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International Martial Arts tournament

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

Rules and characteristics

The World Martial Arts Tournament originated in a festival held since long ago at the temple which now serves as the tournament grounds. The tournament originally occurred every five years, which is changed to every three years after the 21st World Tournament. It 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 Trunks and Mr. Satan, they send it by mail. According to Gohan, there are prizes to the top 5 in the 25th Tournament. 10 million zeni to the first place, 5 million to the second, 3 million for the third, 2 million to the fourth and 1 million to the fifth.

In the tournament, anyone who comes into contact outside of the ring, is knocked out and does not stand up until commentator counts to 10, or gives up, automatically loses. If both fighters are knocked out and neither can reach their feet by the count of ten, the match is normally declared a draw. However, the tournament as a whole must have a champion, so if this happens in the final round, a special "sudden death"-esque rule is employed: the first one to stand up on both feet and state the entire sentence "I'm the Champion" is declared the winner. The tournament forbids any use of weapons or protective body gear (although natural weapons, such as bear claws, are allowed, and it is never clarified if cups are included in the ban on protective gear). Poking someone in the eyes or hitting them in the groin is also not allowed, although the latter can be overlooked if it was accidental. 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. This seems to suggest that, while killing in the tournament may get you disqualified, it may still be an affirmative defense to murder, in the eyes of the law. After all, this is the only explanation that makes any sense as to why people such as Man-Wolf (who, unlike Mercenary Tao or Piccolo Jr., does not appear strong enough to defeat the police) could attempt to murder Jackie Chun in front of hundreds of witnesses without fear of going to prison.

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