Developing your skills as a martial artist requires more than just training and discipline. Learning more about the different disciplines and the traditions surrounding them can be beneficial as well, which is why you should put these five martial arts festivals on your bucket list.
#1. Chungju World Martial Arts Festival, Korea
Chungju is the home of a traditional Korean martial art known as Taekgyeon, and also hosts one of the world’s largest martial arts festivals each fall. Here you may witness demonstrations of several Korean martial arts such as taekwondo, hwa rang do, and isibsaban muye, as well as performances from other disciplines from around the world. The week-long event also includes a “perfect warrior” competition, where contestants can compete in skills such as fencing, archery, and knife throwing.
#2. International Shaolin Wushu Festival, Dengfeng, China
This annual event began in 2006, and now attracts more than 1,500 martial artists from over 73 countries. The festival begins with a parade and opening ceremony that includes hundreds of participants performing everything from basic movements to some daring, high-flying leaps. Most events are centered around the Shaolin Temple, where more than 100,000 students have become schooled in the Chinese martial art of Wushu kung fu. Several kung fu shows and matches take place throughout the festival as well.
#3. Paris Martial Arts Festival
Since 1985, France has hosted the Paris Martial Arts Festival, an event that attracts world-renowned grandmasters from multiple disciplines. Athletes put on wide-scale performances in a variety of martial arts ranging from traditional karate to obscure forms such as uzbek kurash. Self-defense and sword demonstrations along with several artistic shows take place here as well. More than 15,000 spectators have visited this festival in a single day, making this one of the biggest martial arts festivals anywhere in the world.
#4. Arnold Classic, Australia
This is one of the few martial arts festivals that includes other sports such as soccer and weightlifting, along with numerous health and fitness workshops. Named for former Mr. Universe Arnold Schwarzenegger, this festival is largely geared toward children, providing free entry for anyone under age 13. Kids also get the opportunity to try out different activities in an effort to encourage greater youth participation both in martial arts and sports in general.
#5. Montreal International Martial Arts Festival, Montreal, Canada
Hosted by the Canadian International Martial Arts Alliance Committee, this festival was founded by Jimmy Chan, whose grandfather encouraged him to learn many different martial arts forms. Chan encourages others to learn more than one martial art form by welcoming martial artists from a number of schools and disciplines to perform together. Previous performances have included everyone from well-known martial artists from across the globe to beginning students from nearby dojos.
Martial arts festivals such as these provide new learning opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels. They are a great way to have fun and perfect your technique at the same time, which is why you should plan to visit at least one of these festivals in the near future.