Running your First Martial Arts Tournament As a School

Hosting a martial arts tournament can provide many benefits for your school. The gathering of students builds and strengthens the martial arts community in your region, which helps students from multiple schools stay engaged and motivated. Tournaments are also excellent opportunities for students to test their skills, fitness levels, and knowledge against others who have learned from a different master. Playing host shines the spotlight on your school and, in turn, attracts new students.

With that said, running a martial arts tournament is no simple or easy task. There are many moving parts, which require most schools to identify a team member that is adept at project management. The outcomes will make your efforts worthwhile, however, especially when your passion lies within martial arts. Here are some of our tips for running your first martial arts tournament.



Create your Vision

Your first martial arts tournament can be a daunting mission. While there’s an abundance of elements to consider, a solid vision and a motivated team will allow you to tackle each aspect smoothly and efficiently. To begin, decide on the size and scope of your tournament and recruit your tournament planning committee. Next, identify the ideal date and location for your region, which will allow you to create a more detailed schedule for planning and execution.

The treasurer on your committee should formulate a budget, as they work closely with your outreach manager and/or sponsor liaison, who is responsible for garnering financial support from local sponsors. Other key positions to fill are facility manager, staff/volunteer coordinator, athlete coordinator, safety and security team members, schedulers, and a technology lead. While smaller tournaments may find one person playing multiple roles, it’s important to manage workloads to ensure that tasks do not become delayed or forgotten.



Get the Word Out

Your tournament’s marketing manager should have a thorough understanding of the martial arts community that you want to attract. Contacting all eligible schools is the first step to gauging interest in your tournament. A budget-friendly marketing plan should then guide the next steps for drumming up interest from participants, viewers, and volunteers, while capitalizing on the marketing and advertising potential of hosting your tournament. 




The manager of each division of your tournament committee will determine the number of staff they’ll require in the lead-up, as well as during the event itself. Depending on your budget, you may have to source volunteers to meet your staffing needs. Get help from your marketing manager to find volunteers. Family members and friends of your students are excellent sources for volunteers. Great martial arts management software with tournament-managing features can also lighten the workload through automation. For first-timers and veterans alike, this software helps you stay organized and stop essential elements from falling through the cracks.



Managing for Success

Effective delegation is key to running a successful tournament of any size. The owner and master instructor should check in regularly with each department head, to ensure that overall progress is still aligned with the original vision. Since the management team plays such a large role in the success of the tournament, your event lead should prioritize the hiring of dependable management team members. Managers should also be advised to document all actions during the planning process, particularly if this is your first time hosting a tournament. This helps create a system of workflows that make any subsequent tournaments easier to execute.



Keep it Social

Maximize the marketing opportunities gained through hosting a tournament by leveraging social media. Come up with a compelling hashtag that participants and viewers can use. Appealing to the wealth of users sharing videos on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, a custom hashtag will curate all tournament content, so that your audience can enjoy a steady social broadcast from your tournament. This also creates a consistent source of content to share from your school accounts that is centralized and easy to find.

Looking for more ways to increase the efficiency of your school? Know when your students are ready for their belt testing, so you can better keep track of potential tournament contenders.

What were the biggest lessons you learned from your first martial arts tournament? Let us know on our Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Google+, to stay up to date with all of your ChampionsWay news.