I am 30+ / 40+ but see that Brown and Black Belt Males and all Women's belts only offer Adult. May I still compete?

Of course!! Anyone of any age can compete. It just means that we don't separate females or Black and/or Brown belt males by age. At those belts, everyone fights in the same age division.

"Does that mean I'll be fighting 18 year olds?" Anything is possible, but the data says it's more likely you'll be competing against other Masters-aged competitors. The average age for a brown and/or black belt competitor is 35. The average age of a female Tap Cancer Out competitor is 33.

There are a few reasons we do not have a Masters age class for those divisions, but the primary catalyst is simply number of competitors to create compelling division sizes. The vast majority of TCO competitors are white, blue, and purple belt males. Brown and Black belts certainly compete, but in fewer numbers. Women only represent 10% of our competitor base, so for a 300 person tournament for example, that's only 30 women. When you divide those ~30 women by belts (5) and weight classes (7), the average division size is about 2-4 competitors. Once we divide it again by age (Adult and Masters), those divisions dwindle to two, or worst case scenario, one, which requires us to then figure out an alternative whether combining them (back) into Adults.

Because Masters-aged competitors are actually MORE common than 16-29 year old competitors (at our tournaments at least), you'd think it would make MORE sense to have a Masters division, right? That would seem like it makes sense, but the issue is that it leaves too many Adult competitors alone in a division with few options, and most Masters competitors wouldn't welcome them into their division. So they either move up in weight or belt, and sometimes neither option exists. And if they do, it's often not a safe jump in weight or there's a significant difference in skill.

We've run this exercise with past tournaments where after the fact we hypothetically divided the women into Masters and Adults to see what the divisions would have looked like. At a tournament with 550 competitors we had 50 women's competitors. There were actually more Masters than Adult competitors (which isn't surprising) and the average age was right on point at 33. But the divisions were mostly 2 or 3 person divisions, and about half of the competitors were alone in their division. That would have resulted in lots of shuffling including blending many Masters competitors back into Adult divisions anyways. This constant shuffling is what we try to avoid as it exhausts a lot of bracketing resources and delays the start of divisions.

As our tournaments grow to 800+ competitors, like our Connecticut and Massachusetts tournaments already are, we are considering adding more age divisions.

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