Sparring is an integral part of many martial arts. It’s a great practical application of skills learned in class and a wonderful opportunity for some healthy competition. Plus it’s the aspect of the sport that’s represented through the Summer Olympics which is especially fun when you can incorporate that into your classes.
For all of these reasons, it’s invaluable to include sparring and sparring training in your classes and curriculum if it applies to your sport. One of the best ways to do this is to host a sparring tournament.
The tournament can follow Olympic rules or be customized to fit your school's needs but either way, it’s a really great opportunity to not only practice sparring in a more intense and focused setting but also add a little extra spice to training.
Event Set Up
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure that you have an event set up for the tournament.
Depending on how you want to run the event, you can customize this to suit your needs – is it free or paid? Do you want it to run across a couple of days for different ages/ranks or just happen once for everyone? There are a lot of options and you can set this up however you would like.
Once the event has been created, your students can register via the app on their phone or online using your event link. You can also copy the link for the event and share it online through your Facebook or other social media.
One of the most important parts of sparring is going to be using the proper equipment. It’s important to keep all of your students safe throughout the tournament and any sparring or training you do at your studio.
If you have your own equipment to sell, add it to the retail store with a custom item.
Alternatively, if you don't have your own equipment, use Century Direct to add Century’s sparring equipment directly to your store. Century will handle any and all orders, including shipping, and you’ll make a percentage of the profit for every sale!
Need to sell a lot of equipment at once? No problem - create a retail category with all of the sparring equipment inside and create a discount code that students can use for one particular item or create a discount code for the bundle.
You’ll need to make sure you keep in contact with your students regarding the sparring tournament to ensure that you have the best turnout possible.
Make in-person announcements to remind them of the date and the deadline to register and send out email and text message reminders including the link to register.
Pro Tip: make sure you are selecting your correct active student list so you are only sending the information to the students this is relevant to.
Prepping for the Event Itself
For your sparring tournament you're going to need a couple of things. For example... a Trophy!
Of course you don't need to have one that's quite this big, but having a trophy, medal, or other prizes on hand can really help motivate students, especially younger ones.
It can help add to their sense of accomplishment, boosts their confidence, and gives them a physical reminder that they can keep with them as they move on.
We also recommend grabbing a cool backdrop and podium set up for some added pomp and ceremony after the tournament is over. These are, of course, not necessary, but they do give your tournament that extra leg up and will make it more popular at your school and on social media.
Before you ever get to the final ceremony, however, you'll need to make sure you've set up the tournament itself in a way that's fair.
Consider your students' ranks, ages, AND sizes when creating your brackets (for example: if you have a 10-year-old student who is the same size as the 7-year-olds, you might want to move them down to that size so they aren't getting hurt with students that are much larger than them).
Pro-tip: The smaller each bracket is, the less students will "lose" out on a placement which means less disappointment (especially important with younger students). While there is certainly value in losing, it can be hard on younger students when everyone got a prize or medal except them.
Have this bracket prepared beforehand with the students who registered for your event (you can export the list right out of MyStudio).
We also recommend hosting the event during a date/time when your studio is normally closed so that you don't interfere with any other classes.
However, if you do need to shut down some of your classes for the tournament, make sure you send out the correct communications and set up block-out dates in your class scheduler as needed.
If it seems like there are a lot of things to keep track of and take care of before the tournament, try setting up tasks for you and your staff in the Task Manager -- this can really help with accountability and ensuring that all the assigned tasks are completed on time.
Remember above all else to have fun with this event - your students will absolutely LOVE it and as we mentioned at the beginning this is an incredible opportunity to get them to practice everything they've been learning in class with you.
So get your tournament set up and happy Sparring!