Tenkaichi Tournament

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The Tenkaichi Tournament

The Tenkaichi Tournament (天下一 武道会, Tenkaichi Budōkai; FUNimation "World Martial Arts Tournament", Viz "Tenkaichi Budokai"; Literally meaning "Heaven Under Best Martial Arts Meeting") refers to an event in the Dragon Ball manga and the Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z, and Dragon Ball GT anime.

The original arena
The Tenkaichi Tournament logo


In all of the Dragon Ball series, there is a Tenkaichi Tournament on Planet Earth that occurs every 5 years (which later changes to every 3 years after the 21st Tournament). The tournament features Earth's strongest fighters as well as the regular participation of the Z Warriors. Besides the title of Tenkaichi, the winner of the tournament would get the considerable amount of 500,000 Zeni (later increased to ten million Zeni) as a prize, although in the revived Tenkaichi Tournament they apparently sent it by mail rather than actually giving it to the winner directly.

In the tournament, anyone who went outside of the ring, was knocked out for more than ten seconds (which was counted by the commentator), or gave up automatically lost the match. The tournament forbid any use of weapons or protective body gear (although natural weapons, such as bear claws, were allowed). Poking someone in the eyes or hitting them in the groin was also not allowed. The most important rule was that killing the opponent was not allowed. Disobeying any of these rules resulted in disqualification from the tournament. More than one villain in the manga, however, entered the tournament with more of an interest in killing someone whom they had a vendetta against than in winning the prize.

Only eight participants were allowed to enter the tournament, but many contestants entered the elimination rounds. The elimination rounds were held indoors and without an audience. The contestants were divided into several groups, usually eight. These eight groups fought 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 from each group, moved on to the tournament.

In the World Tournament Saga, the tournament replaced the elimination rounds with a punching contest to reduce injuries. Fighters would punch a machine, which would then calculate the strength of the punches. The sixteen who scored the highest moved on to the tournament. The bracket was also modified such that the champion of the previous Tenkaichi Tournament would be guaranteed a slot in the championship match.

The contestants fought in pairs and the order of the fights was decided by each contestant taking a random number from a box. As there were usually eight participants, the tournament had three levels: quarter-finals (4 fights), semi-finals (2 fights), and the final fight. It was later increased to sixteen fighters during the World Tournament Saga. The winner of each match went on to fight against the winner of the other matches. A tree diagram showed the order of the fighters, going up on the aforementioned levels and ultimately leading to the championship bout against the former champion.

Tenkaichi Tournaments were hosted, run, and announced by the same Tenkaichi Tournament Announcer. He was replaced by his Descendant at the end of Dragon Ball GT.


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

  • Yamucha always loses in the quarter-finals, often to the main opponent.
  • Son Goku far outclasses his opponent in the semi-finals.
  • One of the other Z Warriors makes it to the semifinals (usually Krillin, once Tien), 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.

List of champions[edit]

  • Akkuman (two unknown Tenkaichi Tournaments)
  • King Chappa (one unknown Tenkaichi Tournament, possibly the 20th)
  • Jackie Chun (21st Tenkaichi Tournament)
  • Tien (22nd Tenkaichi Tournament)
  • Goku (23rd Tenkaichi Tournament)
  • Mr. Satan (the longest reigning champion, 24th through the 30th Tenkaichi Tournament and possibly one or two more after that)


  • 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 Tenkaichi Budokai. In the anime, 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 (or it could be that the hitlist included the preliminary fighters).
  • Muten 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.

List of known Tenkaichi Tournaments[edit]

Dragon Ball[edit]


Date: Age 750 May 7th
Total entrants: 137
Notable contestants that did not pass the elimination rounds:


Winner: Jackie Chun
Runner-up: Goku


Date: Age 753 May 7th
Total entrants: 182
Notable contestants that did not pass the elimination rounds:


Winner: Tien
Runner-up: Goku


Date: Age 756 May 7th
Total entrants: 72
Notable contestants that did not pass the elimination rounds:


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 vaporised during the fight (hence the new, larger stadium).

Dragon Ball Z[edit]


Date: Age 767 May 7th

Known Junior Division contestants:

Winner: Videl Note: All that is known is that this was the first tournament to feature a Junior Division and that Videl had won it.

Known Adult Division contestants:

Winner: Mr. Satan
Runner-up: Jewel

  • This tournament is not seen in the series, it is only mentioned. However, it creates a plot-hole. Right before the Cell Games, the Z Fighters (both in the manga and the anime) comment that there hasn't been a World Martial Arts Torunament since the 23rd. This was AFTER May 7th, the date of the 24th Tournament. Furthermore, in the manga Mr. Satan is called the world's wrestling champion, though he is called the world's martial arts champion in the anime. Apparently, in order to mantain this, there was need for a tournament to exist before the Cell Games, but after the 23rd. This tournament was therefore ret-conned, and was later mentioned in the Daizenshuu 7 timeline.
The ring is re-designed to be much bigger in Dragon Ball Z.


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

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 (bribed to take a dive by Mr. Satan)


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


  • Pan
  • Goku
  • Uub
  • Mr. Buu
  • Nareg
  • Captain Chicken
  • Goten
  • Trunks
  • Otokosuki
  • Vegeta
  • Nok
  • Mr. Satan
  • Wild Tiger
  • This tournament had no winner as it was cancelled after Goku and Uub left. It is unclear why it was cancelled simply from the loss of two contestants, but the manga clearly shows the tournament being cancelled. After the tournament was cancelled, images of Goten and Pan fighting in the ring for fun are shown, though that was not an official match in the tournament.

Dragon Ball GT[edit]


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 tournament 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 did not pass the elimination rounds:

Known contestants:

Runner-up: Majuub/Papayaman

Unknown, possibly 64th[edit]

Date: Age 889 May 7th

Junior Division:

None of the fighters participating in the Adult Division were even mentioned.

Other tournaments[edit]

Mifan Empire's Tournament[edit]

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

Known contestants[edit]

Contestants who fought:

Contestants who did not fight:

King Wonton's Royal Match[edit]

Main article: King Wonton's Royal Match

King Wonton's Royal Match

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



  • Son Goku

Cell Games[edit]

Main article: Cell Games

Contestants who fought[edit]

Contestants who did not fight[edit]

"Official" winner: Mister Satan
Actual winner: Son Gohan
Runner-up: Cell

Note: The Cell Games were not technically a Tenkaichi Tournament. Cell, however, stated that he would "revive the World Martial Arts Tournament". This is the only tournament in the series where contestants actually died (there were also deaths in the film-only Tenkaichi Grand Tournament, see below). Android 16, Future Trunks Brief, and even Goku die at the hands of Cell. Cell and the 7 Cell Juniors died at the hands of Son Gohan. This was also the second tournament where the outcome determined the fate of Planet Earth.

Tenkaichi Grand Tournament[edit]

Main article: Tenkaichi Grand Tournament

The Tenkaichi Grand Tournament (天下一 大武道大会; FUNimation "Intergalactic World Tournament") appeared in Dragon Ball Z: Bojack Unbound. It was sponsored by the multimillionaire Gyosan Money as a birthday present for his only son, Doll Money. The tournament was supposed to feature four semi-final fighters representing the four galaxies. In reality, the four fighters were pupils of Mister Satan made-up to look like aliens. The winner of the tournament would receive a prize of 100,000,000 Zeni and go on to challenge Mister Satan (due to him been the "official" winner of the Cell Games).

This tournament was ruined in the end by the intrusion of the Galaxy Soldiers, who secretly killed Satan's four pupils and fought the final four contestants in their place. Bojack and his group (minus Kogu) were eventually defeated by Son Gohan.

This was the first tournament, besides the Cell Games, where fighters were actually killed (unlike the Cell Games, however, killing was against the rules). This was the second tournament where Satan was given the credit for Gohan saving Planet Earth. This was the third tournament in which the outcome determined the fate of Planet Earth (and possibly all four galaxies).

Known contestants[edit]

Eight Battle Royale match winners[edit]

  • Dosukoi
  • Future Trunks Brief
  • Kung Foon
  • Kuririn
  • Piccolo
  • Son Gohan
  • Tenshinhan
  • Udo

Quarter-final matches[edit]

  • Dosukoi vs. Kung Foon (Winner: Dosukoi)
  • Future Trunks Brief vs. Tenshinhan (Winner: Future Trunks Brief)
  • Kuririn vs. Piccolo (Winner: Kuririn)
  • Son Gohan vs. Udo) (Winner: Son Gohan}

Semi-final matches (Battle Zone)[edit]

  • Dosukoi vs. Bido (Winner: Bido)
  • Future Trunks Brief vs. Kogu (Winner: Future Trunks Brief)
  • Kuririn vs. Zangya (Winner: Zangya)
  • Son Gohan vs. Bujin (Winner: Bujin)


  • First semi-finalist to return from Battle Zone (Winner: N/A)

Exhibition match[edit]

First semi-finalist to return from Battle Zone vs. Mister Satan (Winner: N/A)

Anoyoichi Tournament[edit]

Main article: Anoyoichi Tournament

The Anoyoichi 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 occurred only twice in the series, once during the anime and later in Dragon Ball Z Movie 12.

Note: Interestingly, this is the only tournament where killing an opponent was not a problem as all the fighters were already dead. As stated during the Buu Saga, however, if an already dead warrior "died" again, they were erased from existence.

First Anoyoichi Tournament[edit]

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

Known contestants[edit]
  • Technical winner: Son Goku
  • "Official" winner: No winner
  • Runner-up: Pikkon and Son Goku
  • Result: Draw

Second Anoyoichi Tournament[edit]

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[edit]

See also[edit]