Competition Rules World Martial Arts Games Committee

Grappling Divisions


  1. Officiating - The grappling arts can only be altered or modified to become a safe competitive sport if one important element becomes part and parcel of the sport itself. This foremost element is well trained officials. He/she must be thoroughly knowledgeable in understanding, interpreting and administering all aspects of the rules. This can only be accomplished through diligent study of the rule book and actual physical training under competition conditions. Officiating shall be considered a prestigious position and only those who have diligently studied and trained are to be considered and accepted as experts in the field of rule etiquette.
  2. Divisions:
    1. Gender - Each division will be divided into Male and Female categories, unless otherwise stated.
    2. Age Divisions - Age division will be as outlined in the individual event.
    3. Grade Divisions - Grade division will be as outlined in the individual event.
    4. Weight Divisions - All grappling division weights are based on the following table:
      Description Age Grouping Gender Weight Category ¹
      Junior Male All Belts ² 15 & Under Male Under 25kg
      25 to 29kg
      30 to 34kg
      35 to 39kg
      40 to 44kg
      45 to 49kg
      50 to 54kg
      55 to 59kg
      60 to 64kg
      65kg & Over
      Junior Female All Belts ² 15 & Under Female Under 25kg
      25 to 29kg
      30 to 34kg
      35 to 39kg
      40 to 44kg
      45 to 49kg
      50 to 54kg
      55 to 59kg
      60 to 64kg
      65kg & Over
      Intermediates 16 to 17 Male Under 55kg
      55 to 59kg
      60 to 64kg
      65 to 69kg
      70kg & Over
      Intermediates 16 to 17 Female Under 50kg
      50 to 54kg
      55 to 59kg
      60kg & Over
      Adult Male All Belts 18 & Over Male Under 65kg
      65 to 70kg
      71 to 77kg
      78 to 85kg
      86 to 95kg
      96kg and Over
      Adult Female All Belts 18 & Over Male Under 65kg
      65 to 70kg
      71 to 77kg
      78 to 85kg
      86 to 95kg
      96kg and Over
      ¹ Weight categories may be altered due to number of competitors or other circumstances. The final decision rests with the Tournament Director.
      ² Juniors Under 16 - In the event that there are not enough competitors to form a competition, competitors may be grouped into under 10kg groupings at the Tournament Directors discretion i.e. Under 30kg, 40kg, etc
      NOTE: The Tournament Director has the option to change and alter all divisions depending on the number of competitors in each division with the prior approval of the WMAGC.
  3. Weighing-in:
    1. Only contestants in keeping with the other qualifications shall be weighed in.
    2. The contestant will bring his/her passport to the weighing-in.
    3. The weighing-in of contestants is handled by the head registrar in collaboration with the arranging and recording group and under the supervision of the members from the Referees/Rules Commission.
    4. Contests shall be weighed only once before the whole competition or once on each day of competition, at the designated time and place. And the weighing-in of each contestant shall be completed within an hour. Contestants shall be bare of any clothing or only have their undergarments on when being weighed.
    5. The weighing-in on each day of competition shall be completed two hours before the start of the first unit of the day's competition.
    6. The weighing-in will start from the lighter weight categories. A contestant, whose weight does not conform to the requirements of the category and cannot make weight within the time limit of the weighing-in, shall not be allowed to compete.
  4. Scoring - Scoring will be as outlined under the individual event.


  1. Competition Description - The Grappling/Submission Division was designed with an open set of rules that will allow many different grappling styles to compete in the same event. The sport brings out a competitive side where the athlete demonstrates his/her physical & psychological conditions, techniques, and abilities with the objective of rendering his/her opponent into submission or by securing positional dominance.
  2. Divisions:
    1. Age Divisions
      Description Age Grouping
      Children 7 to 10
      Youth 11 to 13
      Junior 14 to 17
      Adult 18 to 25
      26 to 35
      36 to 45
      46 & Over
    2. Grade Divisions - Due to the diversification of a mixed martial arts event the following guide will serve as the basis for determining the appropriate grade division of an individual. Years of experience will be the common factor for determining a competitor's eligibility in an event. Competitors MUST wear the appropriate belt color regardless of color used in their specific art. For example, all Intermediate competitors must wear a blue belt.
      Description Martial Arts Years Experience WMAGC Belt Colour
      Intermediate Under 3 years experience Blue
      Advanced Over 3 and less than 6 years Brown
      Black Belt More than 6 years experience Black
    3. Weight Divisions - Weight divisions are as outlined above.
  3. Uniform - Each player must present him/herself suitably attired in a clean, traditional martial arts uniform (Gi or Kimono), constructed of cotton or similar material and in good condition. The material may not be excessively thick or hard to the point where it will obstruct the opponent. Colours may be black, white or blue. Other colours or combined colors will be allowed in keeping with the National Team Colours. A jujutsu or judo top is recommended. The jacket is to be of sufficient length down to the thighs, sleeves must reach the wrist with arms extended in front of the body. Belt width 4- 5cm, with colour corresponding to rank tied around the waist with a double knot, tight enough to secure the uniform closed. The uniform must be washed and dried with no unpleasant odours. Athletes are not permitted to compete with torn uniforms, sleeves or pants that are not of proper length or with t-shirts underneath the uniform (except in the female divisions). If a player's uniform becomes bloodied or torn in a manner that may affect the outcome of the match, he/she will be asked to replace it immediately or forfeit the match. Competitors with long hair must to use a plain hair tie. Toe and fingernails must be cut short and clean. All jewellery (rings, watches, necklaces, etc.) must be removed. Wearing of eye glasses during competition is prohibited. Competitors may be required to wear a coloured flag or belt during the actual match for identification purposes.
    Wrestling shoes or any type of shoes, head gear, and any type of protectors that can alter the outcome of the match in any way are not allowed in competition.
  4. Competition Area - The competition area will be as outlined above.
  5. Entering & Exiting the Contest Area - Competitors will be indicated as to the point which they are expected to enter, and may only enter or exit the area at this point. The Centre Referee will give the first athlete on the mat a green and yellow belt for identification and keep him on the right side, in case the athletes' uniforms are the same colours. The other athlete must remain on the left side, and after the compliments.

    Before the Competitors begin their match, the Central Referee will oversee that everything is correct; for example: the ring, equipment, uniforms, hygiene, officials, etc., and that the area is clear of obstruction.

    When satisfied that all is in order he/she will raise his/her hand to indicate to the competitors that they should begin when ready. At this point they should make their way to their starting positions.

    Before the start of each round, the contestants will bow to each other. The referee will start the match by saying "Begin"!

    When the result of the match is announced, the contestants exchange their positions. After the announcement, they bow to each other, and bow to the referee, then the officials on the platform with the referee and officials returning the bow. Then the contestants bow to each other's coaches, and the coaches return the bow. The contestants will then exit at the point designated for existing.
  6. Referees, Inspector, & Officials - Each contest will have a Centre Referee, an Inspector of the match, one Scorekeeper, and one Timekeeper to time the duration of each round. The match will be overseen the Centre Referee who will enforce the rules of the match. Medical personnel shall be available at all times and easily recognizable. During the match, the referee or persons at the scoring table are not allowed to converse with the competitors, this will be strictly enforced.
    1. Duties of the Centre Referee:
      The Centre referee is the highest authority on the mat and has the authority to disqualify competitors during the match. No one can overturn his decision. In special cases the Chief Referee of the event can review and overturn a referee's decision if the decision is unjust. In cases where a referee shows himself incapable to continue refereeing because of obvious mistakes, the Chief Referee has the authority to replace him.

      The Centre Referee does not keep score. The Centre Referee is charged with supervision of the match. He/she administers and controls the tempo of the contest, enforces the rules, and ensures fair play. To this end, he/she starts and stops the match, counts the 10 second holds, awards points and calls and enforces all penalties

      The referee shall communicate clearly with the scorekeeper and timekeeper, as well as announce the winner of each match. The referee shall announce in a loud clear voice all official decisions, and shall indicate with voice and gestures the player affected by his/her decisions.

      The Centre Referee is encouraged to give verbal commands throughout the competition where a penalty has not been called, such as "watch the contact, or, stay in bounds, etc."

      Only the centre referee may call time out. He/she must do so for the following reasons:
      a) To allow equipment adjustments.
      b) To award points, assess penalties, administer warnings.
      c) To attend to an injured competitor.
      d) To hear a legal protest.

      During the match the Centre Referee will continually be directing the competitors to the centre of the ring. In the event that the competitors move out of bounds during the match, the referee will call "OUTSIDE", and at the same time the referee will do the gesture according to the command, and the competitors must hold their position without movement. The same occurrence will happen when 2/3 of the competitor's body is outside the boundary. The referee may be assisted by another official in moving the athletes back to the centre of the ring. In case the referee and the other official are unable to move the athletes back to the centre of the ring, the athletes will be asked to walk back to the centre and continue from the same position.

      When the Timekeeper gives the signal that the match is over, the Centre Referee can give an advantage point to a competitor for attempting a submission or for attempting to establish a dominant position without maintaining for the required time, except for take- downs because athletes do not need to establish a dominant position to award points.

      In the event of a draw, the Centre Referee will decide who the winner is and his/her decision is absolute.

      Any and every situation that cannot be determined by the manual will be left up to the Centre Referee's discretion.
    2. Duties of the Match Inspector:
      The Match Inspector verifies before the match that the competitors' nails are trimmed, the uniform is correctly fitted, and assures that the colour and the state of the belt is appropriate for the competitor.

      During the match the Inspector will ensure that all official duties are executed according to the official rules of the Games. If the Inspector believes that there is an infringement of the rules, they have the authority to request a timeout in which they can confer with the Centre Referee.

      During the match the Centre Referee may seek the advice of the Match Inspector regarding any clarification of the rules.
    3. Duties of the Timekeeper:
      Timekeepers shall be seated adjacent to the competition area and shall stop and start time according to the referee's signal to do so. If for some reason the centre referee fails to call time out, the timekeeper should automatically stop time, and then restart time with the referee's signal, or when the match resumes.

      Timekeeper #1 is the official timekeeper. They shall, by verbal and visual signals, such as throwing a bean bag or suitable substitute into the centre of the competition area, inform the referee when time has run out, or when he/she has received a formal protest. Time officially runs out only when the centre referee calls the signal to stop.

    4. Duties of the Scorekeeper:
      There will be a scoreboard situated horizontally on the Officials table, easily visible by the Centre Referee and spectators.

      The Scorekeeper shall keep count of all points and penalties awarded to competitors, as instructed by the Centre Referee. He/she will maintain scores sheets and notes form the Centre Referee and call up each competitor, including those on deck.

      All the required score sheets, hand counters, stopwatches and necessary flags must be at the Official's table.
    5. Gestures:
      The central referee will make gestures indicated below, according with the actions. For all gestures made, the central referee will raise his hand indicating the athlete receiving the score with his armband in accordance with the colour of the athlete's coloured uniform or indicating belt.

      Take downs and sweeps: The referee will raise his hand indicating the scoring athlete's colour and the score of 2 or 3 points. 2 points will be scored if a takedown ends up in the opponent's guard. 3 points will be scored if the takedown or throw is executed and does not end up in the opponent's guard.

      Passing the guard: The referee will raise his hand indicating the scoring athlete's colour and the score of 3 points.

      Reversals from guard to mount: The referee will raise his arm above his head indicating the scoring athletes colour and the score of 3 points.

      Reversals from mount which ends up in opponent's guard: The referee will extend his arm to shoulder height and indicate the scoring athletes' colour and the score of 2 points.

      Back mount hooks / grapevine: The referee will raise his arm above his head indicating the scoring athletes colour and the score of 3 points.

      Pins/holds: The centre ref will call hold or pin and count the 10 second time when 75% of their opponents back have been pinned to the ground and award 2 points.

      Submission: Wins the bout.

      Penalties: The referee will stop the bout and inform the penalised competitor and table official of the infringement. An advantage will be given to the other competitor. (See below)

      Advantages: The referee signals advantages with arm extended sweeping outward on a horizontal plane level with the shoulder.

      For the interruption of the match: The referee opens his arms together on a horizontal plane level with the shoulder.

      For interruption of time during the match: The referee puts his hands one above the other forming a "T", signalling the timekeeper to stop the time.

      For disqualification: The referee lifts his arms and crosses them, after that, he points to the disqualified athlete.

      To take off a awarded point: The referee lifts the arm that he gave the point with and waves his hand.
  7. Safety of Competitors - It will be the Centre Referee's responsibility to ensure safety at all times of competitors. In all categories, the Centre Referee has the authority to stop a match when either of the competitors are in danger of serious bodily harm as a result of a submission and award the victory to the competitor applying the submission. He/She will take the advice of First Aid/Medical Personal present regarding the ability of any competitor to engage in/continue to compete.
  8. Time of Matches - See Article above
  9. Number of Rounds - There is only one round.
  10. Time Outs - Only the centre referee has the right to suspend a match once it has begun. He/She is required to call time whenever there has been an infringement of the rules. At this point, time will be held until the Centre Referee gives the command to match. He/She may also call time out at the request of one of the Officials, the coach, one of the competitors or another official. However, He/She must not allow the calling of time outs from any individual to adversely affect the outcome of the match.

    In the event a competitor fails to present to the competition area with all proper uniform, they will be given one minute to prepare themselves after which they will be disqualified from the division.
  11. Illegal Techniques - There will be no striking of any kind. No pressure points i.e. hands, knees or elbows on face area. No minor joint locks i.e. fingers and toes. No neck cranks or similar techniques that may injure the vertebrae and no clawing of the windpipe.
    Illegal Technique Illegal Technique for Division Marked By "X"
      Ages 7 to 13 Ages 14 to 15 Ages 16 to 17 Adult through Senior Underbelt Adult through Senior Black belt
    Striking X X X X X
    Facial Contact X X X X X
    Finger/Toe Locks X X X X X
    Spine Locks X X X X X
    Neck Cranks X X X X X
    Frontal Neck Crank X X X X X
    Heel Hook X X X X X
    Slam from the guard X X X X X
    Triangle Pulling the Head X X X X X
    Knee Lock with twisting X X X X X
    Cervical locks X X X X X
    Scissors Takedown X X X    
    Chokes X X      
    Submission techniques X X      
    Wrist Lock X X X    
    1. Cervical locks or neck cranks are not allowed in any category except for chokes in the juveniles or adult divisions. Competitors attempting a cervical lock will be immediately disqualified with no prior warnings.
    2. Ankle locks using the figure 4 method are allowed
    3. Leg locks without any pressure or twisting are allowed
    4. Applying any Lock or Choke in a manner that is not considered sportsmanlike, or is applied without control or with such force that could cause injury to the opponent is considered an illegal technique.
    5. Strictly no submissions for competitors under the age of 18.
  12. Match Conclusions - There is never a draw. Bouts will be decided by:
    1) Submission
    2) Disqualification
    3) Unconsciousness (to be avoided by referee's intervention) or pull out due to injury.
    4) Points
    5) Advantages
  13. Submission - Submission occurs when a technique forces an opponent into admitting defeat by:
    1) Tapping with the palm against his opponent or the floor in a visible manner
    2) Tapping with his feet on the ground (if he is unable to use his hands)
    3) Requesting verbally to the referee that the match be stopped (if he can neither tap with his hands or his feet)
    4) Requesting that the match be ended if the athlete gets injured or feel physically incapable or unprepared.
    5) The referee may end the match giving victory to the one that applied the lock if he sees a lock being properly applied and is certain that the Athlete is exposed to serious physical damage.
    6) A coach of one of the athletes may request that the match be ended either by directing himself to the referee or by throwing the towel into the ring for any reason.
    7) When an athlete is under a submission position and he calls "Ai", will be the same as if he taps. The referee may end the match when one of the athletes is injured or the doctor's examination proves he is incapable to continue. If this occurs, the victory will be given to the opponent as long as the injury was not caused intentionally by conduct worthy of disqualification.
  14. Disqualification - The Centre Referee may disqualify an athlete due to the occurrence of a serious infraction. Serious infractions are defined as follows:
    1) The use of foul language, cursing, or other immoral acts of disrespect towards the referee or any of the assisting public.
    2) Biting, hair pulling, putting fingers into the eyes or nose of one's opponent, intentionally seeking to injure genitalia or the use of fists, feet, knees, elbows, or heads with the intention to hurt or gain unfair advantage.
    3) When the competitor has his/her uniform ripped during the match, the referee will give him a set time to change it. If the competitor does not change it in time he will be disqualified.
    4) The competitor must wear shorts under the pants, keeping in mind the risk that the suit might get torn or unsowed, If this occurs, the athlete will be given a set time determined by the referee to find another pair of pants to wear. If the athlete can not change within the set time, he will be immediately disqualified.
    5) When an athlete has been submitted to a lock and to avoid tapping out he runs out of the ring, he will be immediately disqualified. In such cases when it is considered a technical foul, not a disciplinary foul, the offender may return to the competition to continue the absolute division or in case of a bracket of three.
    6) When the athlete breaks any rule of the above
    1. Escalation - An act of disqualification against a competitor may eliminate the competitor from further participation in that tournament. All disqualifications should be classified as Minor or Major. Details are as follows:
      1. Minor Disqualification: Will be for the existing contest only (providing there is double elimination or round robin).
      2. Major Disqualification: Will be for the balance of the tournament or a designated period of time, to be suggested by the involved ring referee and submitted to the tournament director and the governing body for that country or area.
  15. Unconsciousness - One of the 2 opponents is defeated after losing consciousness by any of the valid moves: strangling, pressuring, or take downs, or accidents in which the adversary has not committed any foul worthy of disqualification. This would only occur if there was no attempt to tap- out prior to the opponent losing consciousness. In all instances the Centre Referee will make sure that the safety of athletes comes first by recognising and preventing potential loss of consciousness.
  16. Points - The Centre Referee is empowered to award points, or penalize a competitor with a warning, loss of points or disqualification.
    1. Positive Points - The competition makes the athletes use their technical abilities to finish or neutralize their opponents. Positions are achieved through proper technique. If there is no submission at the end of a match, the athlete gains victory by scoring more position points than his opponent.
      Points Technique Description
      2 Opponent's 3rd Penalty Warning - On committing a third offence, the offender's opponent will be given two points.
      - See Article below
      2 Sweeps - Is defined when the athlete that is underneath has his opponent in his guard (in between his legs ) or the half guard (having one of his adversary's legs between his) and is able to get on top of his adversary by inverting his position, 3 points will be awarded.
      - It will not be considered a sweep if the move does not begin from inside the guard or half guard.
      2 Take Downs - Any kind of take down or throw by legal means that renders the opponent on his back or side.
      - Any takedown that ends up in the guard scores 2 points, clearing the guard scores 3 points.
      - The take down that lands outside of the competition area and on to the security area will be valid as long as the athlete that applied it stood with both feet in the competition area while making the take down.
      - When the athlete attempts the double leg and the opponent sits on the floor and executes a sweep, the athlete who attempted the takedown will not receive points, but the one who executed the sweep will.
      2 Pins/Holds - The centre ref will count the 10 second time when 75% of their opponents back has been pinned to the ground.
      - Hold broken will be called when the opponent has managed to escape with either 75% of their body out of the hold or pin or if a half guard has been achieved.
      2 Mount - The Mount is when the athlete sits on his opponent's torso with both knees down on either side.
      - The opponent can be lying on his stomach, side or back.
      - The one mounted can be on top of one of his opponent's arms, but never on both.
      - It will also be considered a mount if he/she has one knee and one foot on the ground.
      - No points will be awarded if his/her feet or knees are on the opponent's leg.
      - If an athlete applies a triangle while in the guard and in so doing lands mounted on the opponent, it will be considered a sweep, not a mount.
      3 Passing the Guard - Is when the athlete that is above his adversary or in between his legs, moves to his Opponent's side, establishing a perpendicular or longitudinal position over his adversary's trunk, dominating him and leaving him no space to move or to escape the position.
      - If the athlete that is underneath avoids the move by getting to his knees or standing up, the initiative will not be awarded 3 points but will be awarded an advantage.
      3 Back Grab /Hooks - The Back grab Is when the athlete grabs his adversary's back, taking hold of his neck and wrapping his legs around his opponent's waist, with his heels leaning on the inner side of his opponent's thighs, not allowing him to leave the position.
      - the points will not be awarded if both heels are not properly positioned on the inner part of the adversary's thighs.
      - It will also be considered a back grab, if the athlete has the leg over one arm of the opponent but never over both arms. In this case no points will be awarded.
      1. The athlete cannot score new points when he is in a position where he received points previously, changes position intentionally and returns to the same position.
      2. No points will be marked for the athlete who is attaining a position while in a submission. Points will only be awarded after the submission is completely defended. Example: When one athlete is mounted on his opponent but is in a guillotine the points of the mount will be awarded only when the submission is defended.
    2. Penalties - On the first offence the offender will be given a verbal warning. On the second offence the offender's opponent will be given an advantage. On the third offence the offender's opponent will be given two points. After the third offence the referee may disqualify the athlete for any further fouls.
      Penalty Offence Description
      Warnings Avoiding Combat - When either of the athletes run to one of the extremities of the ring to avoid engagement, or while on the ground, flee by crawling or rolling out of the ring or by standing up avoiding engaging or purposely stepping out of the ring to gain time.
      Warnings Avoiding Engagement - When the athlete avoids engaging by taking off his uniform or by allowing it to be taken off with the intention of stopping the match to allow him or herself rest or to avoid the attacks of his/her opponent.
      Warnings Kneeling - The athlete will only be allowed to kneel after having taken hold of his opponent's uniform.
      Warnings Stalling - When the athlete stalls the match, holding his adversary and, not seeking to engage or gain submissions when in the guard, on top, or on the bottom
      - Holding the opponent, standing up, or any position designed to stall.
      2 Points awarded to Opponent 3rd Warning - On the third offence the offender's opponent will be given two points.
      Disqualification After 3rd Warning - After the 3rd offence, the Referee has the authority to disqualify the athlete who has incurred additional fouls.
      Disqualification Excessive Force - A call for excessive force indicates that a referee saw a competitor using strength or force in excess of the force necessary to score a point.
      - Any throw, takedown, or submission hold delivered with malicious intent will be considered excessive force and may result in immediate disqualification.
      Disqualification Disrespect or Unsportsmanlike Conduct - The Centre Referee has the authority to immediately disqualify an athlete who displays disrespect or unsportsmanlike conduct.
  17. Advantages - It is considered an advantage when the athlete attempts but does not complete any of the fundamental moves of the match; i.e. sweep, take down, submission, etc:
    1. Advantages through takedowns - When there is a visible loss of balance in which the adversary nearly completes the takedown. A visible loss of balance during an attempted throw will also result in an advantage.
    2. Advantages during closed guard - When the athlete on the bottom has his legs wrapped around his opponent's waist:
      1) The one on top will earn the advantage by being on the offensive, trying to dominate his adversary's guard (pass the guard). For the referee to consider it an advantage, the athlete that is on top must come close to passing the guard, forcing his adversary to exert energy to regain position e.g. half guard, almost immobilizing, etc.
      2) The one underneath will earn the advantage if he almost sweeps his opponent, putting him in a dangerous position, as well as when he attempts a lock that forces his opponent to defend. NOTE: for the sweep attempt to be considered worthy of an advantage the athlete underneath must open his legs.
    3. Advantages from Submission Attempts: The one who has managed to get his opponent in either a submission or choke position and attempted to submit his or her opponent will be considered as an advantage.
    4. Ties - When there is a tie situation on the scoreboard, it is up to the referee to decide if he will award an advantage, using the following judgments:
      1) Advantages for initiative: An advantage will be awarded during standing engagement or on the ground if the athlete attempts a technique with more aggressiveness and initiative, trying takedowns , other finalizing moves during the match. Or showing that he dominates the match most of the time by putting the opponent on the defensive.
      2) Advantages through takedowns: When there is a visible loss of balance in which the adversary nearly completes the takedown. A visible loss of balance during an attempted throw will also result in an advantage.
      3) Advantages during ground engagement: Advantages will be awarded during ground engagement if the athlete attempts a technique and puts his adversary on the defensive.
  18. Description of Illegal Techniques
    All Categories
    1) No striking of any kind
    2) No hands, knees, forehead or elbows on face area
    3) No minor joint locks - i.e. Fingers or Toes
    4) No spine locks or neck cranks
    5) No frontal neck crank or similar technique which may injure the spine or vertebrae
    6) No heel hooks (Ankle locks using the figure 4 method)
    7) No slam from the guard
    8) No triangle pulling the head
    9) No knee locks (leg locks without any pressure or twisting of the knee are allowed)
    10) No application of any Lock or Choke in a manner that is not considered sportsmanlike, or with such force that may cause injury to your opponent.

    Under 16 Years of Age
    1) No submission techniques