Running Your Own Combine: (Step by Step Guide)

Why You Should Run Your Own Combine

You might know that we recently held the 2020 Armor Combine — the World’s First Data Driven online martial arts tournament.  In the Combine athletes with access to 2020 Armor competed against Olympians for the title of World’s Fastest reflexes with our patented technology.  

Due to the tremendous response, we are going to continue running 2020 Armor Combines on a regular basis. The competition will get more intense, the prizes will get bigger, and new martial arts stars will be found as we lay the foundation for our professional league. You can watch our first ever Combine Live Broadcast below.

What you might not know is the opportunity that we are offering school owners to make new revenue by empowering them to throw their own 2020 Armor Combines. 

This article will specifically focus on how running your own Combines can benefit your school by attracting new students, increasing retention and helping your school thrive with new revenue streams. We are going to walk you through how to run a successful 2020 Armor Combine from marketing all the way to event execution. We’ll even offer you hands-on support to make sure your event is a runaway success. 

Ready to get started? 


What is A Combine? 

1. Pre Combine

1.1 What To Charge 

1.2 How To Market 

1.3 Training For the Combine 

2. During

2.1 Rules 

2.2 How To Do The Event In Your School

2.3 Managing Online Submissions

2.4 Doing It Old School With Leaderboard 

3. Post Combine

3.1 Announcing Results

3.2 Live Broadcast

3.3 Social Media Follow Up

4. Financial Benefits

4.1 Attracting New Students 

4.2 Increasing Retention 

4.3 Thriving With New Revenue

4.4 Need Help

What is a Combine (data driven tournament)? 

Before we get off and running, just a quick little aside about the difference between a 2020 Armor Combine and other formats of tournaments. A 2020 Armor Combine is the first martial arts tournament that rests on objective measurement. Contestants submit their entries from our “live mode”  on the 2020 Armor mobile app. This is where the athletes record themselves on video doing their various techniques and we overlay on the videos metrics like reaction time, power and stamina. Their placement in the tournament is already decided as soon as their entry is put through. (More details on entry for Combines below.) 

Using an online form, athletes upload their videos and enter their stats themselves. On the last day of submissions, you will get a spreadsheet with everyone’s entries and link to the videos. Its very easy. . The vest measures the speed of your reaction time down to the millisecond or the power of your strike down to the kilojoule, or how much stamina your athletes have.. It’s totally impartial. All you have to do is make sure that your contestants comply with the rules you set. 

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What types of Combine can you run? 

You can run 2020 Armor Combines focusing on reaction time, power and stamina. Each of these tournaments can include different techniques to add variation. For example, you can run a Combine for reaction time and measure roundhouse kicks, back kicks, punches, etc. This article will specifically focus on Reaction Time. 

If you have any questions, please get in touch with our head of Customer Success Mr. Joseph Nguyen at  

2020 Armor Combines focus on martial arts fundamentals and force players to develop their technique to improve their scores. It incentivizes students to do their best by rewarding excellence. 


1.1. What do I charge

We think $20-$25 charge is about the bullseye for holding your own Combine. But that’s really for you to decide. Gordon Jue’s Taekwondo held a Combine for Power and charged $20 dollars per entry. They were able to hold it safely and within the state guidelines for California during their most extreme lockdown restrictions. They  made almost $1,000 in a five hour period. 

Special Note: We also want to mention that you can also charge your students for special training for the 2020 Armor Combine and for using your equipment to submit to enter the global 2020 Armor Combine itself. We created the 2020 Armor Combine as a free contest to our users but believe firmly that you should be rewarded for the investment you’ve made in the gear and for the work you’re doing for your students. 

1.2 How To Market (1 Month Out) 

Getting Entrants From Your School To Join Your Combine: 

The first stage is very simple. You can explain it to your students in your in person classes and in your Zoom classes that you are hosting a 2020 Armor Combine. 

You can choose to have all students compete against each other for one prize or break it into categories based on ranks, ages or weight classes depending on what the Combine is focusing on. You’ll want to explain that you are holding the event at least a month out so that you can give the Combine focus in class leading up to the event. Remind your students at least once a week that the event is coming up. Do this in class, through your social networks, in letters to parents. We recommend creating a digital flyer like this and sending it out to parents and students. 

Notice how the flyer highlights what your students will get out of the experience and how safe it is to participate. Underline to parents that Combines featuring our Live Modes are perfectly set up for physically distanced competition as there’s no need for contestants to get within 6 feet of anyone else while doing their entry. 

Branding Note: Jue Taekwondo made excellent use of their own branding to push their Combine. The 2020 Armor Combine logo is specifically to designate our proprietary global combine and isn't allowed to be used in promotion of your school's combine. The reason for this is to avoid confusing your event with ours. And this is is also to your benefit as you can get your own branding front and center for your competitions! Great job, Jue Taekwondo!

Facebook Event: 

Create a Facebook event for submissions and get your students to sign up for it. This will notify your students that the event is upcoming and keep them focused on their goal of winning the Combine. 

1.3 Training For The Combine

As mentioned above, you can hold special training sessions for your students. By focusing students on a goal you intensify how much effort they put into their training. 

While many club owners will incorporate this training into regular classes, there is nothing stopping you from holding special classes for students who are entering your Combine and charging $20 dollars per training class to add more revenue to your school. You can easily do this once a week in the month leading up to the Combine. That’s an easy extra $80 per student per month. 

You can still allow students to enter who didn’t take the special class but they’ll see the benefits in the extra training when the results come in. By the time you run your next 2020 Armor Combine, it is almost guaranteed that there will be more taking that special training class. 

What you’re training for is dependent on what form of Combine you are holding. If you’re focusing your tournament on Reaction Time we’ve created some drills you can do with your students to increase reaction time with World Ranked #1 Yvette Yong. 

You can check them here.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date on all our drills. 



Rules can be different from school to school. The important thing is to be very specific about the rules for your Combine. You also want to make sure that the competition is in line with what you’re teaching your students in class. There’s no point in having a competition for reaction time if your students aren’t using proper technique. After all, this event is meant to integrate with the rest of your curriculum and we stress the importance of traditional Taekwondo training.

 Here is an example of our submission guidelines for the inaugural 2020 Armor Combine that just took place: 

  • Record yourself playing the "Reflex" mode on the 2020 Armor App for 1 minute (no longer or shorter times will be accepted). The video that is saved on your camera roll is the video you can submit. 
  • Do not edit the video, we must be able to see all the stats in the video submitted, and hear the audio.
  • Do not have any background noise,  talking, or music please. You can (and should!) kiap when kicking, but please keep other noises down.
  • When you are recording, you must be able to see the entire bag, vest and the kicker
  • Kick with only back leg round house kick. You can not punch or kick with the front leg.
  • Kick with the same leg for the entire minute (you can not alternate legs)
  • Have the 2020 Armor vest on a freestanding bag such as a BOB or a wavemaster. Any bags that move (such as a hanging bag, or having a partner hold the vest) will impact the reaction time, and will not be considered for the combine
  • Ensure the height of the 2020 Armor vest on the freestanding bag is at the same height as if you were wearing the vest on yourself.
  • You must do your back leg round house kick from a reasonable distance from the bag and have the kicks executed with full extension. If you are too close, or do not extend your kicks, your entry will not be considered.
  • Any kicks that are thrown before the white lights go off (i.e. a guessed kick) will disqualify the entry

How to win?

The person with the best average reaction time will be the winner. If there is a tie, the one with the fastest reaction time will be the winner. If there is still a tie, the one who kicked more will be the victor. If there is a tie after the number of kicks, the one that shows more creativity (as decided by the judges) will win. 

Check out the Submission video we created below: 


While many schools have students with their own 2020 Armor Vest and they can enter the tournament without attending a special event at your dojang, most schools aren’t in that situation yet. So we are going to talk about collecting your school’s submissions in person and some best practices.  

How you do this depends on the health guidelines in your area, but because of how simple the competition is and how many people you’ll need to run it, you can make it safe in basically any circumstance. 

Set Up: 

Since the gear can be used without plugging it in you can go hold the submissions inside or outside. You’ll want at least 2 BOBs or Wavemasters with 2020 Armor on them distanced by six feet. 

The first school to run their own Combine did it in California during intense restrictions. Jue Taekwondo brought in three students at a time from the same division. They’d message each group as they waited in the parking lot for when it was their turn.  Each student wore masks. Between each student’s submission they wiped down the Vest and Wavemaster to make sure any possible contamination was eliminated. This took five hours. Under less strict health regulations it could be done much faster than that.

Note: You want to make the experience special. Students get excited when they are able to see their score on the app as they go. So you can easily hook up a lightning cable adapter/HDMI cable, or cast via Chromecast or AirPlay through Apple TV to a TV screen.  

2.3. Managing Online Submissions 

We used a contest management service called Woobox to collect our entries. With this form you’re able to collect videos as well as entrance data all in one place. It does cost money.  In case you don’t want to invest in a service like this, you can also simply collect all the videos on a Google Drive or Dropbox, and enter all the specific information into a digital spreadsheet. 

Note: Even if you write down the information from each student's performance you’ll want to hold onto the videos you record of their entries. As we’ll mention a little later, these videos will be great for marketing post-event to increase retention and attract your student’s friends to your school. You’ll also want to make sure that the winning entries didn’t violate any of your rules. 

Here is an example of the Spreadsheets and all the fields you might ask to fill in for your Combine.  This will change based on your focus in the Combine. This spreadsheet focuses specifically on reaction time. 

Here is a link to your spreadsheet:

Note: The spreadsheet is open access so anyone with this link can save it as an excel and make a copy. You’ll want to make a copy rather than fill in the spreadsheet above. 

2.4 Doing It Old School With A Leaderboard

Don’t want to involve the internet in your event and keep it simple? You can also go full manual. Create a spreadsheet that has all the details you are trying to capture, Name, Age, Belt Level, Weight Class, Best Time and Average Time. Bring a computer or print out the Spreadsheet. You can take down people’s scores as you go. 

At our schools we often write on the windows or buy a big Whiteboard for our events like this. You can create an easy visible leaderboard that everyone can follow.  Update the scoreboard as people come in for their submissions.


3.1 Announcing the Results

We have a dedicated live stream professional working to make sure our 2020 Armor Combine sets the industry standard. While we are doing a more elaborate show, you don’t have to. 

You’ve run tournaments and in-house events so you know the drill. Make the announcement special so that students will remember it and be more excited about attending your next event. We recommend getting a top prize for overall winner and some smaller prizes for different categories such as winner for different belt levels. 

3.2 Live Broadcast 

Not all schools can gather all entrants for the Combine in one place due to health regulations. So a quick live broadcast can work as well. Create a Zoom class and invite all of your school to it.  You can announce the winner for the Combine overall and award them a simple prize. Then you can announce the winners for the different age groups and belt levels. You can also highlight most improved students and spread the attention around. If you set up your spreadsheets correctly you can easily break down the data and spread plenty of attention to as many of your students as possible. 

In Person Presentation: 

Provided the number of students fits your local guidelines you can gather all of your students in your school or at a local park. Basically all you need to do is make sure you’ve bought awards to celebrate the winners and take some quick notes of different things you can highlight for your students. 

3.3 Social Media Follow Up

As noted above announcing the winners for your Combine is a great opportunity to get new students and create a larger social network for your school. Do this by publishing your student’s best entries on your Facebook fan page or in your private groups. 

Do it slowly over the week after the Combine with an entry or two a day and call out different aspects of their performance. This will provide your students with the social reinforcement they need to stay excited about their lessons and give them content they can share with their friends to get new students in your school. It’ll also keep students focused on training as they will want the same attention at your next Combine. 

Right now retention is based on personal connection with your students so we also recommend getting in touch with parents and sharing how well their child did in the Combine. This added touch really can work wonders. 

4. Financial Benefits To Running Your Own Combine

As you can see there are many benefits to running your own Combine. The most obvious one is a new regular event that you can do on a monthly or quarterly basis to bring in more cash to your school when you need it most. But there’s much more.

Below we’ll outline all the ways your school can gain financially from running this easy event. 

4.1 Attracting New Students: 1x Student

You’ll get new students based on your student’s friends seeing their videos from the Combine and wanting to have the same experience. Your students will share the videos because it will be celebrating their accomplishments.  

An extremely conservative estimate is that you get 1 new student for each Combine you hold. Each student is worth 150 dollars x 12 months (which doesn’t include uniforms, special classes). So that’s $1,800 from new students to your school per Combine. 

If you do a Combine every 2 months you can make an extra $10,800 a year from new students joining your school. Again, this number is very conservative.    

4.2 Increasing Retention: 1x Students

Students drop out when they feel as though they are not making progress or receiving positive attention for their accomplishments. 

Training for a Combine gives students both a reason to focus on their training and the social reinforcement they need to stay dedicated. Make the announcement of the results a special event and highlight as many students as possible. This will increase your retention. 

Conservatively we’ll again say that this Combine will keep one student from dropping out and they will stay for one year afterward. That’s another $1800 dollars of extra income for your school each tournament. Add one more student retained per Combine and if you hold 6 combines that’s $10,800 in retention. 

4.3 Thriving With New Revenue Streams

Special Training Classes: x $20 x 2 classes x 25 students = $1,000 per Combine

Combine Entries: $20 x 1 Combine x 50 students: $1,000 per event

So that’s $2,000 in additional revenue from each Combine you throw. So $12,000 in additional revenue per year if you choose to run these monthly. 

So in total with a little effort you can easily make: $12,000 + $10,800 + $10,800 a year = $33,600 in just one year and keep your students excited and dedicated to their studies! 


Already have your own 2020 Armor? Have questions? We are here to help. Get in touch with our Head of Customer Success at and he can get you up and running in no time. 

Don’t have 2020 Armor? This is only one way of radically increasing your income with 2020 Armor. We guarantee that you’ll make at least three times your investment within a year. There’s no reason to wait any longer. If you’re an ATA member, be sure to ask about our special pricing.

Place your order today!