What happens at a tournament

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Photo of tournament Photo of competitors awaiting their event Photo of boy performing a kata
Tournaments are held in large sports centres.

The competition area is usually marked up into 8 or more rings.

The people in your division line up to await their turn. There will usually be 4-16 people in each division Everyone performs their katas first. You'll be nervous, but once you begin, your training (aided by adrenaline) takes over.
Photo of guy performing 2nd kata Photo of two men fighting Two people fighting
Three judges score each performer and the person with the highest score wins. After the kata comes the kumite. Remember GKR is non-contact! The kumite is organised as a knock-out tournament (not literally!), so you must win every single fight to be victorious.
Photo of two girls fighting Photo of man pulling his arm back Two brown belt kids fighting
Everybody will fight against their approximate age, grade and gender. You'll need to kiai and show good form to win the point. Don't forget to pull the hand back! Much better form is expected in the higher grade divisions
Two experienced competitors fighting Photo of competitor offering his hand in congratulations Photo of the winners' podium
Everyone should make a point of staying to watch the opens sometimes. This is where you'll see the very best karate. Win or lose, it's important to remember our sense of sportsmanship. The winners get the medals, but everyone gets something good from the tournament just by taking part.