Adopted from Swordfish XIV Ringen Tournament Ruleset, written by Niklas Mårdby
The term Ringen refers to the Wrestling and unarmed Self-Defence techniques written about in the manuals and treatises of the 15th and 16th centuries. The techniques found in the manuals and treatises include throws, trips, locks, and pins upon the ground. Most of the wrestling that is used would be considered a style of Jacket wrestling. That is, clothing is involved in the wrestling techniques to give holds and leverage for the throws.
This tournament is focused on throws and trips. The tournament thus emphasizes getting your opponent to the ground and remaining standing. Locks and pins would add an element of risk that is not suitable for this tournament and are thus not a focus for the design of the rules.
This is a full contact event. Although fighters are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that will promote safety, risk of injury is still present. Fighters are expected to be in good health, able to fall without injury, and have experience wrestling at speed against a fully resisting opponent.
The Ringen tournament will consist of two phases: Elimination rounds and Finals.
Eliminations round matches will be fought until 7 exchanges has taken place or the 3-minute clock runs out. There will be no rounds and the clock will not be stopped during the match. The referee can stop the clock for gear failure, penalties or other reasonable reasons.
The exact format for the elimination rounds will depend on the number of participants in the weight class.
An exchange is up until the referee calls halt for when a scoring technique has been done or countered.
Each fighter will have a number of elimination round matches to determine if he/she will proceed to the finals.
Finals matches will follow the same format as the elimination round matches except one fighter will be eliminated by losing the match.
Weight classes will be announced closer to the event.
- A jacket that is designed for wrestling or fencing is required
- HEMA specific Ringen jackets are preferred
- Fencing Jackets will be accepted but the zippers must be taped down and positioned in a way that does not pose a risk to the opponent
- Gi will be accepted
- Sweatshirts, light clothing, etc are not acceptable for this tournament
- Athletic pants or shorts are required
- Pants with excessive pockets or zippers will not be allowed
- No shoes or socks will be worn during the competition
- Groin protection
- Soft protection for joints
- Ear protection
- Belt over jacket (must be a belt made for grappling such as a judo belt or similar)
Note: If a fighter’s equipment fails at any time during the match or does not meet equipment requirements, they will be granted 2 minutes to return to compliance. If a fighter is unable to repair or replace their gear within 2 minutes, they will forfeit the match.
Fighters are to show up to competition as clean as possible and may be disqualified at the tournament manager or referee’s discretion for any issues related to health or hygiene.
- The wrestling jacket must be clean, generally dry and without unpleasant odor
- The nails of the feet and hands must be cut short
- The personal hygiene of the contestant must be of a high standard. Long hair must be tied up so as to avoid causing any inconvenience to the other contestant. Hair must be tied by means of a hair band made of rubber or similar material and be void of any rigid or metal components. The head may not be covered except for bandaging of a medical nature.
There are three levels of penalties with differing results:
- First Warning – Noted by scorekeeper
- Second Warning – Point awarded to opponent
- Third Warning – Disqualified from match with opponent being awarded the win.
Forbidden techniques and actions
These techniques will cause the fighter to be given a penalty. Depending upon the severity of the infringement it is possible to be disqualified immediately.
Should the infringement be serious enough it is possible to be not only disqualified from the match but also from the rest of the tournament.
Forbidden techniques include but are not limited to:
- Striking of any kind
- Use of pressure points
- Biting, scratching or poking
- Gouging of the eyes or sensitive areas
- Joint manipulation or submission attempts
- Intentionally throwing an opponent onto their head or neck
- The use of any technique to deliberately injure one’s opponent
Actions that can cause a penalty to be given include but are not limited to:
- A fighter may be penalized for stalling if exhibiting overly defensive behavior with no offensive action or being asked 3 times by the referee to return to his starting position after a throw. If a fighter is called for stalling the referee will give them a warning. Additionally, the referee can stop the match at any point and reset fighters to prevent stalemate.
- If a fighter deliberately runs out of the competition area to either prevent a technique from their opponent, or to waste time then the referee will give them a warning.
- Pushing your opponent out of the competition area deliberately may be viewed as a penalty at the discretion of the referee.
- Should both fighters simply be skirting the edge of the competition area the referee will either have both fighters move back into the area, or recenter them.
These are not forbidden techniques but rather techniques that will not score for the throwing fighter.
- Failure to establish dominance: If both fighters fall to the ground and neither has established clear dominance the action may be scored or be thrown out at the referee’s discretion. The referee may give a B point score for an off-balancing technique at their discretion.
- Throw begins out of bounds: If a fighter steps outside the competition area and then starts a valid throw which successfully lands then the throw will not score. All scoring techniques must begin inside the competition area.
- One knee touches the ground before or during a technique. A kneeling fighter may still be attacked by their opponent.
- A throw is defined as any technique that forces an opponent to touch the ground with any part of the body above the knees (with the exception of the hands).
- If a fighter is driven to both knees and at least one hand is also touching the ground (three points of contact) this is also considered a throw.
- Sacrifice throws are throws in which a fighter intentionally falls backwards or to the side in order to take down their opponent. A fighter can score with a sacrifice throw as long as they end the technique in a dominant position. Failure to establish a dominant position with a sacrifice throw or failure to complete the throw will result in a throw for the opponent.
- The referee will wait until the throw has been completed before deciding the score.
- A fighter may go down with the opponent in the course of a technique, but they must remain in a dominant position for the technique to score. At any point during a match a fighter may yield to their opponent by yelling “stop”, “halt”, or tap out. If a fighter yields his opponent will be awarded a throw assuming no rules were violated.
Dominant positions include
- Belly to belly
- Top fighter side to bottom fighter belly
- Top fighter back to bottom fighter belly
This requires an added dimension of the top fighter also controlling the bottom fighter with their arms or legs.
If a fighter follows their opponent to the ground, the opponent may score a throw by using or adding to the momentum of the throw to gain dominance. This is called a reversal.
- If a technique is successfully reversed it will be rewarded to the opponent.
- A reversal must take place within the initial throwing action.
- Scrambling for control once a throw has been completed will not count as a reversal.
- Each match will be 3 minutes long or 7 exchanges.
- Time will stop only on time outs called by referee.
- Scoring will not stop the timer.
Time outs will only be called in the following cases:
- Equipment failure
- Wrestlers end up off the area
- Penalties being given
- Referee discretion
- Injuries will be given two minutes rest to ascertain if the fighter can continue.
- Equipment failure will be given two minutes to change or repair the item of clothing.
Conduct of a Match
- The scorekeeper will announce the immediately scheduled competitors as well as the names of those competing in the following match.
- Each fighter will enter the mat, dressed to compete. Fighters will be called to the center to shake hands, and then take their positions at the starting markers. Fighters are expected to be on their guard and ready to wrestle at all times when on the mat. Only the referee and two fighters will be allowed within the arena during each match.
- The referee will signal to the fighters, and scorekeeper that the match is about to begin. The referee will call “Fight” to signal that the match has begun, and the scorekeeper will start the clock.
- Fighters will then begin the match at the referee’s signal.
Upon witnessing a valid technique, ring out, illegal action, or a
downed fighter the referee will call “halt” and separate the
- Both fighters will immediately return to their starting positions
- The referee will communicate the score, or penalty to the scorekeeper who will record the result.
- The referee will immediately signal to the fighters to continue.
- In the case of a ring-out the referee will reset fighters in the middle of the ring.
- The scorekeeper will indicate when the match is finished by calling “time”.
- The referee will summon the fighters to join him in the center the scorekeeper will announce the final score and the winner’s hand raised.
- Both fighters will then quickly exit the mat as the next match is announced.
Winning conditions of match: Fighter with most throws after 3 minutes or 7 exchanges.
- Fighter with most A throws
- Fighter with least penalties
If all above is even, the referee will decide the winner from the
- Most active fighter in general
- Most dominant fighter in control of the match
- Most amount of techniques attempted
Types of throw
A type throws
Technique must land opponent upon side or back
B type throws
Technique causes the opponent to do either of the following:
- Off balanced – three body parts touch the mat
- Land chest first on the ground
- Opponent reverses the throw upon landing on the mat. E.g. a roll over to dominant position. This must occur as a part of the same action as the original technique. If there is any break in the action the reversal does not count.
- Failed sacrifice throw
Fighters must act in a prudent and reasonable manner at all times in order to avoid injury to themselves, their opponents, tournament staff, and spectators. Any fighter who acts in an unsafe or malicious manner may be disqualified from further participation in the tournament at the discretion of the referee or tournament manager.
No fighter, coach, or spectator will enter the arena to assist with an injury unless called for by the referee or tournament manager.
An injured fighter will be allowed a 2-minute period to decide if he or she is well enough to continue. Medical staff can decide that the fighter is unfit to continue. If a fighter is not well enough to continue, the match is forfeited. A warning may be issued to the injured fighter’s opponent if the injury was caused by reckless, but not illegal or malicious, behavior.
In all cases of injury, the judges and tournament administrator will make an assessment as to whether the injury was inflicted maliciously. A fighter who injures his opponent intentionally will be disqualified from the tournament.
Injury inflicted on any other party (referee, judges, administrative staff, spectators) may result in disqualification, depending on the circumstances and at the discretion of the tournament manager.
- The referee starts and stops the fight, communicates with the fighters, ensures all participants are ready, controls safety in the ring, interprets the actions, and announces points for the scorekeeper.
- At no point during a match should anyone but scorekeeper or tournament manager speak to or otherwise communicate with the referee. Any fighter or coach who attempts to do so will receive a warning.
- The scorekeeper tracks the action of the match as reported by the referee, and updates the scoreboard for the match
- Only tournament staff may communicate directly with the scorekeeper during a match; any fighter or coach who attempts to do so will receive a warning
- Fighters or coaches may communicate with the scorekeeper during a break to ascertain match order
- There will be two wrestlers for every match
- No more than two wrestlers are allowed on the mat at a time
- Fighters must report to the mat when called
- Any fighter called to the mat three times in a three-minute period without reporting will forfeit the match
- Each fighter may be attended by one coach
- The coach can give their fighter advice throughout the match
- The coach can be a fighter in the tournament
- If the coach is too loud and interfering with the match, they will be given a warning by the referee. Two such warnings will see the coach being disqualified from the tournament. They will not be allowed to be next to the competition area for the rest of the event.
- The coach may enter the mat if invited by the referee but must otherwise stay outside of the ring and may not interfere with the referee, other fighters, or any tournament staff.