Free, open source AI system to automatically create tournament divisions and brackets

(Aurora, CO) – The Korean Academy of Taekwondo has come up with a machine learning model and associated spreadsheet that automatically groups competitors into divisions and prints brackets.

“Life isn’t fair”, so martial arts students should train to defeat opponents who are bigger and stronger. However, sports should be fair, so most martial arts tournaments are organized into divisions of similar athletes.

Large and official tournaments such as the Olympics, national championships, etc set the divisions ahead of time, and athletes will generally cut weight or have to qualify through previous victories, point rankings, etc.

Local tournaments can use those “regular” divisions, but this often results in a degraded customer experience (for instance, cutting to a lower weight division but no one is there so divisions are combined anyway, 9-10 year olds being grouped together even though their weights are far apart, when the 10 year old could have had a much better division with the 11 year olds, many demo matches or athletes without matches, etc).

The video shows the system creating divisions and brackets for a 164 person sparring event, all in under a minute! You would usually need to do some manual adjustment, but it’s still a huge improvement over previous ways of doing it. 

This project uses the K means nearest neighbor in Google Colab to cluster athletes into divisions. The excel sheet also includes related functionality to create division names, and division score sheets (ie, for forms or weapons) as well as single or double elimination brackets.

When run on data from several previous tournaments, about 90% of the resultant divisions are good, and the other 10% should be adjusted manually before printing brackets. Manual adjustment will likely be much faster than parameter tweaking.

The system is open source, and anyone around the world is allowed to use it for free. You can see the full instructions and download the tool on the official github repository.

Age and weight are first normalized on a log scale, because they become less important as the value increases. For instance, it’s no problem for a 45 and 55 year old to face each other, but you would never face a 14 year old vs a 4 year old. The Log Base parameter determines the strength of this effect. For instance, if this number is high the algorithm will sooner put a 100lb person vs a 200 lb person than put a 45 lb person vs a 46 lb person.

There are many parameters that users can tweak to get the best fit for your individual data, or you can use the default parameters built in.

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2018-2019 CO K8 League Results

The 2018-2019 CO K8 League finished with a bang, with newcomers GVA Ft. Collins (Karnos-Kim TKD) coming from nowhere into the top 5, barely missing out on 4th.

MdM became the first team ever to 3-peat, scoring almost double the points of the next contender, and almost as much as the rest of the top 5 combined. Crescent View Academy was second, with Aurora Quest 3rd.

The league has now been through 8 years, with the following champions:

2011-2012 Champion: Aurora Quest Academy.

2012-2013 Champion: Global Village Academy.

2013-2014 Champions:  Aurora Quest Academy and Crescent View Academy.

2014-2015 Champion: Crescent View Academy

2015-2016 Champion: Aurora Quest Academy.

2016-2017 Champion: Montessori Del Mundo

2017-2018 Champion: Montessori Del Mundo

2018-2019 Champion: Montessori Del Mundo.

Aurora Quest and Montessori Del Mundo have now each won three times. It’s amazing to think that students who were kindergartners in the first season are now finishing 7th grade.

Students connect their medals to form a tri-medal.
Instructors Jenny Kim and Jiri Karnos with some students from GVA Ft-Collins.
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2018 Fall Elementary League Results

(Aurora, CO) – The 2018 Fall Championships were held on November 17th, at Crescent View Academy. This year also featured the addition of high school divisions. The league has been growing tremendously – only two years ago the tournament was held in a dojang. Last year Crescent View Academy was a good fit, but this time it was far too small. Future events will have to be held in a full gym. Tournament Director Master Kamil Latipov apologized for the lack of space and that some spectators had a crowded experience.

Leading the way, once again was Ins. Paola’s Montessori Del Mundo program, with 71 points. They were followed by CVA with 31, and then a tie between Aurora Quest and Murphy Creek with 17. Joe Shoemaker rounded out the top 5 with 9 points. CVA and MDM have now been 1 and 2 each of the last 3 years.

The tournament structure was a little different than some people were used to, but it allowed competitors to have many different sparring and grappling matches. Matches had only one referee who called points, and rather than using divisions (as we did in blaster pads, breaking, and forms) sparring and grappling competitors were able to face whoever they wanted, in as many matches as they wanted. Master Kamil Latipov stated “Thanks so much to the many teams that came, especially to those who pushed themselves against difficult opponents.”

1st Place MdM team

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Halloween Special – Clown Defense

This Halloween, be safe out there! Today is an excellent opportunity for marital artists, especially children, to demonstrate and develop self control. As a special bonus, Tom Lynn Jr from the Academy Martial Arts shows us an important set of clown defense techniques.


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Review – 2020 Armor

The following is a review of 20/20 Armor ( by Daniel Coe McCallum, 4th Dan Instructor, of Shins Academy Colorado

This initial review was done after appx 2 hours of use with each size (1-4) tested.

After unboxing (ships from Canada), first impression is a well built system with much thought put into ease of use and durability.  The material is tough but smooth which should be easy to clean and the metal lacing hoops are well anchored and covered for safety.

Setup was easy with multiple flashcards provided for reference and posting at the dojang.

Our testing was mainly focused on the likely mostly commonly used settings

Energy Scoring:  shows ‘health’ of you and your opponent during sparring.  Strategy and effective striking are critical and the 20/20 gear does a great job of registering contact anywhere on the unit.

Survival:  allows many students to participate at once – last one standing with health wins.

Hit Meter:  shows power level of a strike.  With the adjustable weight (in KG) settings, the system adjusts appropriately for the size of the striker.  This allows for a younger/smaller student to see just as high of a ‘power level’ as an adult or larger student.  On the highest weight setting with a size 4 hogu, it would take SIGNIFICANT force to max these out.

Price: There is good and bad news here – at $450 each (for 2), it’s still a product that not every school can afford. However, it’s still significantly cheaper than other solutions.

Overall we are impressed with 20/20Armor and are especially excited at how it promotes effective striking over just points.   With multiple applications, long term durability, and future upgrades like a remote score display system planned – the value increases.


Also see FAQs for common questions.


Promotes effective striking

Settings accommodate for weight / size differences

Many modes for various training applications

Well constructed, durable



Heavier and less breathability than standard or Daedo hogus

USB mini B charge ports  (instead of more universal ‘C’)

COST @ $450 per unit


20/20 size 1 similar to Adidas size 1

20/20 size 4 similar to Adidas size 5

The following table compares the cost to have two people spar each other. Zemita isn’t common in the US so we don’t know how the build quality compares.

System Hogus Transmitter Receiver/Computer Socks Software Cost Total Cost
Daedo Gen2 $1420 $620 $290 + computer $160 $99 $2589
Zemita $858 Included Bluetooth capable phone/computer Not needed Free $858
2020 Armor $899 Not Needed Not needed Not needed Not Needed $899


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2018 White Tiger Championships

(Aurora, CO) – The Korean Academy of Taekwondo hosted the 2018 White Tiger Championships at Rangeview High School on April 28th, 2018. Although most of the competitors were from Colorado, the event drew athletes from Wyoming, Tajikistan, and Iraq.

The White Tiger Championships is part of a series that includes the Twin Dragons Tournament and Lone Wolf Classic. Students earn one piece, or shard, of a medal in each event and then can connect them together to form a super medal if they place in events 3 years in a row.

This year’s tournament set a record with 375 competitors. Sparring was the most popular event, especially in the color belt divisions due to the fact that students didn’t need to purchase Daedo socks. There were many fierce matches from black belt on down.

Academy of Life and Leadership Taekwondo from Colorado Springs, lead by Grandmaster and Olympian Barb Kunkel brought a large team, and took first place in both the Championship and Recreational Demo Team competitions.

The competition featured 10 events in total – Traditional Forms, Team Traditional Forms, Team Creative Forms, Weapons Forms, Junk Weapons, Totem Forms, Blaster Pad Sparring, Olympic Sparring, Cloud Chess and Free Grappling.

There was a wide variety of competitors in attendance, with ages ranging from 3 to over 70, and skills ranging from high international caliber to special needs. The tournament also formed the final meeting in the Colorado K8 League 2017-2018 Season, with Montessori Del Mundo taking top honors.

Several colleges and universities sent teams, including CU Denver, MSU Denver, UNC Greely, and DU. MSU Denver led the way with 17 medals total, and CU Denver followed with 13.

Two competitors get ready to begin Totem Forms

After several hard fought blaster pad matches.

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MSU Denver Student Wins 3rd in Collegiate National Championships

(Washington, DC) – The National Collegiate Taekwondo Association (NCTA) held the 43rd National Collegiate Taekwondo Championships at American University on April 7th and 8th, 2018.

Over 600 students from colleges and universities around the United States vied for medals. Farhang Mousavizadeh, a student in the 8 AM Taekwondo class (HPL 1660) won third place in the -80kg (Welterweight) division. In his first match he defeated West Point 34-11. In his second match he defeated Michigan State 17-10, and in the semi-finals he lost to Connor Wilson (the #2 ranked welterweight in the USA) 31-11.

Farhang is part of MSU Denver Taekwondo, The Rock Taekwondo, and Next Level Taekwondo, and was coached by Jason Poos of Oklahoma in the event.

Ranking points earned from the event are critical for athletes hoping to make national and Olympic teams.

Farhang (2nd from right) with Coach Poos (center)

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2017-2018 Colorado K8 League Final Results

(Aurora, CO) – The Colorado K8 Taekwondo schools league finished up a fierce season on Saturday, April 28th with the 2018 White Tiger Championships. Although the tournament itself featured 375 competitors from around the world, only the elementary schools points counted for the league standings.

Schools earn points for competing in 4 events – Board Breaking, Forms, Grappling, and Sparring. The points from the fall championships and the spring championships are added together to make the overall winner.

Nihal from Lotus wins third place in the WTC2018

MDM Taekwondo started off 5 points behind from Crescent View Academy’s all time record 52 points that they earned on their home turf in the fall championships. However, MdM’s 48 points in the spring was enough to over come it and go home as champions for the second year in a row. Instructor Paola Perez, coach of the winning team had this to say. “I am very proud of MdM Taekwondo kids, it doesn’t surprise me to be in first place again, MdM continues being engaged in training and in participating in tournaments. I love to coach them.”

League Commissioner Master Bill Pottle reflected on the growth of the league in recent years. “It’s getting harder and harder to win – and in fact even to place in the top 5. The league has really grown from its humble beginnings, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Master Komiljon Latipov has shown a lot of success in the league, with teams that he coaches or helps coach taking 2nd, 4th, and 5th. “I want to thank all the parents and students who worked so hard, especially the administration at Lotus who gives the team such amazing support.”

There is definitely an ebb and flow to the league as students grow too old to compete and as new students come in. Aurora Quest Academy, the league’s only 3 time champions, could muster just a 6th place overall finish after starting so far back in the fall. Can Montessori Del Mundo become the first team to ever win 3 years – in a row? Only time will tell, but they seem unstoppable for now.



2011-2012 Champion: Aurora Quest Academy.

2012-2013 Champion: Global Village Academy.

2013-2014 Champions:  Aurora Quest Academy and Crescent View Academy.

2014-2015 Champion: Crescent View Academy

2015-2016 Champion: Aurora Quest Academy.

2016-2017 Champion: Montessori Del Mundo

Two friends from Quest combine their medals with the interior magnets.

2017-2018 Champion: Montessori Del Mundo

MdM students and friends

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Review: New Taekwondo uniforms from Century

While Century Martial Arts has always offered Taekwondo uniforms, their selection, marketing and design has been more focused on the Karate and general martial arts markets. With their new line of basic 7 oz uniforms, they are definitely taking steps to offer a competitively priced item to Olympic Style schools. Scott Granger from Century was kind enough to send us two free dobaks to review.

The uniforms have good quality stitching throughout and at 7 oz don’t feel ‘loose’ or ‘cheap’, but also aren’t too heavy for strenuous workouts. One good innovation is the tagless back design – the sizing information is seamlessly attached on a smooth fabric-like sticker that’s either printed on or seamlessly attached. With traditional uniforms, not only are the tags annoying but they fall off around the dojang and also fade – by the time it’s time for a new dobak, parents have a hard time finding the size.










The dobaks come in both white and black collars. The fabric is a little more like canvas and less like the softer cotton of other brands, so it’s definitely a matter of personal taste which you prefer. The uniforms should also handle both heat transfer and screen printing well.

Century uses a high level of safety and environmental checks, which have made it difficult for them to match prices with some brands in the past. However, these new uniforms are priced very competitively. Contact or 800-626-2787 x425 for a quote for your school.


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Shayna Reibman Black Belt Service Project Fall 2017

I have participated in several events supporting Aurora Warms the Night over the past few years. This is a local organization that supports the homeless population through food donations, clothing donations, hygiene items, and hotel vouchers when the weather reaches dangerous temperatures.  I have previously participated in making food donation kits and hygiene kits for women through this organization but have never organized a donation drive for them on my own.

I contacted the volunteer coordinator for Aurora Warms the Night, Brian Arnold, and asked him about the current greatest need for the organization. He shared with me that there is currently a great need for new socks and underwear for the homeless population as they have difficulty washing clothing. Thus, I identified my project as attempting to help them meet this need.

I began collecting items in August and hosted an event at my home on September 9th to support my project. I called it a “Crazy Sock Party” and offered a prize for the person wearing the craziest socks. I provided refreshments, collected donations, and awarded a $20 amazon gift card to the winner of the crazy socks contest. I collected items from eleven people (Lisa Roth, Michele Broswick, Nikki Love, Janet Dorny, Paul LeHardy, Bethany Melnick, Jamie Meitchen-Ojeda, Dyan Stevens, Kerrie Shulman, Valerie Schowinsky, and  Alaina Young) in addition to items I contributed.  I collected 89 pair of underwear and 131 pairs of socks to donate to Aurora Warms the Night.  I delivered these items to Brian Arnold’s home on October 6th, 2017.  Here are a few photos of the event and of the final donation items.  Thank you to all who helped make this project successful! 

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