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World Martial Arts Tournament

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The World Martial Arts Tournament logo

World Martial Arts Tournament (天下一武道会, Tenka'ichi Budōkai; lit. "Best Martial Arts Tournament on Earth") refers to a martial arts event in the Dragon Ball manga, and in the anime series Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z and Dragon Ball GT.

Rules and characteristics

Throughout the Dragon Ball meta-series, there is a World Martial Arts Tournament on Earth that occurs every five years (which later changes to every three years after the 21st World Tournament). The tournament features the Earth's strongest fighters as well as the regular participation of the Dragon Ball Gang and the Z Fighters. Besides the title of World Martial Arts Champion, the winner of the tournament receives the considerable amount of 500,000 Zeni (later increased to ten million Zeni) as a prize. It is shown that in the 21st and 22nd World Tournament, the prize is given to the winner directly after the tournament, while in the 25th World Tournament, according to Mr. Satan, they send it by mail.


The World Martial Arts Tournament

In the tournament, anyone who comes into contact outside of the ring, is knocked out for more than ten seconds (which is counted by the commentator), or gives up, automatically loses. The tournament forbids any use of weapons or protective body gear (although natural weapons, such as bear claws, are allowed). Poking someone in the eyes or hitting them in the groin is also not allowed. The most important rule is that killing the opponent is not allowed. Disobeying any of these rules results in disqualification from the tournament. However, more than one villain in the manga has entered the tournament with more interest in killing someone against whom they have a vendetta than in winning the prize.


The original arena

The tournament has two parts: the preliminaries and the tournament itself, although this changed significantly in the later tournaments. The preliminaries are held indoors and without an audience. In the preliminaries, all the contestants are divided in several groups, usually eight (after the 21st World Martial Arts Tournament, more contestants than ever have started entering). These eight groups fight in mini-tournaments with a one-minute time limit for each match (matches that last longer than one minute are decided by points). The eight winners, one of each group, move on to the actual tournament.

In the World Tournament Saga, the tournament replaced the preliminaries with a punching contest to reduce injuries. Fighters would punch a machine, which would then calculate the strength of the punches. The fifteen who scored the highest moved on to the actual tournament (with the returning champion automatically being guaranteed one of the sixteen spots).

Normally, the winner of the final bout is automatically named the champion, and the returning champion had to win the tournament just like everyone else. However, at the end of the Kid Buu Saga, the tournament structure was changed so that the winner of the actual tournament was not automatically the champion, but merely won an opportunity to fight the returning champion in a title fight. This was probably done due to Mr. Satan's manipulation, as it gives the champion an unfair advantage, since the challenger must fight four opponents, with only a few minutes rest, before facing the Champion, whereas the Champion would still be fresh.


The new arena

The participants fight in pairs; the order of the fights is decided by each participant taking a random number from a box. As there are usually eight participants, the tournament has three levels: quarter-finals (4 fights), semi-finals (2 fights), and the final fight. It is later increased to sixteen fighters in the World Tournament Saga. The winner of each fight goes on to fight with the winner of the other fights, with a tree diagram showing the order of the fighters, going up on the aforementioned levels, ultimately leading to the final bout to determine the champion.

World Martial Arts Tournaments are hosted, run and announced by the same World Tournament Announcer. At the end of Dragon Ball GT, he is replaced by his descendant.

Martial Arts Temple

There are several buildings in the Martial Arts Temple.

  • Dining Hall: It seems that the World Tournament participants can eat here for free.
  • Nurse Room: A room that has a treatment table and basic medical equipment. The wounded Videl received treatment here after being injured in her match in the 25th World Tournament.
  • Preliminaries Grounds: It is located in the back of the martial arts temple's main building. For the 24th World Tournament and onward, the preliminaries grounds are equipped with a Punching Machine.
  • Room for Contestants: The main temple building of the Martial Arts Temple that the World Tournament grounds are located on. Here, the contestants in the main tournament wait their turn.
  • World Tournament Stadium: The martial arts arena where the main fights take place.

Staff members

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Two staff members

List of champions

  • Spike the Devil Man (two unknown World Martial Arts Tournaments)
  • King Chappa (one unknown World Martial Arts Tournament, possibly the 20th)
  • Jackie Chun (21st World Martial Arts Tournament)
  • Tien Shinhan (22nd World Martial Arts Tournament)
  • Goku (23rd World Martial Arts Tournament)
  • Mr. Satan (the longest reigning champion, 24th through the 31st World Martial Arts Tournament, and possibly one or two more after that; however, it is important to note that the 25th Tournament and onwards were rigged in the final match)

Junior division champions

  • Videl (24th World Martial Arts Tournament)
  • Trunks (25th World Martial Arts Tournament)
  • Mugley (31st World Martial Arts Tournament)


  • King Chappa – Coincidentally, he was Goku's first opponent in both of the preliminary matches of the 22nd and 23rd tournament. King Chappa is mentioned to have won a tournament without even being touched, though it is not specified in the manga if the tournament he competed in was a World Martial Arts Tournament. In the anime, during the King Piccolo Saga, Chappa was revealed to be one of the targets on Tambourine's hitlist and was killed by the demon, indicating that the tournament in which he fought was in fact a World Martial Arts Tournament.
  • Master Roshi under Unknown Alias – When Master Roshi is fighting Goku as "Jackie Chun", in episode 27, he says he fought Gohan, Goku's adoptive grandfather, and won. While it is possible Roshi and Gohan fought each other on an occasion outside the tournament, it is unlikely Roshi would have used the Bankoku Bikkuri Shō in a simple sparring match. Roshi would only have used such a devastating attack if he felt he had to win at any cost and the only reason he would feel this way about a pupil he loved was if he was trying to help him as he helped Goku by preventing his victory and keeping his passion alive. It is impossible to estimate how many tournaments Roshi won using this disguise, or in fact if he used different disguises, or even if he disguised himself as Jackie Chun and that it was simply so long ago people forgot about him. Regardless, it is safe to assume Master Roshi won at least one tournament in the days of Gohan and Ox-King's youth.


All tournaments in the original Dragon Ball series follow a certain pattern:

  • Yamcha is always far outclassed and always loses in the quarter-finals, often to the main opponent.
  • Goku far outclasses his opponent in the semi-finals.
  • One of the other Z Fighters makes it to the semifinals (usually Krillin, once Tien Shinhan) but loses to a more powerful opponent (usually the one Yamcha fought).
  • Goku makes it to the finals, and takes on the powerful opponent who has defeated at least one of his friends.
  • In the 22nd and 23rd World Tournament, the one who beat the champion from the last tournament in the semi final match became champion: Tien beat Jackie Chun, the winner of the 21st, and Tien became champion that year, and Goku beat Tien at the next tournament and he became champion.

List of known World Martial Arts Tournaments

Dragon Ball



Goku vs. Jackie Chun in the final round of the 21st Tournament

Date: Age 750 May 7th
Total entrants: 137
Notable Contestants that didn't pass the elimination rounds:

  • Fighter 40
  • Fighter 69
  • Fighter 83
  • Fighter 97
  • Bruce Lee Impersonator
  • Bullies of the Orin Temple


  • Krillin (semi-finalist)
  • Bacterian (quarter-finalist)
  • Jackie Chun (winner)
  • Yamcha (quarter-finalist)
  • Ranfan (quarter-finalist)
  • Nam (semi-finalist)
  • Goku (finalist)
  • Giran (quarter-finalist)

Winner: Jackie Chun
Runner-up: Goku


Date: Age 753 May 7th
Total entrants: 182
Notable Contestants that didn't pass the elimination rounds:

  • Anton the Great
  • King Chappa
  • Nam

Chiaotzu and Krillin during the 22nd Tournament


Winner: Tien Shinhan
Runner-up: Goku


Date: Age 756 May 7th
Total entrants: 72
Notable Contestants that didn't pass the elimination rounds:


  • Mercenary Tao (Cyborg Tao, quarter-finalist)
  • Tien Shinhan (semi-finalist)
  • Goku (winner)
  • Chi-Chi (quarter-finalist)
  • Piccolo – Using the alias of Ma Jr. (finalist)
  • Krillin (quarter-finalist)
  • Yamcha (quarter-finalist)
  • Hero – Kami using Hero's body (semi-finalist)

Winner: Goku
Runner-up: Piccolo

  • It is interesting to note that this is the only World Martial Arts Tournament Goku ever won, despite his participation in several before and after. This the first tournament where the outcome determines the fate of the Earth. Incidentally, after this tournament everything had to be built from scratch because the entire area was vaporized during the fight (hence the new, larger stadium).

Dragon Ball Z


Date: Age 767 May 7th

This tournament is not seen in the series, it is only alluded to and it is present in the Daizenshuu 7 timeline. Before the Cell Games, the Z Fighters (both in the manga and the anime) comment that there has not been a World Martial Arts Tournament since the 23rd, though newcomer Mr. Satan is called the world's wrestling champion (world's martial arts champion in the anime). Therefore, in the anime, the 24th tournament takes place before the Cell Games. It is alsi known that this was the first tournament to feature a Junior Division.

Known Junior Division Contestants:

Winner: Videl


Spopovich vs. Mr. Satan

Known Adult Division Contestants:

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Jewel


Tournament ring

The ring was re-designed to be much bigger in Dragon Ball Z

Date: Age 774 May 7th
Known Junior Division Contestants:

  • Goten
  • Trunks
  • Idasa
  • Ikose
  • Kadopi (カドピ)
  • Koryuu
  • Mooki
  • Pyonatt (ピョナット, Pyonatto)

Winner: Trunks
Runner-up: Goten


  • Goku
  • Vegeta
  • Pintar
  • Krillin
  • Piccolo – Using the alias of Ma Jr.
  • Shin
  • Spopovich
  • Yamu
  • Videl
  • Kibito
  • Great Saiyaman – Gohan's alter-ego.
  • Mr. Satan
  • Android 18
  • Jewel
  • Killa
  • Mighty Mask – Impersonated by Goten and Trunks

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Android 18 (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose in a deal to make money)


Date: Age 778 May 7th

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Mr. Buu (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose)


Date: Age 781 May 7th

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Mr. Buu (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose)


Date: Age 784 May 7th


Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Mr. Buu or another Z Fighter (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose)

Dragon Ball Online


Date: Age 787 May 7th

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Mr. Buu (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose)


Date: Age 790 May 7th

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Mr. Buu (who loses to Mr. Satan on purpose)

Dragon Ball GT


Date: Age 790 May 7th

Junior Division Contestants:

Winner: Mugley
Runner-up: Goku

  • This is this first tournament where "Kid" Goku fights in the Junior Division. As a child, Goku had fought in the regular division because there was no Junior Division.

Kid Goku lost in the tournament because the Crying Child (Mugley) was tickling Goku while Vegeta walked into the stadium and distracted Goku, making him fall out of the ring.

Notable Contestants that didn't pass the elimination rounds:

  • Mad Chilli

Known Contestants:

Winner: Mr. Satan

Runner-up: Majuub/Papayaman

64th World Tournament

Date: Age 889 May 7th

Junior Division:

None of the fighters participating in the Adult Division were even mentioned. Although the child's division may have removed making that the final round of the tournament.

Other tournaments

Chiaotzu's Tournament

Bora and Tao!!

Tao vs. Bora at Chiaotzu's Tournament

The tournament held by Emperor Chiaotzu in Dragon Ball: Mystical Adventure.

Known Contestants:

Contestants that did not fight:

King Wonton's Royal Match


King Wonton's Royal Match

The tournament held by King Wonton during the events of "Goku vs. Sky Dragon". Each year, the chosen representatives of two schools fight for the title of Master of Martial Arts.


  • Goku representing the Chin-Star School
  • Sky Dragon representing the Panther-Fang School

Winner: Goku

Cell Games


Official Winner: Mr. Satan
Actual Winner: Gohan
Runner-up: Cell

Note: The Cell Games weren't technically a World Martial Arts Tournament. However, Cell himself stated that he would "revive the World Martial Arts Tournament". This is the only tournament in the series where contestants actually die (there are also deaths in the movie-only Intergalactic World Tournament, see below). Android 16, Future Trunks, and even Goku die at the hands of Cell. Cell and the 7 Cell Juniors died at the hands of Gohan. This is also the second tournament where the outcome determines the fate of the Earth.

Intergalactic World Tournament


The Intergalactic World Tournament fighting arena

The Intergalactic World Tournament (Tenkaichi Dai Budokai) is a tournament that was featured in the movie Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound. It was sponsored by the millionaire X.S. Cash as a birthday present for his only son Monty. The tournament was supposed to feature fighters representing the four corners of the galaxy; in reality, the four fighters were actually pupils of Mr. Satan, made-up to look like aliens. The winner of said tournament would win a prize of 100,000,000 Zeni and gone on to fight Mr. Satan (due to him been the "official" winner of the Cell Games).

However, this tournament was ruined by the intrusion of Bojack and his henchmen, who killed Mr. Satan's pupils (the fake galaxy warriors) and then fought the contestants in their place. Bojack and his minions were eventually defeated by Gohan (with a little help from Goku).

This is the second tournament where Mr. Satan takes the credit for Gohan's victory. Technically, this is the third tournament in which the outcome determines the fate of the Earth (and possibly all the four parts of the galaxy). This is also the only other tournament, besides the Cell Games, where fighters are actually killed (though, unlike the Cell Games, killing was against the rules).

Known contestants:

Final contestants:

  • Gohan
  • Future Trunks
  • Piccolo
  • Krillin
  • Tien
  • Doskoi
  • Udo
  • Sky Dragon


  • Gohan (defeats Udo)
  • Krillin (Piccolo forfeits)
  • Future Trunks (defeats Tien)
  • Doscoi (defeats Sky Dragon)

"Official" Winner: Mr. Satan
Actual Winner: Gohan
Runner-up: Bojack

The whole tournament was somewhat flopped, since Bido killed Doscoi. Later, Mr. Satan, who was supposed to fight the winner of the quarter-finals, was introduced in the battle arena as a safety measure against Bojack and crew. Finally, he convinced everyone that he defeated Bojack due to the unavailability of video proof.

Other World Tournament

Main article: Other World Tournament

The Other World Tournament is where fighters in the Other World compete. Goku and Pikkon both fought in it. This tournament was technically won by Goku (the second time Goku actually won a tournament). This tournament has occurred only twice in the series, once during the anime and later in the 12th DBZ Movie.

Note: Interestingly, this is the only tournament where killing an opponent is not a problem as all the fighters are already dead. However, as stated in the Buu Saga, if an already dead warrior "dies" again, he is erased from existence.

First Tournament

This is the tournament that took place in the Great Saiyaman Saga.

Known Contestants:

  • Goku
  • Arqua
  • Torbie
  • Chapuchai
  • Maraikoh
  • Olibu
  • Pikkon
  • Tapkar
  • Caterpy
  • Froug
  • Technical Winner: Goku
  • "Official" Winner: No Winner
  • Runner-up: Pikkon and Goku
  • Result: Draw

Second Tournament

This is the tournament that took place during Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn. The final match between Goku and Pikkon was interrupted by Janemba causing trouble at King Yemma's office. It is possible that this tournament also had no winner due to the interruption.

Known Contestants:

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