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


[edit] Rules and characteristics

In all of the Dragon Ball series, there is a Tenkaichi Tournament on 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 send it by mail rather than actually giving it to the winner directly.

In the tournament, anyone who goes outside of the ring, is knocked out for more than ten seconds (which is counted by the commentator), or gives up automatically loses the fight. 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. More than one villain in the manga, however, has entered the tournament with more of an interest in killing someone whom they have a vendetta against than in winning the prize.

The tournament has two parts: the preliminaries and the tournament itself. The preliminaries are held indoors and without an audience. In the preliminaries, all the contestants are divided in several groups, usually eight. 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 the 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 sixteen who scored the highest moved on to the actual tournament. The bracket was also modified such that the champion of the previous Tenkaichi Budokai would be guaranteed a slot in the championship match.

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 championship bout against the former champion.

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

[edit] Pattern

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.

[edit] List of champions

  • 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)

[edit] Notes

  • 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.

[edit] List of known Tenkaichi Tournaments

[edit] Dragon Ball

[edit] 21st

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


Winner: Jackie Chun
Runner-up: Goku

[edit] 22nd

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


Winner: Tien
Runner-up: Goku

[edit] 23rd

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).

[edit] Dragon Ball Z

[edit] 24th

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.

[edit] 25th

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)

[edit] 26th

Date: Age 778 May 7th

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

[edit] 27th

Date: Age 781 May 7th

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

[edit] 28th

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.

[edit] Dragon Ball GT

[edit] 30th

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

[edit] Unknown, possibly 64th

Date: Age 889 May 7th

Junior Division:

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

[edit] Other tournaments

[edit] Chiaotzu's Tournament

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

Known contestants:

Contestants that did not fight:

[edit] 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.


Winner: Goku

[edit] Cell Games

Main article: Cell Games


Contestants who did not fight:

"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 Tenka'ichi Grand 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.

[edit] Intergalactic World Tournament

The Intergalactic World Tournament (Tenkaichi Dai Budokai) is a tournament 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
  • Doscoi
  • 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.

[edit] 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.

[edit] First Tournament

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

Known contestants:

  • Technical winner: Goku
  • "Official" winner: No winner
  • Runner-up: Pikkon and Goku
  • Result: Draw

[edit] 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:

[edit] See also