ring, please check the schedule to see if you are competing on one of those groups.

What about spectators?

Spectators are welcome and encouraged to stay and cheer on their competitors. Please keep in mind there is a door fee to gain entrance.

What about food?

Remember to eat a good meal before arriving.  You may bring a snack and water (no glass containers).  There are plenty of food vendors at each tournament site to cater to our competitors and spectators.

How long will it take?

Each tournament has an approximate schedule.  However, these times may be pushed back depending on the amount of competitors and the time each division needs to complete in all events.  It is recommended not to make any other plans for non-tournament events that day.
Most tournaments will follow this order – ATA Tigers, Juniors (including junior black belts), and finally Adults.  Adult black belts may be called at any time during the day. However, this is not always the case. Please check the tournament schedule for the approximate time of your ring.
It is expected that black belt ages 13 & older help with various ring assignments throughout the day.
Juniors and color belt adults may leave once their competition is complete.

How do I prepare?

Practice!  Make sure to let your instructor knows you are competing.  They will help you prepare for the big day!  Ask if there is a special competition class or seminar you may attend.  Please note: there may be an additional fee to attend the competition class or seminar.

What are the rules of competition?

Links to ATA tournament rules can be found at our extended menu above. Please click on the Kebob menu above.


ATAEZSIGNUP is ATA’s online portal to register for tournaments.  Not all tournaments use ATAEZSIGNUP.  If you want to compete at a tournament that isn’t using the online portal, please speak with your instructor or program director.  For more information about ATAEZSIGNUP, please click here.

If you would like more information on ATA tournaments, you can find a great article written by Jenny Ross for ATA World Magazine here.