• Share
  • Sumo
  • Share

I just want to share some knowledge about a sport that does not get much recognition for its athletes and the sport itself. Today???s terminology, Sport Karate or Sport Martial Arts, the application of competitive martial arts in a sporting environment, has been around for a few decades.

The two main categories, or divisions, of competition are Fighting and Forms. Within those two categories, there are various areas of competition ??? such as weapon forms, musical forms, team forms, team fighting, continuous fighting, and many more divisions (depending what sanction an athlete competes in). In addition, just like any sport, Sport Martial Arts has evolved into a new era of competition. These martial art (MA) athletes have been pushing the envelope and progressing the sport. This not only has increased the level of competition, but also allows martial art athletes to be more innovative in their traditional and competitive training.

With that said, athletes have taken their traditional martial arts training of Forms and combined it with acrobatic/gymnastic moves to create the widely accepted term, Extreme Martial Arts. This basically encompasses traditional punches, blocks, and kicks of any art, with a flare of flips, tucks, twists, spins, and creative combinations (flips, twists, and spins combined with kicks and/or punches). At times, break dancing moves are also included.

MA athletes that compete in fighting have revolutionized the sport too. These athletes have implemented new fighting techniques and moves that were only seen in boxing and other arts, along with training habits of professional mainstream sports players. This has heighten the level of fighting, and made the sport more exciting to watch and be apart of.

All of the various divisions at a Sport Karate tournament are broken up into age categories and levels of martial art experience. Age groups vary from event-to-event, but experience are usually the same. Less then 1 year is considered a beginner, 2 ??? 3 years is intermediate, 3 or more are advanced athletes, and Black Belts are segregated from all other under belts (non-black belts). This allows for an equal level of competition amongst martial art athletes.

Form competitions are similar to the gymnastic floor routines seen in the Olympics. Gymnasts put together routines that demonstrate their abilities in front of a panel of judges. Martial art Form competitors will either perform a traditional Form from their MA style or be more creative and incorporate flashy moves from Extreme Martial Arts. This is all performed in front of a panel of either 3 or 5 judges, (more if it is a national championship) who then give a score to each Form competitor. The competitor, or player, with the highest score takes first place, down to however many places are awarded for each division. Competitors who tie will have to perform their Form (or an alternative) again to break the tie. At times MA athletes that win their division compete against other first place winners to determine an Overall Grand Champion.

Fighting division can be pictured as tennis matches, except they are not as lengthy. Matches are usually 2 to 3 minutes long and either allows total points scored, first one to 5, or whoever is leading at the end of the match to win. Ties are sent into sudden death overtime ??? first person to score, wins. Keep in mind these rules do not apply to every Sport Karate sanction. Usually matches are single elimination with no opportunity to fight again unless a competitor makes it to the quarterfinals (the loser, will compete for 3rd and 4th place). Winners of their respected division, as in Forms, sometimes have the opportunity to compete for an Overall Grand Champion against other division winners.

Now that you know a little more about Sport Martial Arts, I hope you get an opportunity to watch these amazing athletes in action. You’ll be impressed witht their abilities, and maybe even have the urge to try martial arts.