Mikex and Zhen shaking hands at the Canadian Red Bull Kumite Qualifier
© Brandon DaCosta / Red Bull Content Pool

The moments that make Red Bull Kumite special

So much has happened over 9 years of Red Bull Kumite. Let’s explore why the tournament is special to the FGC through some big moments.
By Yassin Hussein
5 min readPublished on
So much has changed since the first Red Bull Kumite in Paris in 2015. Two Street Fighter games have been released and the FGC has grown tremendously. Games and tournament series have come and gone, each giving so many players a chance to showcase their love of the genre.


The C in FGC is the most crucial part: community. Coming together with people like you in a space designed specifically for it is a freeing experience. There’s nothing like finding your local scene in a city where you thought you’d never play your favourite game side by side with someone else on a regular basis.
Community doesn’t have to be in person, though. We saw throughout the pandemic that communities can be built, maintained online, and even grown. With the upgrades in netcode many games have gotten in the last few years, finding friends and community through netplay and online tournaments is easier than ever.
Red Bull Kumite wouldn’t exist without community. It celebrates our similarities and differences and highlights the top level of fighting game players in different regions.
Mikex VS Joe Umerogan and the Red Bull Kumite Canadian Qualifiers

Mikex and Joe Umerogan show respect after their match

© Brandon DaCosta / Red Bull Content Pool

Kumite = Sparring

Kumite in Japanese means sparring. In martial arts, sparring is when the trainee gets to go up against a fellow martial artist in order to get a grasp on where they are in their journey. That’s exactly what events like Red Bull Kumite are going for.
The sharpest improvement is all about intention. You work on your game differently when you know there’s a true test coming around the corner. The preparation needed to just qualify for the event takes these players to the brink.
The kumite itself then takes immense focus. Players will be pitted against the literal best of the best, and will come out on the other side having invaluable feedback to glean from the footage and post game talks with competitors. Each player's blade is sharpened through this process.
Red Bull Kumite South Africa

Red Bull Kumite South Africa

© Mpumelelo Macu / Red Bull Content Pool

Regional Pride

Just take a look at Street Fighter 2’s arcade mode screen, each character represents their home country and culture. They fight to prove that their approach to martial arts is the strongest, or just to explore what’s out there and use that new found info to improve their own style. It’s funny how well this captures what the FGC is about.
Red Bull Kumite bringing players from around the world to represent their region helps more than just those players. A Canadian getting a better chance to qualify is great for that Canadian player, but imagine how that player can help the other representatives with their unique perspective on the game. This chemical reaction is how the game and community around it grow.
Of course, there’s nothing like a hometown hero. Seeing your champion giving their all to overcome the giants of the game can fill your heart like nothing else. Especially knowing how hard they worked to get there.
All these aspects make Red Bull Kumite an event that’s lasted almost 10 years now. It embodies what makes the FGC great, and highlights the best parts of the community. Let’s talk about some of its biggest moments in the last 9 years.
Jabhim pops off after defeating Tokido

Jabhim pops off after defeating Tokido

© Tyrone Bradley / Red Bull Content Pool

South Africa’s Champion

Red Bull Kumite’s regional variety puts the spotlight on players who might not have the resources to fly to every major. The local South African Jabhim proved that sometimes all you need is an opportunity to shine.
Jabhim did amazingly online and offline in the events he could attend, he just lacked attendance at majors to get eyes on him. That all changed after making it to Red Bull Kumite, since he was put up against legendary Capcom Cup champion Tokido.
Tokido got off to a good start, taking the first game, but Jabhim quickly answered back, tying it up. The set continued like this up to 3-3, but Jabhim seemed fueled by his home crowd, and powered up in the end to defeat Tokido with a game to spare.
He might not have gotten the gold, but in front of his home crowd, Jabhim eliminated one of the players on the Mount Rushmore of fighting games. You really have to watch the replay to see how electrifying a moment it was, words sometimes can’t express the hype and warmth something like this elicits.
Bonchan wins the first Red Bull Kumite

Bonchan wins the first Red Bull Kumite

© Katya Mokolo / Red Bull Content Pool

Bonchan Taking the First Ever RBK

We have to talk about the first ever Red Bull Kumite. As Bonchan and Tokido prepared to face off in the grand finals, Tokido now famously trash talked Bonchan’s repeated second place finishes, and that, despite wanting first place, his opponent was unfortunately Tokido.
Tokido’s confidence was well placed, since he had winners’ side advantage and would only have to win one set while Bonchan had to beat Tokido twice. But his trash talk would backfire tremendously as Bonchan came prepared.
In a grueling two sets, Bonchan did what he came to do. After losing to Tokido in winners finals, he was ready for the runback, defeating Tokido 3-1 in each set.
Fujimura was the first to win two Red Bull Kumites back to back

Fujimura was the first to win two Red Bull Kumites back to back

© Stephanie Lindgren / Red Bull Content Pool

Fujimura the sole BACK TO BACK Winner

Despite being the reigning champion, Fujimura was not happy going into Red Bull Kumite 2019. He had just tied for last at Capcom Cup 2019, well below players that he had overcome at RBK the year before.
With some changes to Ibuki, he had to adjust a little. Thankfully, the event was being held in his home country, so he had some more room to prepare. Fujimura dominated the event on the winners side, and had his first game 5 set of the top 8 in grands, where he won 3-2.
Winning two of these worldwide kumite events is a staggering achievement if you really stop to think about it. It took nine Capcom Cups before anyone won more than one ever. And Fujimura won his two Red Bull Kumites BACK TO BACK. The heights of Street Fighter’s competition are a stunning sight.

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Red Bull Kumite

An epic battle to find the world’s best Street Fighter 6 player comes to New York. Welcome to Red Bull Kumite 2024.

United StatesGreenpoint Terminal Warehouse, United States
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