ICMAC Kung Fu Camp
ICMAC Kung Fu Camp

World Sanda League

Nicholas Perez Scholarship






ICMAC Competition Rules

 Rules |  Reglas | Regolamento | Regulamento | Arbitration

Chinese martial arts have a rich history which spans back thousands of years. During these millennia, the CMA landscape evolved into hundreds of different styles.

While you can find certain common principles and techniques among the different systems, there are still huge differences between the Northern and Southern school and the Internal and External Chinese martial arts styles.

In order to present a fair competition we have established rules criteria that govern each ICMAC tournament.

ICMAC Competition Rules

  1. The uniform
  2. Preparation
  3. Order of performance
  4. The salute for empty hand forms
  5. The salute with weapons
  6. Skill level criteria
  7. Scoring for forms
  8. Time limits for forms
  9. Penalties and deductions for forms
  10. Most Competitive School Award
  11. Placing
  12. Sensing Hands (Push Hands -Tui Shou)
  13. Chi Sao
  14. Shuai Jiao
  15. Sanda/Sanshou (Open to Kickboxing & Muay Thai Fighters)
  16. Light-Contact Sparring
  17. Sword Fencing
  18. Arbitrations

Who may participate?

Our tournaments are inclusive, not exclusive, and are open to all Chinese martial arts practitioners.

Our competitions are also open to practitioners from other styles in the following categories:

  • Sensing Hands (Push Hands)
  • Sparring
  • Sanda - Full Contact Open to: Sanda/Sanshou - Muay Thai & Kickboxing
  • Shuai Jiao

All competitors are required to adhere to the rules and regulations of the competition and demonstrate sportsmanship towards fellow competitors and respect for judges and other tournament officials. 

Competitors don't have to belong to a formal school to participate in the tournament.

1. The uniform for empty hand and weapons forms:

Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and Contemporary Wushu: Any cotton or silk Chinese styled uniform with frog buttons, Shaolin, Wudang and Southern Style (sleeveless) are acceptable.

School T-shirts and tournament T-shirts are acceptable.

Martial arts type shoes are required in forms and weapons divisions.



2. Preparation:

All competitors must be present for the opening ceremonies.

Competitors should become acquainted with the competition floor layout. They should know the rings where their divisions will be taking place.

Competitors must be present at ringside when their divisions are about to begin.*

*Note: If you have a conflict due to an event scheduled in another ring, you must notify the Chief Judge. We will do everything possible to see that you have a chance to compete in all of your scheduled events.Top

3. Order of performance:

The first to register is the last to go. Athletes will be listed in accordance with their date of registration; the earlier your registration is submitted, the lower you will be placed on the list.

  • Unless you are the first athlete to perform, you will receive an "on deck" call announcing your name and signaling that you should prepare to compete as soon as the athlete ahead of you clears the floor. When it is your turn to compete, you will be called by name.
  • If you are not present when your name is called, two additional calls will be made over the PA system. The second of these will be a final call. If you do not respond, you will forfeit the event. The forfeiture is final and cannot be reversed.
  • Once called up, athletes should stand at the call of "ready," enter on the right side of the performance area that faces the Chief Judge, walk smartly to the starting point for their form, come to attention, and salute only the Chief Judge.

Note: No spoken presentation of your name, form or style is permitted. Top

4. The salute for empty hand forms:

When called to perform, athletes will walk to the place on the competition floor where they will begin their form and greet the Chief Judge with a recognized salute or bow. Upon being acknowledged by the Chief Judge, athletes will return to attention and begin their form within 5 seconds.

Upon completing their form, competitors must once again come to attention and salute the Chief Judge. Competitors will wait to receive the scores, then perform one final bow toward the Chief Judge and walk off the floor.

Note: The Open Palm and Fist Salute is widely recognized in Chinese martial arts and it is the required salute for ICMAC competitions.


5. The salute with weapons:

All the requirements cited for the empty hand forms salute apply. In addition, each weapon has its own requirements.

The salute with the staff and the spear requires the competitor to hold the weapon with the right fist covered by the left palm. The Pu Dao, Quan Dao and other long weapons will also use this same salute.

The salute with the broadsword requires the competitor to hold the weapon in the left hand and cradled in the crook of the elbow. Salute by covering the hilt with the right palm. Double broadswords, other similar single-edge weapons and the three-sectional staff will also use this salute.

The salute with the straight sword requires that the sword be tucked under the left forearm. Salute by covering the hilt with the right palm. Double swords and two-handed sword will also use this salute.


6. Skill level criteria:

The Guidelines below are for general purposes when registering for a tournament. Athletes must register for all divisions at the same age and experience level.

  • First Timers Divisions (1st Tournament and under one year of training))
  • Beginner: Up to < 2 years of training
  • Intermediate: 2 to 4 years of training
  • Advanced: > 4 years of training


Note: We do not base the skill level criteria on Belt or Sash Colors since every school has different standards and color schemes. To be fair, our skill levels criteria is based exclusively on the length of training or accumulated training.


7. Scoring for forms:

Scoring range: 8.00 - 9.99


8. Time limits for forms:

All times are given in minutes. A penalty of 0.2 points will be deducted for each infraction of 5 seconds or partial increment thereof.

  • Traditional Northern Style Divisions
    Min 0:30 Seconds, Max 2:00 Minute
  • Traditional Southern Style Divisions
    Min 0:30 Seconds, Max 3:00 Minutes
  • Wushu Forms (IWuF Standards)
    Min 1:20 Minute for Adults & Teens Advanced Divisions. 1.00 Minute for Adult & Teen Intermediate.
  • Taiji and Liuhe Bafa Hand Forms
    Min 3:00 Minutes, Max 3:30 Minutes
  • Taiji and Liuhe Bafa Sword Form

           Min 3:00 Minutes, Max 3:30 Minutes

  • Taiji Other Weapons

           Min 2:00 Minutes, Max 3:30 Minutes

  • Taiji 24 & 32 Taiji Sword
    Perform to completion
  • Xing Yi and Bagua Hand & Weapons Forms
    Min. 1:00 Minute, Max. 2:30 Minutes

An audible warning will be given 30 seconds prior to the time limit for Taiji and Liuhe Bafa.

In all Taiji and Liuhe Bafa categories, it may be necessary for two or more athletes to perform simultaneously.

Note: In the Traditional and Wushu Categories, First Timers, and Beginner are not subject to time requirements.

Time limits do not apply to all Kids and Juniors Divisions.


9. Penalties and deductions for forms:

Northern Long Fist: Athletes can begin their form in any quadrant of the competition ring. The form must end in the same quadrant as the starting point*. Forms that end by facing opposite of the starting point will result in a .5 point deduction from the final score. Forms that do not end in the same quadrant as the starting point will result in a .2 point deduction* from the final score.

*Competitors whose form does not end in the same quadrant must inform the Chief Judge before performing. No penalty will be awarded in such circumstances.

Note: The basic 32 Wushu Forms are permitted in the Traditional First-Timers Division, Traditional Kids, Traditional Juniors and in the Adult First-Timers and Beginner Categories only.

Interruptions caused by uncontrollable circumstances will not be penalized.

Re-performing due to forgetfulness will result in a .5 point deduction from the final score. The only exception is for First-Timers.

Broken weapons will result in a .5 point deduction from the final score; this applies to all skill levels.

A dropped weapon will result in a .5 point deduction for Novice and Beginners and a Full 1 point deduction in all other categories,

All sabers and swords used in the traditional divisions must be of Loong Quan type steel or heavier steel; the weapon must be able to sustain its own weight when placed on its tip.Note: All Kids and Juniors divisions are exempt from this rule.

Acceptable Unacceptable

Long Weapons such as the Quandao and Pudao are also subject to these requirements.

Wushu divisions require the current standard weapons used in international competition.

Non-compliance with these weapon standards will result in a .5 point deduction from the final score unless otherwise specified.

Weapon Length

Weapons require a certain length in order to be used efficiently. The requirements, with few exceptions, are generally the same for Traditional and Modern Wushu. The length of the weapon is determined according to the competitor's height.

The pictures that follow are self explanatory.

Saber & Swords:

The minimum length for the saber and the straight sword requires that the tip of the weapon reach the competitors top of ear when held at the sides.

Left Correct - Right incorrect

Staffs and Spears:

Staffs can vary in length from a minimum of the height of the competitor's eyebrow to well over the competitor's head. Staffs shorter than the competitor's eyebrow fall into the Other Weapons category. In divisions where there are no Open Weapons any length staff or stick may be used.

Spears vary in length between Traditional Northern and Southern Systems and Contemporary Wushu.

For Northern Systems the spear should reach the tip of the competitor's fingers when the arm is stretched overhead.

For Southern Systems the spear can be slightly shorter but the speartip must be above the competitors head.

For Contemporary Wushu the Spearhead should be above the competitor's fingertips when the arm is stretched overhead.

10. Most Competitive School (Orlando Only 2018)

Most Competitive School Award ($500 to the Top School)

Points are tallied for each competitor that is awarded a medal for empty hand forms and weapons from your school as follows:

  • 1st Place Medal - 10 Points
  • 2nd Place Medal - 7 Points
  • 3rd Place Medal - 5 Points

The school that accumulates the most points will receive the Most Competitive School Award, Champion's Cup and Cash Prize.

This award will be announced and publicized shortly after the tournament on our website

Note: Partner Forms are not included in the points tally. 

11. Placing:

Medals will be awarded from 1st through 4th place in each division.

For Grand Champion awards for advanced athletes who have entered the required divisions, the winners will be determined by the highest total Medal Points (see point value above).

Note: No ties are allowed at any level since placements reflect the overall standing of a competitor. Tie breaking procedures will go into effect to determine the winner.


12. Taiji Sensing Hands (Push Hands Tui Shou):

We are now using the term Sensing Hands for Tui Shou Competition. We hope that this will encourage athletes to better adhere to Taiji Principles and shun the use of force.

Weight Classes for Fixed, Restricted and Free Style Step Sensing Hands:

  • Men <145 lbs
  • Men 145-175 lbs
  • Men 176-205 lbs
  • Men >205 lbs
  • Women <125 lbs
  • Women 125-150 lbs
  • Women >150

Fixed Step: Both feet must remain in contact with the floor at all times. Heel or toe may be raised briefly, but the foot may not leave floor or change position.

  • The feet remain in the same starting position
  • The front toe may be raised in yielding back
  • The rear heel may be raised in shifting forward
  • Any sideward movement or double placement of the foot is not permitted
  • Advancing or retreating of any kind is not permitted

Restricted Step:

  • For restricted-step push hands, the foot forward at the start of the round must remain forward for the duration of the round
  • Either front or back foot may move, but not both at the same time;
  • There must be a beat between steps (no charging)
  • Movement is oriented along center line and players may not step more than 45° to either side to defend or gain advantage in pushing.

The following descriptions for Competition Format, Match Area, Objective of Match, Progression of Match, etc., apply to both Fixed and Restricted Step Push Hands.

Competition format:

  • All matches are single elimination
  • Matches consist of two 1-minute rounds.
  • The players change leg position after the first round
  • In the event of a tie, the match will be decided by sudden death: First to score wins.

Match area:

  • Two perpendicular lines form a cross at the center of the playing area
  • Play is begun with the both players in forward stance
  • The ball of the right foot on the horizontal stripe.
  • Players' front feet are separated by the vertical stripe, which marks the centerline of the play area.
  • When play is stopped for any reason, players return to the starting position.

Objective of match:

The objective of the match is to Uproot the opposing player while maintaining own root using Taijiquan (Tai Chi) principles.

Progression of match:

Play is begun in a neutral position with backs of right wrists touching. Left hands are placed on (not under) right elbow of opponent. (Reversed in second period.)

  • Players move their arms together in a horizontal circle until referee feels a neutral state has been established.
  • They may not seek advantage at this point.
  • Once the Center Judge says, “Begin” players must continue to play for a second or two before issuing energy.
  • Players unable or unwilling to begin play neutrally may be issued a warning

Continuous Contact

  • Players are expected to stick and adhere and may not break contact to gain advantage.
  • All issuing must be preceded by contact
  • Breaking contact to gain advantage may result in a warning

Valid techniques:

Pushing, pulling with one hand, trapping techniques, non-impact techniques that cause opponent to lose balance, and single-hand grabbing techniques that cause opponent to lose balance.

Target Areas:

Contact is permitted between the hips and collarbone.

Note: The head, neck, spine, and legs may not be attacked and will result in a warning or disqualification depending on the severity of the infraction.


  • The center judge as well as any of the corner judges may call for a point
  • Points are awarded by majority judges' decision.
  • One point is awarded for uprooting opponent.
  • A point is awarded against the opponent when a warning is called.


  • Grabbing. A one-handed pluck is a valid technique, but players may not seek to control opponent by grabbing for longer than one second,
  • Wrapping hands around the back.
  • Grabbing clothing
  • Pulling with both hands
  • Striking: Any percussive contact (makes a sound) is considered a strike.
  • Charging: (Restricted step.) Players may not take successive steps forward without pausing.
  • Joint Locks (Qinna). Joints may not be attacked with force
  • Not following the Chief Judge's directions

The following will result in immediate disqualification:

  • Excessive and dangerous use of force
  • Accumulation of 3 warnings
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct by the player or coach


13. Chi Sao:


  • Kung Fu pants, martial arts shoes, and a short sleeve t-shirt are required
  • Jewelry, rings, or necklaces are not permitted
  • Fingernails must be kept short to avoid injury to other contestants

Mandatory Equipment

  • Protective full-face head gear
  • Mouth piece
  • Chest protector
  • Groin protector (for men)

The Match Format

  1. 1. The match will consist of two 90-second rounds with a 30-second rest period between rounds
  2. The contestants will engage in a continuous exchange of techniques
  3. Should the contestants disengage or are driven out of the competition area, they are to return to the center and begin again with "rolling hands" under the instructions of the center referee.
  4. The winner of each round is chosen at the end of each round by the 3 or 5 corner judges (no even number of judges shal lbe asigned). A winner is determined by receiving the most favorable votes among the judges. The winner of each round is immediately determined and announced publicly.
  5. 30-second sudden death match applies if contestants are tied after first two rounds
  6. The competition area will consist of an 8' x 8' ring divided by a line in the middle
  7. Timeout will be called and the match will be stopped for uniform and equipment failure or to seek medical advice
  8. General commands by the Center Judge:
  • "Start" - break of Chi Sao flow
  • "Stop" - match stops until restarted by Center Judge
  • "Courtesy" - neutral Chi Sao Rolling (no fighting)
  • "Time out/in" - used to pause the match or restart the match

Note: Center Judge does not count out loud the minimum Chi Sao Rolls. Instead, he/she will randomly issue the start command after a minimum of 3 Rolls so that competitors cannot anticipate a pattern.

Match Objective

The objective of the match is for competitors to display good Chi Sao techniques, such as:

  • Sticking and adhering to the opponent’s forearms/wrists during a continuous exchange of techniques to precise body targets at close range
  • Continuous bridging and trapping skills
  • Stable stance and balance with good bridging skills
  • Clean blocking and attacking technique
  • Sensitivity and reaction skills
  • Timing and speed
  • Control of power and distance
  • Good display of offensive and defensive technique

Note: This is not a point contest but a judgment of the competitors overall performance on the above.

Match Progression

  1. Competitors will meet at center of the ring, bow to the judges and each other, and engage in double rolling hands (“luk sao”)
  2. The Chief Judge or center referee leads the contestants in 3 sequences of rolling
  3. The match begins as commanded by the Center Judge after a minimum of 3 rolls
  4. There is a maximum of 3 continuous attack combinations before the competitors must re-bridge and roll at least 3 times before initiating another exchange of techniques. The competitors can re-bridge on their own if not already commanded by the Cneter Judge.
  5. Light contact to the chest protector only
  6. Judges will look for and score good Chi Sao techniques directed at legal targets

Legal contact area

  • The entire torso area which is covered with the chest protector
  • NON-contact striking to the neck or head
  • For Advanced Divisions only; light contact with elbow strike to chest protector is allowed as long as the elbow NEVER executes above the shoulder line
  • For Advanced Divisions only; light contact using the shoulder as a weapon to chest protector is allowed
  • Advanced Divisions only; non-kicking foot sweeps and takedowns are allowed and the successful competitor receives "2points" for a successful execution and remains standing in a stable structure after the sweep of takedown


Coaching of the competitors shall only be allowed before the match begins and during the first 20 seconds of the 30-second rest period. Each competitor shall only have a maximum of one coach in their corner. No coaching allowed during the match.


  1. Contact to the face or head area
  2. Kicking, wrestling, or boxing
  3. Unsportsmanlike shoving or pushing the other competitor
  4. Attempts to lock the joints
  5. Grabbing or holding for more than 3 seconds without executing an attack
  6. Pulling or grabbing an opponent’s clothes or hair
  7. Grabbing or “fook sao” behind the neck . Non-striking/impact "fook Sao" behind the neck is allowed in the Advanced Divisions
  8. Continuous striking with total disregard to sticking or bridging
  9. Counter-striking over the cleanly landed attack from the opponent without first acknowledging it with a defensive maneuver. Competitors must first “respect” their opponent’s attack and not totally ignore it.
  10. Continuing to strike after time is called or center referee calls "stop"
  11. Elbow and head strikes not allowed
  12. Head butts not allowed
  13. Willingly stepping out of bounds
  14. Coaching from the sidelines during the match
  15. Disobeying the referee’s command


  • Accumulation of any three warnings (total during entire match) will result in disqualification
  • Immediate disqualification upon any display of intentional excessive force
  • Excessive use of force towards the head ir face area
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct

Weight Classes


Lightweight < 160 lbs.
Middleweight 161 to 185 lbs.
Heavy Weight Over 185 lbs


Lightweight < 125 lbs

Middleweight 125-150 lbs
Heavyweight > 150 lbs.


14. Shuai Jiao:


  • Kung Fu pants (Kuzi)
  • Shuai Jiao jacket (Yi)
  • Shuai Jiao Belt (Dai)
  • Jewelry, rings, or necklaces are not permitted
  • Fingernails must be kept short to avoid injury to other contestants

The Match Format

  1. The match will consist of two 2-Minute rounds with a 30-second rest period between rounds
  2. The contestants will engage in a continuous exchange of Shuai Jiao techniques
  3. A 1-minute round will be added if contestants are tied after first two rounds
  4. If still tied after the first round, the match will be awarded to the most active competitor
  5. The competition area will consist of 20' x 20' matted ring
  6. The match will be stopped for uniform and equipment failure or to seek medical advice

Match Objective

The objective of the match is for competitors to display good Shuai Jiao techniques, such as:

  • Standing Grappling
  • Throwing Techniques
  • Sweeping Techniques
  • Shooting Techniques
  • And Other Takedowns

Match Progression

  • Competitors will meet at center on the ring and engage each other at the Chief Judge's signal to start
  • The Chief Judge controls the match through verbal signals
  • Side judges will look for and score good Shuai Jiao techniques

Scoring Points

1 Point is scored when:

  1. Throwing the opponent, causing them to land on their back, and lands on top of the opponent.
  2. Causing the opponent to touch the mat with the hand, elbow or knee while remaining standing.
  3. Forcing opponent out of the ring

2 Points are scored when:

  1. The opponent is thrown and lands on the side or back
  2. Causing the opponent to touch both hands or both knees simultaneously on the mat.
  3. Remain standing while sweeping the opponent so they fall on the mat.

3 Points are scored when:

  1. Remain standing while the opponent is thrown 360 degrees and lands on their back.

No Points are scored when:

  • Both competitors step out of the ring
  • Both competitors simultaneously fall


  1. Striking the opponent with any part of the body
  2. Attacking and attempting to dislocate the joint
  3. Biting or spitting
  4. Pulling the opponent's pants
  5. Smothering opponent's face with hand or forearm
  6. Pulling opponent down once thrown
  7. Failure to engage opponent
  8. Failure to obey Chief Judge's commands


  • Accumulation of any three warnings will result in disqualification
  • Excessive use of force towards the head and face area
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct by competitor or coachTop



15 Sanda/San Shou - Chinese Kickboxing
Open to all Fighters: Muay Thai & Kickboxing

(Orlando Only)

This event is restricted to amateur fighters. Any fighters who has participated professionally in any striking/kicking is not allowed to participate.

Advanced Fighters

Fighters with a record of five (5) or more fights who have not fought professionally qualify for Advanced.

Beginner Fighters

Fighters with a record of up to four (4) fights with no more than 2 wins who have not fought professionally qualify for Beginners.

Note: Participation in amateur fights is strictly restricted. Professional fighters from any striking or kicking discipline, and fighters who are registered as professionals with any governing body are not permitted to participate.

Men’s Weight Categories
125-135 lbs
136-145 lbs
146-155 lbs
156-170 lbs
171-185 lbs
186-205 lbs
206-225 lbs
226 lbs and over

Match and Round Duration for Advanced Divisions   

  • Fights shall be scheduled for three (3) rounds
  • Each round will consist of two (2) minutes with a one (1) minute rest period between rounds

Match and Round Duration for Beginner Divisions   

  • Fights shall be scheduled for three (3) rounds
  • Each round will consist of one (1) minute with a one (1) minute rest period between rounds                                    

Weigh-in and Medical Screening

The official weigh-in and medical screening for amateur fights will occur as posted, depending on whether the fights are part of a scheduled fight-card or tournament format.

  • The Weigh-in and Medical Screening is mandatory for all fighters. Please visit the Schedule Page of a particular event for time.
  • All fighters will weigh-in on the same scale

Making Weight

Any fighter who fails to make weight will be automatically moved to the category in which he makes weight.

Required Equipment

Amateur fights

Matches will take place in a boxing ring minimum size is 20’x20’ but may also take place in an open mat depending on circumstances

  • Protective head gear (provided by promoter)
  • Mouth guard
  • Shin and instep protectors (cloth slip on)
  • Groin cup (female fighters must wear breast protection)
  • 12 OZ boxing gloves (provided by the promoter)
  • Fight shorts (logos must be approved by promoter)

Scoring Techniques

  • Closed hand strikes to head and body
  • Kicking techniques to head, body and thigh
  • Knees to body (not allowed in the Teens Divisions)
  • Throws/Sweeps/Takedowns

Note: Clinching in an attempt to execute a throw or takedown is limited to 5 seconds

Illegal Techniques

  • Elbows
  • Kicks to knee joint
  • Knee to the head
  • Groin strikes
  • Foot stomps
  • Joint locks
  • Striking the back of the head or spine
  • Head butting 
  • Striking a downed opponent
  • Attempt to throw opponent out of the ring

Cautions (1 Point Deduction)

  • Holding the ropes
  • Spitting out mouth piece
  • Purposely loosening equipment
  • Continuing to clinch after referee has called for break
  • Initiating attack before the referrer’s command 
  • Continuing to fight after the referee has called “stop”

Warnings (2 Point Deduction)

  • The employment of any illegal technique will result in a warning
  • Hitting a downed opponent

Awarding of Points

Two points are awarded if

  • The opponent falls while the other fighter remains standing
  • Kick to the head
  • The opponent receives an official warning penalty
  • Standing 8 Count

One point is awarded if

  • Hand strike to head and body
  • Kick to the body
  • Kick to the thigh
  • Knee to the body
  • The opponent falls and the other fighter falls afterwards
  • The opponent receives a caution

No points are awarded if

  • Both fighters hit each other simultaneously
  • The fighter throws the opponent after holding for more than 5 seconds
  • Striking during a clinch (Except for knee strikes)
  • A fighter uses an unsuccessful falling technique to attack
  • Unclear techniques are employed by either fighter


  • Intentionally hitting a downed opponent on the head
  • Pile driving
  • Throwing opponent out of the ring
  • Cornerman physically interferers with the match
  • Excessive unsportsmanlike conduct

Standing 8 Count (2 Point are Awarded)

  • Referee determines that a fighter is at risk of injury
  • Failing to get up within three seconds of a fall (8 Count begins immediately after 3 seconds have elapsed)

A match is awarded if:

  • A Fighter wins 2 out of three rounds
  • There is a Knock-Out
  • There is a TKO – Fighter is unable to continue
  • The opponent takes 2 standing 8-counts in a round or 3 standing 8-counts in a match (Amateur Fights)
  • An athlete is overmatched by the opponent in power and skill; in that event, the center referee can declare absolute victory (Amateur Fights)
  • There is a disqualification 

Note: A fighter that fails to stand up before the count of ten (10) will lose by Knockout

Sustaining a KO or TKO

A fighter who has sustained a KO or TKO in a fight must wait a minimum of thirty (30) days before engaging in another fight and must obtain a physician’s release which states that the fighter is not suffering from any concussion or TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and is able to engage in a full-contact match.


16. Light-Contact Continuous Sparring

Mandatory protective equipment must be supplied by the athlete and must include: Head protector with plastic face shield, mouth guard, groin cup, chest protector (For Women), foam gloves with no exposed fingers, and foam foot protectors that cover entire foot. Shin guards are optional.


Starting with the 2017 Competition Season, we recommend that head gear for Sparring, Sport Sanda and for Chi Sao have a Plastic Face Shield (As pictured above). Macho, Title or brands with similar designs are suggested.


Foot Gear must cover toes, heel and sides of foot. Hand Gear must cover fingers as pictured above.

Note: Shin-Instep guards and Open finger (MMA type gloves) are not permissible.


Competition format:

All matches are single elimination consisting of three one-minute rounds of running time. The time is stopped for injuries or equipment adjustment.

At the end of each round the winner of that round is declared by the decision of the majority of the judges. The winner of two out of three rounds wins the match. In case of a tie after the three rounds there will be a final one-minute round to determine a winner; if still tied after this round, the winner is determined by the Chief Judge.

NOTE: By definition, light contact sparring implies that blows and kicks must be of a tagging nature and not executed with heavy impact force!

Match Length:

  • For Teens and Adults - Three 1 Minute Rounds: Winner of First 2 Rounds wins the Match
  • For Kids and Juniors: Three 30 Seconds Rounds. Winner of First 2 Rounds wins the Match.
Note: In Case of a Tie there will be a Sudden-Death round to determine the winner. First person to score a Clear, Legal Technique wins.

Progression of match:

  • Athletes enter the ring at the command of the Chief Judge
  • Before initiating competitive sparring athletes salute the chief judge and then each other
  • The Chief Judge will commence the match by giving the signal to begin
  • The Chief Judge directs the match with verbal signals ("begin," "stop," etc.)

Legal contact targets:

  • Light contact to front and sides of torso
  • Light contact to side of head gear
  • Light contact to upper thigh

Legal non-contact targets:

  • Front of face
  • Groin

Note: Any contact to this area may result in immediate disqualification

Allowable techniques:

  • Sharp, clean punches and kicks
  • Momentarily grabbing the opponent's wrist to execute a technique
  • Leg sweep to the front leg

Illegal techniques:

  • Elbows
  • Knees
  • Spinning backfist
  • Joint locking
  • Striking any area of the opponent's back or groin
  • Sweeping the rear leg or the supporting leg when the opponent is kicking
  • Any blind technique

The following infractions will result in a warning:

  • Willingly running out of the ring
  • Use of illegal techniques
  • Striking an illegal target
  • Not following the Chief Judge's directions

The following will result in immediate disqualification:

  • Heavy impact force
  • Bleeding that results from an illegal strike
  • Accumulation of 3 warnings
  • Unsportsmanlike conduct by Athlete, Coach or Parent

NOTE: By definition, light contact sparring implies that blows and kicks must be of a tagging nature and not executed with heavy impact force!



17. Sword Fencing


Sword Fencing Rules (Jianshu - Chinese Sword Combat for Sports)

Jianshu provides a competitive environment that allows practitioners to progress and validate their skills. Thus the rules emphasize skill cultivation rather than historic duel reenactment. Nevertheless, the rules reflect a high level of reality, which allows Chinese Jianshu techniques to function as originally designed. The goals are to promote disciplined swordsmanship, athleticism, and sportsmanship.

Court: Square court 28 to 32 feet long on each side. The on-guard position is located such that the competitors’ swords do not cross the center of the court while on-guard.

Center Judge: The center judge is located inside the court and is responsible for calling the fighters into the ring to salute the judges and their opponent, for starting action with a call of “fight,” for stopping action with a call of “halt,” for calling the timing in which the attacks landed, for calling corner judges to vote on the action, for giving a final call if the corner judges did not both give the same call, and for awarding a point based on the resolution of the scoring. The center judge can chose to not call corner judges and simply award a point where it is clear who should be awarded the point, or in the case that either competitor chooses to call “touché,” an acknowledgement that they have been hit by their opponent.

Corner Judges: One judge on each corner. The two judges on the same diagonal line are paired. Each pair of judges observes and makes decisions for one competitor only. The corner judges can move from their corner as long as they don’t enter the ring or pass the halfway point along each side of the ring. A corner judge can only stop a fight with a call of “halt” in the case of a safety violation. Corner judges use hand signals only to vote. Each corner judge has 1 vote, while the center judge has 1.5.

Valid Techniques:

  • Thrusting with the tip of the blade: A thrust is only to be considered valid if the blade deflects or bends, even if only for a moment.
  • Pecking: done with the tip of the blade in a quick and percussive manner.
  • Cutting: done with the tip of the blade or first 15 inches of the blade in circular slashing movement.
  • Draw cut: when the blade has landed on the opponent without having had made a cut, one example of this with a missed thrust attempt. The cut is made by applying significant force against the opponent while drawing the sword back in a circular fluid movement.
  • In order for these techniques to be considered valid, all of them need to be executed with offensive intent, clean, and sufficient force.  Techniques that do not meet the requirements are considered invalid.       

Valid Target Areas:  

  • Primary area: This includes head (front & side), neck (front & side), torso where covered by appropriate protection gear and sword holding hand/wrist where covered by gloves. This is a major and critical target area.
  • Secondary area: This includes limbs (arms, legs and feet), which are often not covered by protection gear although such gear is allowed. This is considered a minor yet effective target area. It is encouraged to not contact your opponent’s shin, knee, elbow, or feet, although these are valid target areas.
  • Back of head and groin are illegal targets. To prevent competitors from using their back as a shield, attacks that land on the back as the opponent transitions are considered valid but warned against. The warning is issued to the competitor who offered his back as a target. If the competitor moves in such a way as to intentionally attack the back of their opponent’s torso, no point is to be awarded and a warning is issued. 

Equipment: The Jian must be made from an approved polymer material. Maximum blade length 30 inches. Maximum weight 1.5 kg. The spine of the Jian can be taped with color tape which helps judges to identify the competitor and distinguish spine from edge.

Protective Gear: Fencing mask; hockey style neck protection (optional but recommended); chest protection with collar bone protection pads; gloves that protect the hands and wrists; long-sleeve shirt of durable material (optional); pants of durable material (optional); groin protection (optional but recommended for men); elbow pads and knee pads (optional).

Match Regulation, Priority and Decision: Each match starts with competitors saluting the judges, each other, and coming on-guard. Each match ends when one competitor has reached the pre-assigned limit (usually 5 points), or if one competitor is injured and unable to continue, or if the center judge disqualifies a competitor. The center judge can stop the match by calling "Halt." An attack can only score if it lands before or simultaneously with the “halt” call.

Calling Out-of-Bounds: Out-of-Bounds can be called by the center judge when both of a competitor's feet are out of court boundary. An attack made out of bounds is only valid if the attack lands before or simultaneously with the call of “halt.”

Calling a Point: The center judge will call timing when one competitor’s attack lands before the other. They check with corner judges and if it is ruled that the attack did not land and a second attack was attempted, that attack can be judged and a point can be awarded. Any number of attacks attempted before a halt can be up for voting. If both competitors’ attacks land at the same moment, corner judges are called to determine who is awarded the point.

The decision on calling a point will be based on majority decision.

Calling Warning, Foul, and Losing Match: The center judge is responsible for calling fouls. The first offense will warrant a warning; the second will warrant a point to the offender’s opponent; the third will result in the disqualification. Where the competitor displays a lack of concern for safety or disrespect for the judges or opponent, he can be removed from the tournament.

Offenses: The competitor behaves in an unsportsmanlike manner or attempts an invalid or illegal technique to cause injury to the opponent. The competitor removes a piece of protective equipment intentionally during the match or halt without permission from the center judge. The competitor refuses to cooperate with the judges. The competitor attacks wildly, without control. The winner is decided by who has scored the most points at the point of the stoppage, including the possible point awarded for the foul.




A formal procedure must be followed when a competitor or instructor would like to launch a protest regarding a presumed discrepancy in the application of the rules.

  1. Request, complete, sign and submit the Arbitration form
  2. The arbitration form must be signed by the competitor and the instructor/coach
  3. If the competitor is under 18 years of age a parent or legal guardian must sign the Arbitration Form
  4. The fee for arbitrating the dispute is USD $200.00
  5. The fee is refunded if the dispute is settled in the competitor's favor
  6. The Arbitrator's decision is final and will be rendered in a timely manner













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