Wretling Rules Swordfish 2015

The present rule-set intends to create a competitive environment marked by sportsmanship, historically correct wrestling, safety and fun. The competition will be run with pools followed by fights for third place and finals. The minimum number of participants in a weight class is 5. There will be three weight classes: lightweight (up to 70 kg), welterweight (up to 77 kg) and middleweight (up to 84 kg). Each match will be best of three two-minute rounds.

Points are roughly scored as follows (see section “How to win and score” for details): 3p if you stand up while your opponents upper body is on the ground, 2p if your opponents upper body remains on the ground while you rise up from a similar position, 1p for pinning the torso of your opponent to the ground during the referees count to ten. People on and off the mat – staff, audience as well as wrestlers, coaches and assistants are expected to at all times, behave themselves and to show temperance.

The general aim of the rule-set and the relation between the referee and the rules

The general purpose of these rules is to contribute to a wrestling format that endorses historical techniques, rewards standing up, that is safe and beginner-friendly, that is easy to remember and that (needless to say) helps the referee to distinguish between winner and loser. However, we feel that it is important to note that the written rules are brought to life by the referee. Therefore, the referee will make his/her judgments based on the rules but put in the specific context of each situation, round or match.

Sometimes there will be “gray zone” situations where the referee has to make a call on whether for example a point is scored or not. Here, the referee’s call overrules the formalism of the rule set in the interest of the wrestling as a whole. We want wrestling bouts where clear situations make for clear calls. If the situation is not clear to the referee and thus in the gray zone he/she will let the wrestling commence until a clear enough score is present(ed). This even if in the middle of tumbling or rapid movements sometimes scoring positions and situations are present. They do not count until the referee say they do, despite how the rules are formulated.

It is thus the responsibility of the wrestler to present to the referee, clear situations of scoring while it is the responsibility of the referee to subjectively yet competently distinguish clear and unclear situations and to distribute points for the former and ignoring the latter. Our aim with these rules is that wrestlers are not supposed to win through technicalities but through clearly demonstrating to the referee superior skill in the art! Thus, to score points, be sure to present to the referee clear situations of points scoring according to the rules. If engaged in blurred, unsettled and unclear situations, be prepared to sometimes feel misjudged.

Order of business/competition policy

The competition will be in pools (probably 2 per weight class), and will be divided into three weight classes. There will be a chance to weigh-in on Thursday evening after 9pm. It will also be possible to weigh-in on Friday during the day. The exact times and locations will be announced on site. There will be three weight classes: lightweight (up to 70 kg), welterweight (up to 77 kg) and middleweight (up to 84 kg). There will be no separation of women and men in this competition.

The tournaments for the three weight classes will run separately, with the order to be announced on the day of the completion.

Before the tournament begins, the competitors will be informed of their respective weight class, and in which order they will compete. Before each match the tournament staff will call out the two wrestlers who are now competing, and who will compete in the match next (‘on deck’).

Those who are about to compete will be designated red or blue, and assigned a corner of the designated tournament area, and will remain there until the referee starts the match, and return to these positions promptly when a reset is announced.

Each match will be a best of three rounds, with two-minute rounds and with no breaks in between. In case of a two rounds to nothing result (2-0/0-2) a winner is declared and there will be no third round. If all three rounds end and there is no winner (since one was a draw and the competitors had each won one, 1-1(1), or all rounds were a draw 0-0(3)) then there will be a further two-minute sudden death round. If no winner is deduced after this round, the result will be recorded as a loss for both contestants. If this happens in the final or the bronze match there will be another sudden death round added until a winner is determined. Before each sudden death round there will be a 30 second break.


There will be a chance to weigh-in on Thursday evening after 9pm. It will also be possible to weigh-in on Friday during the day. The exact times and locations will be announced on site. The competitors are suggested to weigh-in in the clothes they will wrestle in, excluding any protective gear. It is allowed to wear less clothes during the weigh-in, but at least underwear.


The tournament staff will consist of one referee and one or two tournament manager(s). The referee is in charge of the tournament area, ‘the ring’, and it’s his/her duty to start and stop matches, to reset fights and hand out warnings in the event of misdemeanors.

The tournament manager will function as time keeper and score keeper, will call out who is competing and who is on deck, assign corners, and keep track of warnings. The tournament staff will give a ten second notice before the end of each round. The referee can call for a time out if needed, such as to check a suspected injury, the tournament manager will pause the round timer, and start it again when the referee restarts the match.

Competition area

The exact definition of the competition area will be explained by the organizers on-site.


On the upper body: A wrestling jacket made for historical wrestling, e.g. the “Wrestling and fencing jacket” from Fühlen Designs or equivalent (to be accepted by organizers on-site, if you feel unsure if your jacket will be accepted please contact the organizers beforehand). T-shirt or the like may be used underneath but is not mandatory. It will be possible to borrow some jackets on site, but they will get sweaty. Belts will not be used.

On the lower body: trousers of any length or fabric, may be worn as long as they are smooth and without zippers, pockets, loops or other details that would pose a threat of injury to your opponent or yourself. Grappling socks or the like is allowed but no shoes. Barefoot is preferred.

Mouth-piece and cup is recommended but optional.

Other clothing such as knee pads or the like are allowed after being cleared by the organizers.

The use of ointments, powders etc. that can affect the outcome is prohibited.

Body must be clean and tidy, nails on fingers and toes cut short, rings, necklaces and piercings removed or taped enough not to pose a threat.

Clothes must be complete and clean.

Behaviour on and off the mat

Foul language, epithets or any other expression of contempt of or anger towards other participants is strictly prohibited! This applies to a competitor’s coach/assistant as well.

Referee has the right to warn and after repeated misbehavior disqualify a contestant using foul language or unsportsmanlike behavior.

Referee and staff have the right to expel any person present on or by the mat expressing foul language or unsportsmanlike behavior.

Medical conditions/Security

By the act of entering the competition you testify that, to the best of your knowledge, you are in no medical condition harmful to your opponent such as blood disease, skin disorder or other.

It’s your responsibility to inform the organizers of the event and the functionaries on the mat of any medical, physical or other conditions that might be threatening to yourself, such as allergies.

How to win and score

Victory in a round can be achieved by scoring 6 points before the opponent or by having the most points after 2 minutes, at which point the round ends. As a technique scoring point(s) is executed the referee will call “break” announce the point, reset the fighters and start the match. The clock will not be stopped.


Upper body: The upper body above the hips plus the behind.

Torso: The upper body above the hips minus the behind, the limbs, neck and head.

Standing: Carrying own bodyweight (or own bodyweight and weight of opponent) on your feet, with both feet firmly on the ground.

Scoring points:

3 points:

-Standing up with (some part of) the opponents upper body on the ground.

2 points:

-Rises to a standing position from having had the upper body on the ground with the opponent’s upper body still on the ground.

1 point:

-With control holds (some part of the front or back of) the opponents torso continuously on the ground during the referees count to ten. Should the hold be broken before the count is out, the referee will reset the wrestlers to a standing position and continue the match.

Forbidden techniques and fouls

To make it simple and clear: the referee has the power to rule conduct “unsportsmanlike” and penalize it, even if there is no clear rule against it, in case of a particularly imaginative foul. He/she also has discretion over the penalty for fouls, although they should be proportional to both the severity and intent of the foul, and whether any warning has already been given.

There will be no scratching, biting, eye gouging, pinching or any use of nails to cause pain or discomfort to your opponent.

No pressure to exposed or weak points of the body, like throat, nose, ears etc. Attacking your opponents face in any way, such as smothering or pressing the wrist bone, into the nose is not allowed. You are however allowed to put pressure over/on the face using your torso for example, if done with the purpose to pin or similar.

Locks or holds that go against the natural direction of joints, arms, neck, fingers, and legs (such as armbars, kneebars, joint locks etc) are all prohibited. Don’t even ask about neck or spinal cranks.

Choking is not allowed, neither by cutting blood supply to the brain or blocking the airways. Holds around the neck are allowed, as long as the application of the hold cannot be considered a choke, but part of a takedown or pin.

No kicking, punching or other forms of striking are allowed.

It is strictly prohibited to execute a takedown or throw without adequate control. Control needs to be exerted all the way through a throw. It is forbidden to intentionally throw your opponent in such a manner that they land on their head (“spiking” or “piledrivers”). It is not allowed to throw your opponent in such a fashion that they will land outside the mat, or on top of dangerous objects (such as your own knee). It is not allowed to slam them down with unreasonable or dangerous force, nor to land atop them with the same.

By, on purpose, leaving the designated tournament area (the mat) in a match repeatedly (three times) will result in disqualification. Warnings will be given each time. You are not allowed to push or drag your opponent outside the mat. Leaving the mat is defined as having no body contact with the mat whatsoever.

Passivity and stalling, such as backing away and refusing to engage with an opponent or deliberate slowness in returning to their corner and being ready following a reset, will become a foul and incur penalties after the referee has warned a competitor and they continue to engage in it.

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