2022 San Diego Tournament Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for the tournament registration link, as well as all of the tournament information conveniently hyperlinked in one place for our students (hotels, attractions, tournament map, etc.)

Do I need a ticket to get in?

Yes, you will need to show your tournament registration confirmation for both competitors and spectators at the door. Please print your registration, or have your confirmation email ready on your phone at the door. You will be provided wristbands for entry for both competitors and spectators. If you register before October 16th, you will receive wristbands from your instructor so you can bypass the entry line.

Can spectator tickets be purchased at the door?


Is there a parking fee?

Yes, Edenpark charges a $15 parking fee, cash only.

How early should I arrive?

We recommend arriving at least 40 minutes early to allow time for parking, entry, finding your ring, and warming up.

Where can I get updates leading up to the tournament and see what the previous SD Tournament looked like?

Make sure you’re following the Official San Diego Tournament Instagram page @ussdtournament_sandiego to stay up to date on all tournament updates, rules & regulations, and frequently asked questions leading up to the big event. You can check out our highlight reels from the 2021 SD Tournament to see what you can expect at the 2022 tournament. Tag us in your tournament pics to be featured on our page!

What is the tournament dress code for competitors?

Full karate uniform: gi top (gi top must have the USSD logo on the left), gi pants, belt, and a USSD t-shirt or blank shirt, no graphic tees, no jewelry. Uniform must be cleaned and pressed with no tears or holes.

What are the tournament deadlines?

Friday September 30th: last day to register to receive your free tournament patch (free patches will be distributed to your instructor at the event)

Friday October 14th: deadline to book the hotel group rate

Saturday October 15th: deadline to pre-order your tournament shirt & Kempo Kai merch (there will be a very limited supply of tournament merch to purchase at the event, make sure you pre-order to ensure you get your tournament merch)

Sunday October 16th: deadline to register to receive expedited entry into the tournament (all students who register before this date will receive their entry wristbands from their instructors before the tournament to bypass the line at the door)

Wednesday November 2nd: deadline to register for the tournament

Who can compete in a USSD Tournament?

The tournament is open to ALL ages and ranks! Tournaments are beneficial for all age groups for building confidence through competition, helping students overcome fear and anxiety, developing good sportsmanship, and most of all having fun.

What is a Martial Arts Tournament?

A tournament is an exciting event where competitors put their martial arts skills into action. SPARRING is when a student will compete against another student in an effort to score the required points to advance to a trophy round and place 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in their division. In the KATA division, students perform a series of choreographed movements against invisible attackers demonstrating as much control, precision, spirit, intensity, etc., as possible. Tournaments provide students with a chance to see what lies ahead in their training, watch exciting demonstrations, and truly experience how large of a family United Studios of Self Defense really is.

Why should a student compete in a USSD Tournament?

An important reason students should compete in tournaments is to help develop confidence. The mere act of performing a Kata or sparring against an unfamiliar martial artist helps someone understand that they are truly capable of more than they once thought. Remember, the goal of a tournament is not to win a trophy, but rather to gain an education on a new side of the martial arts. Use tournaments as an experience to cultivate better character, confidence and respect. Parents, be sure to display a great attitude no matter if your child wins or not. This event should be a positive and fun event where your child feels your support and encouragement. Lastly, participation ultimately shows great Dojo team spirit.

What sparring gear is required?

Head: Face cage/screen, mouthpiece

Gloves: Full glove, no single finger (MMA style) gloves allowed

Foot: Gear must cover instep to forward edge of toes. Bushido/Feiyue shoes required.

Males: Groin protector

Optional: Shin, forearm, chest protectors

*Sparring gear can be purchased at your dojo with your instructor. We recommend ordering your sparring gear no later than October 15th to ensure you receive it in time for the tournament.

What are the point sparring rules?

  • Only strikes to the front of the body (above the belt), to the side of the body, and to the sides/top of the head are permitted.
  • Green Belt & Above: Controlled tag to face mask/shield.
  • Each strike counts as one point.
  • All strikes below the belt, to the back of the body or to the face are prohibited.
  • Stay in the ring. If you go out of the ring, you will get 1 warning. If you go out of the ring a 2nd time, your opponent will get 1 free point and every time after that.
  • A match will end after a competitor has scored three points, or whoever has the most points at the end of a five minute period.
  • Absolutely NO SPARRING without the supervision of a Black Belt Instructor.

What should the competitor say to the judges when entering the ring?

“Good Morning / Afternoon Judges.

My Name is ___________.

I am from the ______ Dojo.

My Instructor is Sensei _____.

With your permission, I would like to perform #___.

(After they give you permission)

Thank You…”

Remember to position yourself accordingly in the ring so you have plenty of room to do your form without stepping out of bounds or having to adjust your footwork or start over. Click here to view the tournament speech example video.

How does my dojo take home the school trophy?

The highly coveted school trophy is the extremely tall and shiny trophy that sits at the head trophy table at each tournament. To win the school trophy, your dojo must accumulate the most points by the end of the tournament. The point system is as follows: 1st place = 4 points, 2nd place = 3 points, 3rd place = 2 points, and 4th place = 1 point. For every place your dojo achieves, your dojo takes a step closer to bringing it home!

When are the 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th place medals awarded?

Medals will be awarded in your ring immediately following your event.

Fighting Spirit Awards

All competitors ages 4-6 receive a fighting spirit award for each event, regardless of placement.


As in any competition, a student of the martial arts, win or not, should carry themselves like a champion. They should shake hands with their opponent after a loss, and go back to their studio and train harder. Making excuses for not winning (i.e. bad judging, not feeling well, etc…) is always easier, but not accountable. Remember that the decision of the judge is final. Arguing with the judge is not permitted at any time, and may result in removal from the event.

What do the different colors the Black Belt Instructors are wearing indicate?

1st Dan | black top, black pants

2nd Dan | white top, black pants

3rd Dan | black top, white pants

4th Dan | black top, red pants

Master: 5th Dan | red top, black pants

Master: 6th – 8th Dan | red top, black pants with red stripe

Master: 9th Dan | gray top, black pants

I am a USSD Black Belt, how can I assist at the tournament?

We’d love to have you! Judging at the tournament is a fun and rewarding experience. Please email us at ussdsandiegotournament@gmail.com for more information.

How do I become a USSD Instructor?

We’re excited to speak with you about joining the United Studios of Self Defense Instructor Academy. Please email ussdsandiegotournament@gmail.com for more information, or speak with Master Rodriguez or Master Terrell at the tournament.

Will there be food at the event?

Yes, there will be a taco stand! There will also be an onsite concession stand offering hot dogs, nachos, ice cream, candy, snacks and beverages. Cash and credit card accepted.

What else can I expect at the event?

We’ve got an exciting vendor lineup to be announced soon, stay tuned!

What is there to do near the tournament venue?

We’ve compiled a convenient list of local attractions for our students to enjoy during their stay in sunny San Diego.

Where do I pick up my pre-ordered tournament shirt & Kempo Kai merch?

At the Bushido booth at the tournament. Make sure you have a copy of your order ready on your phone to confirm your order. Orders will not be distributed without your order confirmation.

I registered before Friday September 30th to qualify for the free tournament patch, where do I pick it up?

The free patches will be distributed to your instructor at the tournament.

What can I expect during the Instructor’s Division at noon?

Make sure to stick around for the most exciting event of the day! Watch your instructors showcase their talents and put their skills to the test as they compete in forms, weapons and sparring.

**EXCITING UPDATE! For the first time in over 20 years, there will be a Master’s Exhibition at the San Diego Tournament! The USSD Masters will be demonstrating forms, weapons and techniques. This will take place during the Instructor’s Division at noon. Don’t miss it!

When was the very first USSD Tournament?

The very first United Studios of Self Defense Tournament in California was held on June 17th, 1989. It’s been over 33 years and the USSD Tournaments are still going strong. Click here to see the 1989 tournament poster! The posters may have stark differences throughout the years, but one thing remains the same: The United Studios of Self Defense Tournament has been and always will be an exciting and fun event that brings like minded individuals and families together, develops confidence through competition, challenges competitor’s minds and bodies, and builds a strong sense of community within the USSD family. We look forward to continuing this tradition at the 2nd Annual San Diego Tournament!

If you have any additional questions that were not answered here, please don’t hesitate to email us at ussdsandiegotournament@gmail.com

We look forward to seeing you at the 2nd Annual San Diego Tournament on Saturday November 5th. Good luck to all of the competitors!