Tournament Rules


Our only competition is with ourselves.  A competitor’s behavior in a competition is a reflection of his/her teacher, school, and style.  Therefore, competitors and spectators are expected to be courteous and respectful to judges, other competitors, and other spectators at all times.  Unsportsmanlike or disrespectful behavior between competitors or spectators will absolutely not be tolerated and may result in disqualification from the division or tournament, penalty to scores, or withdrawal from awards at the discretion of the judges.  The judges’ decisions are not negotiable.


Cotton or silk uniforms with frog buttons, Shaolin tops, Wudang tops, and Southern Style (sleeveless)  tops, and school t-shirts are acceptable. Traditional gis or doboks are also acceptable for non-Kung Fu schools.  Street shoes are not acceptable.


Only traditional martial arts styles are permitted.  This excludes contemporary wushu or any mixed martial arts.


All weapons must be able to hold their own weight when placed upon their tips.


Forms and sparring will be officiated by either three or five judges, depending upon availability.  Competitors and spectators must obey the judge’s commands. The judges’ decisions are not negotiable.


When called to perform, the competitor will approach the center of the ring, bow to the head judge, and wait for permission to begin. Upon acknowledgement by the head judge, the competitor will move to an appropriate place in the ring to begin his/her form.  Upon completing the form, the competitor must once again come to attention and salute the head judge, wait for his/her scores, then perform one final bow toward the head judge and exit the ring. If a division is large, judges may have the first three competitors perform before any scores are given.


During forms performances, competitors will be judged in several areas.  Competitors should have good balance. Competitors should show explosive power, understanding of technique applications, and fighting spirit.  Competitors should show good body mechanics and synchronization by producing power from the core and hips, not just the limbs. Competitors should show precision, demonstrating clean lines, punches and kicks that return to chamber, tight fists, and proper hand and foot positions.  Punches and kicks should be fast and precise. Points will be deducted if a competitor stumbles or falls. Points will be deducted for lazy performances, obvious forgetfulness, ending the form in the wrong location or facing the wrong direction, or any disrespectful behavior shown towards other competitors, spectators, or judges.


Both feet must remain in contact with the floor at all times. The 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. 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.  The objective of the match is to uproot the opposing player while maintaining one’s own root using Tai Chi principles. 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, and 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.  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. 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 are all valid.  Contact is permitted between the hips and collarbone. 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.  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, percussive contact (makes a sound), charging, joint locks, and ignoring the judges’ directions are not permitted. Excessive and/or dangerous use of force, accumulation of 3 warnings, or unsportsmanlike conduct by competitors or instructors is not permitted.  Excessive and/or dangerous use of force, accumulation of 3 warnings, or unsportsmanlike conduct by competitors or instructors may result in disqualification.


Helmets, mouth guards, cups, gloves, and boots are mandatory.  Shin guards are recommended. All matches are single elimination 1 minute rounds of running time for teens and adults, and 30 seconds for children and juniors. The time is stopped for injuries, re-entering the ring, 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 2 out of the 3 rounds wins the match. In case of a tie after 3 rounds, there will be a final 1 minute round to determine a winner; if still tied after this round, the winner is determined by the head judge.  Competitors enter the ring when the head judge calls their names. The competitors bow to the head judge and to each other to show respect and goodwill. Legal targets include light contact to the front and sides of the torso, light contact to the side of the head, and light contact to the upper thigh. Attacks targeting the face, back, groin, or knees are illegal, and any contact to these areas will result in warnings or  disqualification at the discretion of the judges. Competitors may throw sharp, clean punches and kicks, and execute lead leg sweeps. Elbows, knees, spinning backfists, rear leg sweeps, blind techniques, joint locks, and any attack targeting the face, back, groin, or knees is illegal. Exiting the ring, using illegal techniques or striking illegal targets, or ignoring the head judge’s commands will result in a warning. Excessive use of force, any strike that causes bleeding, accumulation of 3 warnings, or unsportsmanlike/disrespectful conduct from a competitor or parent will result in disqualification at the discretion of the judges.


Medals are awarded to the three highest-scoring competitors in each division immediately following the division’s completion.  In the event of a tie, the judges will either have the competitors perform again or decide amongst themselves which competitor performed better.