How A Virtual Tournament United The Global Martial Arts Community

How A Virtual Tournament United The Global Martial Arts Community

The global lockdown restrictions in 2020 affected many businesses. Local martial arts clubs who mainly rely on tournaments and student attendance to generate their income were severely impacted by these closures. This left martial arts students with no way for them to improve their skills, increase their ranks, or prepare for future tournaments.

2020 Armor, a recognized leader in electronic training and scoring gear for martial arts saw the need to unite the martial arts community by reigniting the friendly competition that the industry is known for. Using its cutting edge electronic scoring system, 2020 Armor created the World’s First Data Driven Martial Arts Tournament, the 2020 Armor Combine. The 2020 Armor Combine is a new way for martial artists and schools from across the world to virtually compete in a tournament meant to inspire coaches and athletes to keep training at home. 

What is a Data Driven Tournament?

The 2020 Armor Combine is a virtual tournament that is powered by the data collected through the In Game reality feature of the 2020 Armor mobile app. Although the 2020 Armor Vest is a fully functioning training tool on its own, when paired with the mobile app it adds an intuitive feature that allows an athlete to record real time data on their performance. This data is exactly what sets the 2020 Armor Combine apart from any other Martial Arts tournament of any kind. During each round an athlete is able to see their performance data prominently displayed on their phone, along with a breakdown on their fastest kicks which is measured down to the millisecond.

In order to compete in the Combine an athlete must film themselves performing various kicking techniques on the Vest. Sounds simple right? Well, there is a catch. Each athlete has 60 seconds to record as many hits as possible. Additionally, a hit will only be registered once the iconic Life Bar feature on the Vest indicates that it is time to kick. This creates an unpredictable yet exciting aspect to each round, making the 2020 Armor Combine a test of not only speed but reaction time. 

Meet the Winner of the 2nd 2020 Armor Combine: Timothy Parkes from Australia

It takes courage to compete at a global caliber. With over 400 applicants vying for the title of World’s Fastest Martial Artist, winning this tournament is truly an amazing feat. For Combine 2 winner Timothy Parkes this was an unanticipated surprise. His previous performance in the very first Combine left him 5 Ranks shy of the title. Timothy who hails all the way from Australia lives by the quote “hard work beats natural talent” which is evident in his triumph in Combine 2. 

Timothy is no stranger to tournaments. He regularly enters Poomsae competitions and has claimed multiple state and national titles. This would explain his stellar muscle control and endurance that we witnessed in each round. 

In addition to being an athlete,Timothy is a passionate head coach and club owner of his own local gym: Eclipse Taekwondo. As a coach, he is often encouraging himself and his students to succeed. For Timothy’s students, the Combine is a great reason to keep training during the pandemic. This coaching experience is also an added benefit to his daily life as he is a child care teacher who spends 9 hours a day caring for younger children. For him balancing his training, coaching, and daily job is all a part of the hard work and dedication that makes him a great athlete. 

Our Top 8 Athletes 

The 2020 Armor Combine is not just about the championship title. Being ranked in the Top 8 is an achievement that comes with the opportunity of being on a global stage and competing against athletes of all ranks.

In the Top 8 there were veterans like Elton John Tumalayen , Darian Morales, Jarin Tchicaya and Rochelle Ann Cabanas who all improved on their previous ranks in the first Combine tournament. When asked what inspired them to join this martial arts tournament, Rochelle quoted that her motivation was to improve on her kicks and to challenge her peers like Darian who were faster than she was. For Darian it was the chance to see how his scores matched up to other athletes outside of his club. Both were happy to represent the USA from FACM Taekwondo. They were also supporting their coach and previous Combine 1 Champion Master Jon Powell who was unable to join in this tournament.

Elton John who ranked #2 after Timothy Parkes was thrilled by the data driven point system. Being able to represent the Philippines in a unique way is the type of excitement that he enjoys exploring in his everyday life. Not only did these athletes have the greatest improvements from their previous ranking but they also proved that they were capable of performing 3 progressive kicks while doing so. 

Newer athletes like Yaidé Rivera, Gavin Grant and Taha Ebeid were simply happy to be able to compete in a tournament despite the lockdown restrictions. The 2020 Armor Combine gave these athletes an opportunity to participate in the competition they love from the safety and comfort of their own homes. 

What's Next for the 2020 Armor Combine?

The amazing thing about having a data driven martial arts tournament is that you can replicate this tournament anywhere in the world with minimal effort. Once the world is able to resume any semblance of normalcy there will still be a slow uptick in activities, this means finding new ways to re-engage athletes and new potential students will be paramount for club owners. 2020 Armor suggests that local clubs create their own Combine tournaments where they can generate revenue from this event, reward athletes for their hard work and interest those who were not focused on martial arts before. Having data that clearly outlines an athlete’s performance makes running a full scale tournament like this a simple and fair process for all to enjoy. 2020 Armor is expected to host an even bigger tournament in the spring of 2021 but this will be an evolution to the original Combine format featuring High Performance Athletes, special effects and even more action.