Chanbara Tournament Rules

The Chanbara | What is Chanbara | Chanbara Swords | Chanbara Long Range Weapon | Chanbara Short Range Weapon | Chanbara Excitement in Center Ring | Chanbara Tournament Rules

Japanese martial artists and sword masters came together in 1969 and modernized the “art of practice.” Founder Tanabe Tetsundo and his following, comprising some of the most influential swordsmen in Japan, called this new way of thought goshindo – also colloquially known as chanbara. The word “goshindo” translates to, “the way of self-preservation.”.

Tournament Rules Overview: Chanbara tournaments are exciting and new! Divisions are set up by age, experiance and weapons. Matches are 3 points and grandchampionships are 5 points. All competitiors must wear official samurai sports headgear and use only action flex weapontry.

Uniform standard – A full gi, or gi pants club t-shirt, or a hakama and gi bottoms. A competition always begins with Kihon Kata, a basic form that the entire world goes by. Young and old everyone does the same form. This is very neat and fun for the entire family.

How to score points: A valid stroke= 1 point. Each combatant should yell out, (kiai) the name for the area they are attacking. The 5 areas for scoring are:

1. Men – The head or face.
2. Kote – The wrist or arm.
3. Do – The chest or stomach.
4. Ashi – The leg.
5. Tsuki – The shoulders or neck.

Judging: The random strait is utilized for a complete bye system when pairing up matches. Chanbara uses 3 judges, one center ref and 2 corner judges. Each judge holds a red and white flag in their hands. Competitors bow in the ring and to the head referee. When a point is scored one should raise the flag for such a score matching the color of the fighter.

same time hit = Auichi, thus each side scores a point.
3 points = victory. No tie breaking 3rd point can be scored via an auichi. So the score will remain 2-2.
Out of bounds = 1 warning, a second time out= a point for one’s opponent. A dropped weapon does not stop the match. A fallen down player does not stop the match.
Poor sportsmanship = Disqualification.

Basic Divisions: Most tournaments use 3 weapon sections, short sword long sword double sword Of course a tournament director can open up a polearm, nunchuku, knife, or staff division if enough competitors are interested. TEAM TOURNAMENTS AND/OR DIVISIONS ARE OPTIONAL TOO. 5 person teams of any age and size can compete in two point matches, the team with the most points will win the overall team match.

Kids Divisions: 5 & under (Short sword only), 6-7 years old (short sword only), 8-9 years old ( long sword ok now), 10-11 years old (nito ryu, aka two swords ok now), 12-13, 14-15, 16-17.

Adult Divisions: 18-35, Senior Division 35 & Older. Of course these divisions are optional if the number of players is not enough for good competition, especailly in the early stages of it’s newness!

Belt rank breakdown is:

  • Novice – White, yellow, blue, and orange.
  • Int – Green/brown.
  • Adv – Black Belts.

Grandchampionships: All finals are conducted with the competitor’s weapon in which they won their division, so exciting mixed weapon matches are held to determine overall champions.

Enjoying Chanbara Tournaments: It is good to win, good to lose and good to watch chanbara matches. Good to wins means a winner looks great, not to mention he has heart and spirit. Good to lose means a loser looks good too, he has spirit and should be praised. Lastly good to watch means matches spectators and judges want to enjoy matches that they feel are worth watching, please all you fighters show the world good to watch matches with the above respect and attitude.