It’s finally tournament season again!
Karate competition has had a strange few years. There have been highs, like the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which saw the debut of Karate as an official event. But there have also been frustrations and disappointments. Some tournaments were cancelled due to the pandemic. Even more were disrupted. Even the Olympics had to be rescheduled.
Slowly but surely, though, we’re starting to see the return of more regular martial arts competition. The tournament circuit is winding up in the United States and more events around the world are scheduled for this fall.
Getting back into martial arts tournaments can be exciting. But it can also be challenging. You have to remember or relearn how to get into competition shape and how to get into a competition mindset. You even have to remember how to prepare your gear for the big event.
We’ll leave the first two to you and your coaches. But the AWMA Blog can help you with that last one.
Whether it’s your first competition ever, or you’re a veteran who wants to double-check just in case, this checklist will help you pack for your next Karate competition.
Arguably, the most important things you’ll need to bring to a tournament are your preparation and a good headspace. Right next in line, though, is a good competition-ready martial arts uniform.
There are two main factors that should go into choosing the right Karate gi for competitions. The first is practical. Familiarize yourself with the rules of each tournament that you plan to participate in, and make sure that you pick a uniform that meets their regulations. (If you’re competing in World Karate Federation events, for example, a ProForce® WKF Approved uniform is a sound investment.)
Once that’s settled, you can focus on personal taste. What uniform do you feel most comfortable in? Which one do you feel most confident in? Finding the perfect fit for your mind and body could give you a psychological advantage in competition.
And don’t forget your belt! ProForce® also has WKF Approved Karate Belts available for your competition needs.
Martial Arts Weapons
If you’re competing in weapons kata, creative forms, or events in extreme divisions, you will also need to bring your best competition weapons with you.
The practical and personal rules apply when you’re picking the right weapons for martial arts competition, too. The first thing you need to do is make sure that your weapons meet the tournament regulations. Once that’s settled, start to look at which ones work best for you. What models do you feel comfortable and secure using? What designs do you think will highlight your techniques the best? The right martial arts weapons can elevate your performance and your presentation.
And if you’re ready to invest in new equipment right now, AWMA.com is currently having a weapons sale. Until this Sunday, August 28, Martial Arts Training Weapons are 15% off retail and wholesale.
Packing and wearing the right protective gear for Karate competitions will keep you and your opponents safer and healthier—and help keep everyone in good enough shape to train for the next tournament. If that’s still not enough to convince you, here’s something else that might: some protective gear is compulsory in some tournaments! And more is recommended.
For example, the following protect gear is compulsory in WKF competition: a mouthguard, a chest guard, shin guards, foot protectors, and gloves. The WKF also recommends groin guards for competition, although they’re not officially required.
Check with the governing body of your competition to see what protective equipment they require—and what makes and models they approve. If you have to purchase new gear to compete, don’t forget to try it beforehand to make sure it fits, break it in a little, and get comfortable using it. And then don’t forget to bring it all with you.
A Water Bottle
Hydration is important for both your health and your performance. Pack at least one water bottle filled with water and drink it throughout the day to help preserve both. (Depending on your dietary needs, you might also want to consider packing another bottle for electrolyte tablets, sports drinks, or recovery shakes.)
Speaking of dietary needs! Tournament days are long and gruelling. You’re going to burn a lot of calories, and you’re going to need to put some back in to keep your energy up. Many tournaments will have some kind of food for sale on site, but you might not know what it is ahead of time. Or it might not be the right kind of food for you. To be on the safe side, make sure to pack some easily digestible snacks that will keep you fuelled without causing any stomach issues during your competition.
First Aid Supplies
Any reputable tournament will have medics and first aid supplies on hand. But it can’t hurt to bring a few extra first aid and hygiene-related supplies along. That way you can tend to any smaller issues on your own. Things like bandaids, sanitizing wipes, and masks take up very little space and can go a long way to keeping you and your teammates safer and healthier for your big moments.
A Gear Bag
Finally, you’ll need something that you can use to store and carry the rest of your tournament gear. Ideally, you’re looking for a bag that is big enough to comfortably hold all of your gear, with enough compartments to give you easy and quick access to everything you’ll need when you need it. (This has the potential to give you a performance edge, too. Knowing where all of your gear is and being able to get it reduces stress and anxiety and allows you to focus on the important stuff.)
AWMA.com offers a wide range of gear bags to meet any martial artists’s needs. There’s even a line of tournament bags designed specifically for competition purposes.