Winning The Battle: How Careful Planning & Mutual Respect Delivered Successful Live Martial Arts Tournament During Pandemic

Connections Housing Client Truth Entertainment Hosts Successful Battle of Atlanta 2020
When Truth Entertainment owners Greg and Toby Ruth rescheduled the 2020 Battle of Atlanta World Karate Championships for the second time due to Covid-19 concerns, the duo knew their prestigious event was facing a fierce adversary.

Typically held in June, the 52nd annual Battle of Atlanta, which has been home to some of the greatest fighters the martial arts world has ever known (think Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Joe Lewis and others who have graced its halls), had already been pushed to July. As summer approached and Covid-19 showed no signs of backing down, Greg and Toby made the decision to move their event to September 2020  -- Labor Day weekend – remaining at the original Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel venue.

Even after the North American Sports Karate Association (NASKA)World Tour Board of Directors made the decision to cancel its 2020 season in August, Greg and Toby pressed on. 

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Battle of Atlanta 2020 and Hosts Successful Championship During Pandemic
The Ruths and their incredible team worked tirelessly to communicate the date changes and new safety requirements to tournament competitors, officials and attendees.  And, they consulted with NASKA promoters, attorneys, an infectious disease prevention consultant and others to put together a thorough Covid-19 plan. All to ensure everyone’s health and safety was top priority --with minimal impact to the overall tournament experience.

As Battle of Atlanta’s official hotel partner, Connections Housing played a key role through every step of the process. Constantly advocating on behalf of the client and attendees, Connections worked closely with the Waverly Hotel to hold the lowest rates with each date change.  What’s more, Connections agents stayed in close touch with attendees for seamless rebooking, new reservations, as well as to help communicate important booking deadline information, Covid protocols and more.

“Connections owner Nancy Hallberg and her team are always willing to help and go that extra mile,” said Greg Ruth, Truth Entertainment, Inc. “Not just before and during the event with regular reporting, analysis, updates and advice, but after too, with audits to make sure we’re getting credit for individuals who might have booked outside our block.” 

‘The Martial Arts Community Is Fearless’   

“The martial arts community is not fearful of much, and they are definitely not afraid of Covid,” Greg explained.  “So one of our biggest concerns centered around wearing masks.” 

As it turned out, that concern, and many others, were quickly put aside as competitors, coaches and

Battle of Atlanta 2020 Hosts Successful Championship During Pandemic
their families arrived thankful and happy for the tournament to begin.

“Everyone wore their masks out of mutual respect for each other, the event and competitors,” George adds.   

In addition to mask requirements, other protocols included daily temperature checks; plentiful hand-sanitizer stations; informational signage;  extensive cleaning/disinfecting between matches; carefully timed competition sessions in 4 different ballrooms; and corresponding color-coded wrist bands required for entrance.


Truth Entertainment and Connections Housing Work To Host Successful Tournament During Pandemic
What’s more, the hotel team set up spectator seating in pods of four – each carefully spaced. “When we first arrived at the venue and saw the seating arrangement, we all felt there was no way that was going to work,” Greg says.  “But after 2 solid days of competition, not one chair was moved.  Everyone was so respectful of the tournament safety requirements.” 

Perhaps Jackson Rudolph, Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame Member and Sport Karate Contributor, Black Belt Magazine, said it best in his September 9, 2020  Battle of Atlanta recap article

“The success of The Battle of Atlanta's COVID-19 protocols is a testament to the passion and dedication of the promoting and coordinating staff who did an excellent job with their event during such a tumultuous time. The only thing more impressive than the effectiveness of the safety measures was the quality of competition.”


Photos (Top to Bottom) -- Showing mutual respect for each other, competitors and attendees alike complied with Covid-19 safety protocols to deliver successful Battle of Atlanta 2020.  Bottom shot -- Toby Ruth, Truth Entertainment. 

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