Martial arts tournament coming to YMCA of Chilton County

Published 11:49 am Thursday, October 5, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Martial arts students at the YMCA of Chilton County who train with Sean Gilham of Impact Martial Arts will have a chance to compete with students from other states in the 2017 Peach Invitational Martial Arts Tournament on Oct. 21.

The tournament, which will be held at the YMCA of Chilton County, will be the first Impact Martial Arts has held here.

Gilham said the community is welcome to come watch and show support for the students. It is $5 to be a spectator, but children 4 years old and younger are free.

The event begins at 9 am.

“You’ll see competitors performing forms, which is a pattern of movement. you’ll see weapons forms, both swords and nunchuks,” Gilham said.

Competitors will show traditional forms and some created by the competitors, which add some gymnastic elements. When gymnastic moves are added, it is called tricking, Gilham said. Forms will be judged on “intensity … the power your moves, your stances,” technique and how smooth the movements look.

Most competitors will perform Taekwondo and sports karate. Gilham said some have a Kung Fu background.

“It’s a variety of different styles, especially when it comes to forms,” Gilham said.

Sparring competitions will also be held. Gilham said sparing is a martial arts version of point fighting.

Competitors will come from other parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and Tennessee. Gilham said they are all from schools he has met at other tournaments.

A winner will be named for first, second and third place in each category.

“We will also have a grand champion,” Gilham said. “If you get first place in forms or weapons, you will compete against everyone that got a first place, then there will be one winner named Grand Champion.”

Ages of competitors will range from 4 year olds to adults.

Gilham said the YMCA students have been preparing for the event during class.

“We have special tournament training days, when we more focus on this type of competition and talk about what the judges will be looking for, and as far as the point sparring, strategies and … practicing,” Gilham said.

He said the students confidence level is a major factor.

“Just getting out to perform is a big win for a lot of these people,” Gilham said.

For several of the local students, it will be there first time in competition.

“I believe competition is very important in your training,” Gilham said. “It helps you grow.”

For more information, contact Gilham at  205-266-0732 or