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All Styles – One Mission


The IAGLMA Mission

The International Association of Gay and Lesbian Martial Artists (IAGLMA) was born in the excitement and camaraderie of Gay Games III in Vancouver, Canada. It was there that the first international multistyle LGBTQI+ martial arts competition and seminar series was held.


Formed in the spirit of Tom Waddell’s Gay Games vision, IAGLMA embraces the principles of “Participation, Inclusion, and Achievement of One’s Personal Best.” To carry this vision forward, our events include seminars presented by an international array of female, male, and gender non-conforming martial arts masters from multiple styles. All are welcome. Our tournament rules for sparring, forms, weapons, and self-defense were designed to provide a fair and level playing field for as many styles, ages, and experience levels as possible.


Until Gay Games III, many LGBTQI+ martial artists trained in the closet, often not knowing any other martial artists from their community. IAGLMA was formed to ensure that the incredible experience of GGIII would be included in every Gay Games to come.


IAGLMA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to fostering the empowerment of LGBTQ people through martial arts.


IAGLMA welcomes martial artists and all interested parties from around the world. Current participants in include:


  • Martial artists from Australia, Canada, China, Finland, France, Italy, Germany, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Russia, Thailand, Turkey, The United Kingdom, The United States, and West Africa


  • Practitioners of all styles: competitive and noncompetitive (such as many styles of Aikido), as well as mat and floor practitioners


  • Martial artists of all abilities, ages, gender identities, adaptive needs, and healthcare regimens


  • Martial artists of all ages, ranks, and levels of martial arts and self-defense experience


  • Schools and organizations committed to our common goals and mission


IAGLMA is committed to the ideal of multistyle educational martial arts and self-defense seminars, as well as multistyle tournaments. Our goals are to provide a safe, inclusive environment for all martial artists, and to ensure equal access and opportunity at every level of the martial arts for all genders and gender non-conforming martial artists. We are dedicated to ensuring the inclusion of martial artists with special needs and providing multistyle seminars, tournaments, and learning opportunities within the international martial artists community for all styles, ranks, ages, and abilities.


We aim to continue our international outreach to include diversity of styles among our members and directors and to educate through the martial arts and self-defense. We are committed to forming partnerships with traditional local, national, and international martial arts organizations to promote our ideals of inclusion, safety, respect, participation, and attainment of personal best. We work with and teach martial artists worldwide to educate, empower, and protect ourselves through local, national, and international self-defense seminars for the general public.


We are dedicated to including the largest geographic and martial arts style representation among our board members. Membership on our Board of Directors requires a commitment of energy and expertise so that together we may continue our commitment to education and outreach to all martial artists everywhere.

Empowerment  |  Inclusion  |  Action  |  Respect  |  Partnership

IAGLMA Board of Directors

Darl Schaff
American Kenpo,  Shoshin Ryu Jiu Jitsu
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
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Damián López
Tae Kwon Do
Valencia, Spain
Christian Lemesle
Paris, France
DeVante Love
Kung Fu
Boston, MA
Ken Craig
Tae Kwon Do
San Francisco, CA USA
Etienne Martin
Paris, France
Penny Gulliver
Kung Fu,
Sydney, Australia
Sonya Richardson
Oakland, CA, USA
Allen Wood
Chuck Norris System
San Francisco, CA USA
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Hoi Yuet Chau
Tae Kwon Do
Hong Kong, China

Our Competitions 

To further our goals of inclusion for all martial artists, IAGLMA has revised international, standard semi-contact multi-style tournament competition rules to ensure gender parity and the inclusion of those with special needs in form, sparring and judging—a level of inclusivity unheard of until the Gay Games.


In addition, the IAGLMA rules promote inclusion and emphasize safety, fairness, professionalism, and the attainment of one’s personal best.


IAGLMA rules will govern the martial arts events for the Gay Games XI (Hong Kong, China), and to date, our rules have governed the martial arts events at:

  • Gay Games IV (New York, NY, USA, 1994)

  • EuroGames IV (Berlin, Germany, 1996)

  • IAGLMA’s Get Ready for Gay Games V International Multistyle Martial Arts Tournament and Martial Arts and Self Defense Seminars (Philadelphia, PA, USA, May 1997)

  • Gay Games V (Amsterdam, The Netherlands, August 1998)

  • Gay Games VI (Sydney, Australia, 2002)

  • Euro Games (Munich, Germany, 2004)

  • Get Ready for Gay Games VII Tournament (London, UK, 2005)

  • Gay Games VII (Chicago, USA, 2006)

  • Tournoi International de Paris (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009)

  • Training tournaments and events in Sydney, Australia; San Francisco, CA, USA; Munich, Germany; and Paris, France

  • Gay Games XI Hong Kong 2023

More Upcoming Events—Join Us!

Gay Games

Paris International Tournament

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The 18th Tournament in Paris (TIP) will take place 17-19 May 2024.  IAGLMA member club Niji-Kan is full involved in organizing this tournament.  This event is a great way to prepare for the upcoming EuroGames 2025 in Lyon as well as Gay Games XII Valencia in 2026.

“Like every year, the LGBT+ Sports Federation organizes the TIP (Paris International Tournament) to discover and have fun practicing many sports and finish fabulously with a musical show at the Dome de Paris,” said promoter Christian Lemesle. “For those nostalgic for the closing ceremony of Gay Games Paris 2018, this is an opportunity to remember those moments.

By Hoi Yuet Chau

Tournament Director, GG-XI Hong Kong

IAGLMA Board of Directors


Thank you everyone for coming to our Gay Games Hong Kong 2023 Martial Arts Event. It was a great pleasure meeting you all throughout the entire week. Gay Games Hong Kong has eventually hosted around 20 sports in variousparts of the city alongside Arts and culture events in the Festival Village throughout the 9 days. Although the overall participant numbers were lower than originally expected, this indeed didn’t hold back the fun and excitement the event brought to us.  I am sure many of you enjoyed the glorious March-in at the opening ceremony.  Some of you attended more than one sport event and I also met a few of you who stayed until the very last day of the closing ceremony.  Our Martial Arts competition was a two day event in Queen Elizabeth Stadium, in Wan Chai between 5th (Sun) and 6th (Mon) November. We started with an hour  warm-up time on mats on each day, followed by Forms, Self-defense and finally Sparring competition. On the first day, all of us (judges, competitors and some of the volunteers) had our lunch together in a compact room. A few volunteers helped to gather the meal preferences from everyone and arranged the order within a short period of time.  After the lunch break, everyone was gathered in the Function Room II to wait for an official start of the competition. We started with Empty Hand forms and followed with Weapon Forms. It was a smooth first competition day in general and ended at 3:30 PM.The second day of competition was held in the Main Arena of Queen Elizabeth Stadium, which is a more spacious area. However, we were not allowed to let the general public who didn’t buy tickets to come in as spectators for the competition. Only a certain number of invited guests who came along with the athletes were allowed in.


There were some other athletes who had finished their sports who came to watch the competition. Some immediate amendments had to be made to the Sparring competition. For instance, I was invited to join and compete in one of the Black Belt divisions due to an absent athlete.The competition was wrapped up by a mini medal ceremony.  Right after we finished the competition, on that same day, before the start of the Music Gala Night at the same location, we were grateful to have Fire Phoenix from Australia to perform as a pre-show. In the following days, we invited a few Masters to hold a series of workshops in the Festival Village. Even though it was only an hour per session, they were all well planned sessions with insightful experiences. Those four sessions were Hapkido, TaeKwondo, Northern ChineseKung Fu, and Capoeira.  Being the organizer of this Martial Arts event has encouraged me to reach out to the local Martial Arts community so to promote the IAGLMA rules and invite judges/referees to help at this occasion. I consider this as the very first step to success in establishing a primary connection between like-minded individual/teams within the local Martial arts community and beyond.This GGHK 2023 has definitely added a significant impact to the local history. To every one of us who has attended and supported the event, this memory will last a lifetime as a priceless gift.  Once again, thank you for your participation and I hope you enjoyed your visit to Hong Kong! We now look forward to our next host city and sending my very best wishes to Valencia for a wonderful Games.

Watch IAGLMA in Action

To get a taste of the fun and energy of our martial arts and self-defense events, explore a few of our recent videos. We plan to update them periodically, so be sure to check back. (You might even see yourself featured!)

IAGLMA Competition Rules
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