COMPETITION DIVISIONS AND RING ASSIGNMENTS

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Permission / Eligibility to Compete

THIS APPLIES TO ALL STUDENTS REGARDLESS OF RANK

To compete in any sanctioned Songahm Taekwondo event, a competitor must comply with all three of the following requirements:

  1. Be a member in good standing of the ATA. In good standing means that any member regardless of rank belt or leadership collar, must have a current membership with the organization. A Certified Instructor must also have a current instructor’s certification.
  2. Be a member and train regularly at an ATA licensed school or club.
  3. Have his/her instructor’s permission to attend and compete.

Failure to comply with any of the three requirements listed above will result in the competitor being denied the opportunity to compete, or if discovered after the completion of the event, any points or place winnings will be nullified. The eligibility requirement is applicable for all competition divisions including Traditional Forms, Traditional One-Step Sparring, Traditional Point Sparring, Traditional Weapons, ATA-Xtreme Forms, ATA-Xtreme Weapons, Creative Forms, Creative Weapons, Combat Weapons Sparring, Team Synchronized Forms, Team Demo Competitions and Team Sparring Competitions. This rule will apply to all future competition divisions as well.

Competition Rank

All Rank Competitors:
A student is considered to have earned their rank when either of the following criteria have been met:

  • Rank testing is submitted and processed by the ATA School Licensing Department.
  • The student is given his/her new rank belt by their instructor.

Color Belt Competitors:
Color belt competitors must wear the proper belt and compete in the division for the rank that they currently hold regardless of how long they have held that rank. A student should take pride in what they have earned and be honored to wear the correct belt. If the student has been awarded a rank at their school, they should wear that belt even if the instructor has not “officially” sent in the results to headquarters. 1st Degree Rec Black Belts are considered color belts for tournament competition and may NOT compete with black belts. (Some licensees use plain solid black belts to indicate the rank of recommended black belts. These competitors are considered color belts and will compete in the color belt rings.
Example #1: A new camo belt is not comfortable with free-sparring; he/she may choose to only compete in the form and/or weapons portion of the competition. He/She should not wear their yellow belt.

Black Belts Competitors:
Competitiors of 1st Degree Decided Black Belt rank or higher who are planning to test for a higher rank during the current tournament season, MAY opt to compete in the next higher rank division. See State and World Champion programs for additional information.

District Competition has specific rank rules and dates. Please, see District Championship section for exact information

Competition Age

A competitior's competition age is determined by their age as of 11:59 pm, December 31st of the tournament season. The age that they are at that time will indicate the division in which they should compete in throughout the entire tournament season.

General Procedure for Creating Divisions

Division breakdowns are handled by the Regional Tournament Team Leader or his/her assigns. The one rule that is standard is that divisions will be limited to no more than 16 competitors.
The following procedure will be followed to divide divisions for regional tournaments.

  • The competitors will be called to the “staging area” or a specific ring. This area is usually separate from the main competition floor.
  • The divisions will be made according to the number of competitors in each of the age and rank groups.
  • NO ONE (Competitors, Parents, ATA Seniors, or Spectators) will attempt to influence the Regional Tournament Team Leader (or his/her assigns) in the forming of divisions.
  • This includes asking the RTTL to make adjustments to competition ring assignments to accommodate their travel schedule.

Black Belt Divisions

The divisions for the black belts are set by the International Tournament Department and are designed to give everyone an equal chance. Divisions are based on gender, the age of the competitors, and rank. At the conclusion of each tournament season, the International Chairman of Tournaments will evaluate the number of competitors in each division and determine if any changes are to be made for subsequent tournament seasons.
The current Black Belt divisions for individual competition in Traditional Forms, Traditional Point Sparring, Traditional Weapons, and Combat Weapons Sparring events are:

Juniors

Junior Boys
8 & under 1st, 2nd & 3rd degrees
9 & 10 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
11 & 12 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
13 & 14 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
15, 16 & 17 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
Junior Girls
8 & under 1st, 2nd & 3rd degrees
9 & 10 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
11 & 12 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
13 & 14 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees
15, 16 & 17 1st degrees 2nd & 3rd degrees

Adults

Men
18 - 29 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
30 - 39 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
40 - 49 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
50 - 59 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
60 - 69 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
70 - Up 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
Women
18 - 29 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
30 - 39 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
40 - 49 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
50 - 59 1st degree 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
60 - 69 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree
70 - Up 1st, 2nd & 3rd degree 4th & 5th degree

SPECIAL NOTE: For Creative and Xtreme divisions the age groups listed above remain the same. Ranks are combined in the following ways:

  • Juniors -1st, 2nd, 3rd degrees
  • Adults-1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th degrees

Guidlelines for Dividing or Combining Competitive Black Belt Rings

The age divisions, 50 and under, will be strictly followed at National and World events. However, even at National/World events the 60 and above age divisions may be combined. On a regional level, however, it is often difficult to strictly follow these divisions. Thus on a regional level, black belt divisions MAY be combined. The Regional Tournament Team Leader (or their assign) has the ability to combine divisions where necessary. They will follow the guidelines given them by the International Chairman of Tournaments.
Notes:

  • For black belts, genders may not be combined.
  • Junior black belt age divisions must never be combined.
  • Junior black belt rank groups can be combined when one or more rank group within that age division does not contain at least five competitors. This type of combing is only applicable for competitors of the same age and gender. Consider the following cases:
    • Case 1: One rank group has one competitor, and one rank group has 5 or more competitors. Combine for one ring of 1st/2nd/3rd degrees. If the combined ring has more than 16 competitors, line up by height and divide.
    • Case 2: One rank group has 2 to 4 competitors, and one rank group has 5 or more competitors. Do not combine.
    • Case 3: Both rank groups have 1 to 4 competitors. Combine for one ring of 1st/2nd/3rd degrees.
  • Adult black belt age and rank divisions may be combined.
  • Adult rank groups may be combined at the discretion of the RTTL to facilitate competition.
  • At regional events, all black belt rings, junior, and adult, will not be divided unless there are more than 16 in the ring regardless of height. Black belts are vying for World Champion points and need to have the experience of going against the taller or shorter opponent throughout the year.

Novice Black Belt Divisions

"Novice" competition is for any student wanting to compete but not yet ready to be placed in a "competitive" ring. This applies to black belts as well as color belts. The purpose of the Black Belt Novice division is to give an inexperienced black belt competitor the option to gain tournament experience in black belt divisions before moving into the competitive divisions. A competitor, with guidance from his/her instructor, may choose to be placed in Novice divisions indefinitely. Insructors should determine if a competitor should bbe placed in a "recreational competition" (NOVICE) or a "competitive competition" (compete for points).

  • Only 1st through 3rd degree black belts may choose to compete in a novice division.
  • Novice Black Belts will not receive any championship points for placing in a Novice Division.
  • No State or World Championship points will be awarded in a novice division. (even if one competes in the event by mistake).
  • Novice Black Belt Divisions will not be held in the same ring/time as the competitive division.
  • All 8 Traditional/Creative/Xtreme events will be held in the same ring.
  • A novice competitor must remain in their traditional white uniform for creative and extreme events.
  • A competitor may choose to compete in a competitive division at one tournament, and novice in another. The competitor must choose for the day to either be in Novice or Competitive divisions. He/she may not be in both type competitions at the same tournament.
  • When judging Black Belt Novice divisions, the Center Judge does not give a zero for an incomplete form. The Center Judge’s score should reflect the overall presentation with no consideration as to the completeness of the form.

Dividing Novice Black Belts Divisions

  • For all Novice Black Belt divisions,1st-3rd degrees ranks will be combined.
  • For black belt juniors, age divisions nor genders will be combined.
  • For black belt adults, genders will not be combined. However, age divisions will be combined.
  • If the division has more than 12 competitors and is to be split, the RTTL will split the division in half. Rank will not be a consideration when making the split. Competitors will be split by height.
  • If there are 12 or fewer competitors, the ring will not be split.
  • If a ring of 12 has been sent to the competition floor (on deck) and an additional competitor arrives, the ring will not be split at that time.

Color Belt Divisions

In trying to promote color belt competition at regional events and provide them with a positive experience color belt rings will be either classified as Novice or Competitive.

Competitive Divisions Guidelines

Competitive divisions are available for the student who wishes to compete at a higher level and possibly earn points for the State Top Ten standings. Only color belts "officially" registered in the ATA leadership program receive points for State top ten standings.

Dividing Competitive Color Belt Divisions

Due to the vast difference from region to region of the number of competitors at each event, it is not feasible to issue comprehensive rules concerning how the color belt divisions will be formed. Regional Tournament Team Leaders will try whenever possible to follow the black belt junior and adult divisions for color belt competitions. They may at their discretion combine or alter color belt divisions to facilitate competition. However, All Adult color belt rings will not be split unless there are more than 16 in the ring regardless of height. Adults have a better understanding of the concept of competition and in general want more competition. Junior Color belt rings will be combined to facilitate competition. The combination guidelines are handled by the RTTL of the event.

Novice Color Belt Division Guidelines

The purpose of the novice color belt division is to give an inexperienced student the option to gain tournament experience before moving into the competitive divisions.

The following guidelines apply for a novice division:

  • The choice to compete in the novice division is made by the competitor and their instructor on a tournament-by-tournament basis.
  • A competitor may elect to compete in the novice color belt division at a tournament even if they have previously competed in a competitive division.
  • The choice to compete as a novice applies to the entire tournament. i.e. A competitor may not compete in the novice division in some events and the competitive division in others.
  • Novice competitors may compete in forms, traditional weapons, sparring/one-steps and combat weapons, but are not required to compete in any specific event.
  • Novice competitors may compete in creative and xtreme events. This competition will take place in their traditional ring after the traditional events have been completed. A novice competitor must remain in their traditional white uniform for creative and extreme events.
  • Novice divisions are required at all sanctioned regional tournaments and must be advertised accordingly.
  • In Novice division traditional forms competition, the competitors are not required, but may, perform a complete form. Judges will base their score according to what the competitor demonstrates based on their traditional judging assignments. A competitor will not be penalized by any judge for an incomplete form nor will a competitor be given extra consideration for completing the entire form.
  • For traditional weapons competitions, the novice division will run exactly as the competitive divisions.
  • For sparring/one-step and combat weapons competitions, the novice division will run exactly as the competitive divisions.
  • No State or World Championship points will be awarded in a novice division. (even if one competes in the event by mistake).

Dividing Novice Color Belts Divisions

  • Novice rings will be split if there are 13 competitors or more.
  • If there are 12 or fewer competitors, the ring will not be split.
  • If a ring of 12 has been sent to the competition floor (on deck) and an additional competitor arrives, the ring will not be split at that time.