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Establishing Our Goal

The overall purpose of encouraging ATA Tigers to participate in the Songahm Taekwondo tournament process is to provide them with an introduction to competition. By handling “ATA Tiger” divisions as an introduction to competition we ensure that there will not be any “losers,” only “winners.” All children will be rewarded for what is important, their participation and effort. A key element of this ring is that it should be FUN!

Tiger Age and Rank Guidelines

The recommended ages for ATA Tigers are from 3 to 6 years old. If a student trains as an ATA Tiger in their school, then they will be allowed to participate in the Tiger division of an ATA tournament. Likewise, if a child is training as a junior student rather than an ATA Tiger, then they should participate in the junior divisions. The student’s instructor will determine in which division the child should participate.At each tournament, leadership students of tiger age have a choice to participate as a tiger or as a junior but not as both. If a student participates as a tiger for one event in a tournament, then they must participate as a tiger for all events at that tournament. Conversely, if a student competes as a junior for one event in a tournament, then they must compete as a junior for all events at that tournament.

Tiger Division Breakdowns

The following are guidelines for tiger divisions:

  • It is strongly recommended that a tiger divisions have no more than 8 participants with a maximum number of 10.
  • At regional events, it is preferable to keep tiger white belts in a separate division from orange and yellow belts. However, it is sometimes not possible.
  • It is recommended, but not required, that no more than three rank groups be combined.
  • In Tiger rings, male and female participants may be in the same ring. This is true for all ranks, including those that spar.

Tiger Ring Staff

Because ATA Tigers do not actually compete, the ring staff can be different from the normal tournament guidelines. Only one judge and one helper are required in each ring.

  • Every effort will be made to ensure that tiger judges have experience working with this age group.
  • The helper will be a leader through forms and one-steps. These leaders will be available if the child needs help with any of the material they are performing and must know the material for which they are providing help.
  • The helper may be a junior leader, younger trainee instructor, or specially trained color belt that knows the material.
  • Leaders will only be used for those participants that have indicated they need help on their registration card or if the tiger gets stuck during the demonstration of their form or one-steps.
  • Leaders will perform each form and one-step in such a manner that the tiger will able to follow along.
  • The leader may also verbally lead the student. They should use the proper names for each technique and include a descriptive term that will remind the child how to do the technique.

Tiger Traditional Form & One-Step Knowledge

The decision of what material the ATA Tiger will participate with will be left up to their instructor and should be indicated on their registration card. Tigers may compete with only one one-step, or they may use two one-steps.

Tiger Judging Criteria & Scoring Format

Since this is an introduction to competition, scoring for forms, one-steps, and sparring will be totally different from other divisions.
Judging of Tigers will be as follows:

  • A tiger will not receive a numerical score. Instead, the judge will make a positive comment about the performance of the student.
  • For one-step competition, call Tigers up two at a time and have them face the front of the ring and not each other. The judge will direct, and the leader will help each tiger to do his/her one-step(s). The judge will not award points, but will comment positively about the effort and techniques demonstrated.
  • For free sparring competition, points will not be issued. Instead, when the judge sees something special to comment on, he/she should call "break" and make a positive comment about the move. Free-sparring rounds for Tigers will be 1 minute each.
  • Each tiger will do two rounds of one-steps or free-sparring. If there is an odd number of tigers, one of them will do three rounds. The judge should pick a good positive reason for having that tiger perform an additional time.

Categories of ATA Tiger Awards

Once the Tigers have completed their demonstration, the judge will decide on which participant will receive an award in each of the following suggested categories:

  • Best Kicks.
  • Strongest Punches.
  • Loudest Yells.
  • Amazing Power.
  • Best Black Belt Attitude.
  • Fantastic Focus.
  • Best Memory.
  • Fastest Moves.
  • Awesome Blocks.
  • Most Energy.

A separate set of awards is given to those tigers who competes in Traditional Weapons, ATA-Xtreme Forms, ATA-Xtreme Weapons, Creative Forms or Creative Weapons competitions. The categories will be very similar to the categories for forms and sparring. The following are suggested categories:

  • Incredible Control.
  • Super Speed.
  • Black Belt Weapon Demonstration.
  • Powerful Weapon Handling.
  • Terrific Twirling.
  • Cool Creativity.
  • Best ATA Spirit.
  • Amazing Combos.
  • Strongest Strikes/cuts.
  • Weapon Super Star.
  • Xtreme combos.

Regions may decide to change these categories at their discretion, but it should be done with the input of those Instructors that work with tigers.