Who can compete?

Gulf Coast Martial Art Championships is open to anyone who is actively training in a martial arts school.  Be sure to wear a uniform. 

For some reason that didn’t seem clear enough for one individual who kept asking about their particular style.  Regardless of what form/tul/pattern/kata you do, regardless of your style of martial arts, you’re welcome. 

Two basic rules:

1 – Other than in the self-defense division with a prearranged set of self-defense techniques, there are no ground techniques or take-downs allowed (no MMA, BJJ, Judo, cage fighters, or the like)

2 – For the most part, everyone is friendly, and we welcome your friendly face.  I‘ll try to make it right if there’s a bad call, a general mistake, or some other problem.  I can’t fix it if you don’t tell me.  However, if you’re a malcontent, don’t come rocking our happy little boat or you’ll be escorted out and uninvited for future tournaments.

Who is eligible for Gulf Coast Martial Art Champion?

All ages of any Advanced Color Belt (typically brown & red) and Black Belts.

No “one time” winners.  While it’s understandable that a person can’t make everything, you must compete in at least two of the three tournaments.  So, after the second tournament of the season, any division that doesn’t have representation will be closed off from eligibility for THAT year.  Yes, a person can still compete in that division at the following tournament, but it won’t count toward the Champion status.  Why?  This prevents someone from seeing a division that hasn’t had any representation for the year and slipping in for a default Gulf Coast Martial Art Champion title.  Yes, that happens and I’ve never understood why people wish to pad their resume with empty accolades.

How does the point system work?

1 point for competing
1 point for 3rd place
3 points for 2nd place
5 points for 1st place

So if you compete and take 2nd place, you get 1 point for competing and 3 more for placing 2nd for a total of 4 points.

There are three tournaments, and each time you compete, you get more points. At the May tournament, we crown roughly 30 Gulf Coast Martial Art Champions.

What if there is a tie?

Although unlikely, a tie can occur.

For example, competitor A consistently takes 2nd place earning them 3 points for the placement and 1 point for competing.  So in May, they have 12 points.

Competitor B takes 1st place in the Fall (plus 1 point for competing equaling 6 points), misses the Winter tournament and then takes 1st in the Spring.

Now they both have 12 points.

In this situation, there will be a “Sudden Victory” runoff just prior to the awarding of Gulf Coast Martial Arts Champion.

What if there is a tie, and I’m not at the year-end’s final tournament?

You just forfeited, and the trophy/status goes to a competitor who is present and ready to compete.

What if there is a tie and neither is at the year-end’s final tournament?

Highly unlikely.  But if this happens.  I keep the trophy…so Merry Christmas to me.  🙂

What if I can’t make the year-end final tournament and I have enough points to still be champion?

The division is forfeited.

I added up all the scores, and it didn’t make sense how the winners were picked.  How do the judges’ scores work for forms & self defense?

We take each judge’s scores and rank their winners first through fourth, giving 10 points for their first, 6 for their second, 3 for their third, and 1 for their fourth.  Then we add up all the judges scores (the 10, 6, 3, & 1 scores) to determine the 1st-3rd places.  This almost eliminates the problems with judges scoring very high or very low.   It really doesn’t matter what scale a judge uses so long as they’re consistent.  A first place on their score sheet gets 10 points whether it be a 6-8 scale, 7-9 scale, 8-10 scale, or 6-10 scale.

What if I switch divisions?

Let the registration people know! Many people will switch divisions throughout the year due to changes in rank and age. As long as the prior competitions were as an Advanced Belt or Black Belt, points will carry to whatever division they find themselves in at the final season’s tournament (typically the May tournament).

What if I miss a tournament?

Be tough to take the Gulf Coast Martial Art Champion title if you don’t make all three events.

Can I coach my child/friend/student?

Yes!  Coach all you want before the tournament, in between rounds, or after the tournament.  However, NO COACHING during the matches.

Example:  I’m judging in Ring 3.  You’re not judging.  We both have a student in Ring 2.  We’ve both had X number of years/months to train our student.  However, you’re giving the blow by blow instructions during the match while I’m tied up in another ring.  Surprise!  You’re student wins and my student feels cheated.  So what happens next time?  I refuse to judge so I can coach my students like you’re doing.  Now there’s no judges and it’s going to make for a very long tournament.  It’s a 2 minute round – there’s a fundamental problem if a student can’t function for 2 minutes without getting instructions yelled to them.  Cheering is great – coaching is bad!

In the Junior Black Belt division will be girls/boys be separate?

Typically not.  But I’ve had a request from more than one school owner so next year (Oct 2017, Feb 2018, & May 2018), we will split the divisions for the 14-17 black belt.  I’ll be glad to split any division that is too big but generally like to keep 8+ per division.  We always split a division before going over 16 competitors.

If musical/weapons is too large, will it be broken down?  

Yes.  Too big as in pushing 16 or more.  I want everyone to have a good time but I also want to keep it competitive.  Sometimes that can be tricky.  Medals & trophies are inexpensive compared to a school owner losing a student over a bad experience at a tournament.  The intent of taking my students to tournaments is to (A) broaden their exposure and (B) give them motivation to train longer.

Our (insert color here) belts are considered intermediate belts, but we will still place them with your advance belts, correct?

Please use your ranking level and place them where they belong.  I’ve seen the 18 month black belt schools and the 8 year black belt schools but seems most schools have about a 3 year black belt program.  So with that we based the divisions with 0-12 months being Beginner, 13-24 months being Intermediate, & 25-36 months being Advanced. 

What belt colors various schools use isn’t of much consequence when we’re looking at timeline.  If your timeline is different, please make adjustments.  For example, take your typical time to black belt, divide it by three and there’s your Beginner, Intermediate, & Advanced divisions.  For the school that has an 18 month program, you’re looking at 0-6 months for beginners, 6-12 for intermediate, and 12-18 for advanced.  For the school taking five years to black belt, you’re looking at 0-20ish months for beginner, 20ish-40sih months for intermediate, and 40ish-60ish months for advanced.  Yes, those two extreme examples should yield very different results in the ring, but that’s beyond our control, and again, both are not the norm but rather extreme examples.

Our martial art school has a 6 year black belt program.  Can we keep our student in the Advanced Division for three years?

Short answer:  No.  Long answer:  Each school does their own thing as we do ours.  However, we have to attempt to keep the playing field as even as we can get.  We’ve seen schools with 8 year color belt programs.  The Intermediate belts had more time in training than many Advanced belts from other schools.  So, as of the 2018-2019 tournament year, no one can compete in a color belt skill level for more than two years (meaning beginner, intermediate, & advanced). Five year color belts get bumped into black belt division.

What if there’s a mistake in judging?

There’s not “what if” there’s only “when” as mistakes are bound to happen.  As always, we’ll be as fair as we can be about it, and sometimes, although unusual, there’s simply no way to right the wrong.  If we find an error in the math and you should have taken first and took second, we’ll award the points to you.  We will NOT take the points away from the other competitor UNLESS we find where THEY have cheated.  With three tournaments, a single mistake should work itself out without having to take points back from an unsuspecting competitor who, like you, fell victim to a judge’s mistake.

With that said, quickly I’ll tell you about a phone call I got a few years back.  Gentleman tells me that he was robbed during a sparring match.  Yeah, yeah … we’ve all heard that before.  Then he says that his friends thought so, too.  I’m thinking, “Of course, they say that…they’re YOUR friends.”  Then he says, “It’s on youtube.”  Hummm, okay, now he has my attention.  So I ask for the url and he tells me.  Lo and behold, the Center Judge clearly, I mean CLEARLY missed a clean shot in the sparring match that would have caused the gentleman to win the match.  What can I do now?  Other than offering for him to compete next time for free, there is nothing I can do.  Now, the kicker to the story?  The Center Judge was yours truly.  Plain as day, it was me.  Talk about humble pie…

Everyone makes mistakes.  If the judge favors their students, malicious, or clearly incompetent, please let me know so I can make some adjustments.

This isn’t the NFL, and we don’t stop time to have an instant reply.   Watching from your small screen and from that particular angle doesn’t mean it was a good call or a bad call.  By the time we’re looking at the video, the match is long over.  Again, if we make a mistake, we’re glad to fix it the best we can.  In the heat of the moment is likely NOT the best time for rational minds to prevail.