AHA Tournament Full Rules

Australian Hapkido Association Tournament Rules


The aim of the tournament is to promote the spirit of Hapkido and to provide association members with the opportunity to meet and participate with people from other dojangs. All students are encouraged to participate. Participation will challenge students and allow them to set goals, focus their training and improve their techniques.

There are four events

  • Patterns and Self-defence drills – open to yellow belts and up to 3rd dan
  • Falling (long cat rolls) – open to green belts and up to 3rd dan only
  • Self-defence routines – open to yellow belts and up to 3rd dan
  • Sparring – open to yellow belts and up to 3rd dan


An AHA Travel Allowance is available for contestants who need to travel a long distance to the tournament e.g. more than 2 hours. Instructors requiring a Travel Allowance for their students must contact the AHA Tournament Coordinator, Ronald Rees, to discuss their details.

General Rules

1.         Contestants must be current members of the Australian Hapkido Association (the AHA).

2.         The Tournament Entry Form cannot be accepted unless signed and accompanied by the $25 entry fee. Contestants under 18 must have the form signed by their parent or legal guardian.

Note: for legal reasons the signature of an instructor or black belt is NOT acceptable – unless the instructor/black belt is also the legal guardian of the minor competitor.

3.         Competitors MUST be of a high enough belt level to compete in a particular event. If a competitor does not meet the minimum belt level requirement for an event, they will NOT be permitted to compete in that event.

4.         Contestant’s height and weight must be verified by their instructor or another black belt.

5.         Contestants must wear a neat uniform, have clean hands and feet and trimmed nails to avoid injury. Suitable martial art shoes (i.e. no ‘hard’ or ‘sharp’ edges) may be worn provided they are approved by the AHA.

6.         Watches, jewellery, spectacles and inappropriate footwear are not permitted in the competition areas. Jewellery that cannot be removed must be taped over. Rings with raised settings MUST be removed – if it cannot be removed alternatives should be discussed with the tournament organisers PRIOR to competing.

7.         It is the competitor’s responsibility to know the rules and to be ready for competition when called to do so. They must be suitably attired, weighed-in, and at the appropriate ring when competition begins. Three (3) calls will be made for competition at ringside, a first call, a second call, and a final call. If a competitor leaves a ring after the ring competition begins and is not present when their name is called to compete, their name will be called 3 times at ringside. If they are still not present to compete on the third call, they will be disqualified.

8.         Any disputes should be addressed to the Technical Director as quickly as possible to allow corrective action to be taken if required (see point 12 Queries/protests below).

9.         Five officials are preferable in all non-sparring divisions, (numbers permitting), with at least three officials being the minimum required. Three officials are required in all sparring divisions.

10.      All contestants must abide by the Australian Hapkido Association decisions, which will be final.

11.      The tournament rules are based on the Australian Hapkido Association’s Referee and Judging Handbook.

12.      Queries/protests:

a.         If an instructor believes their student has been disadvantaged by a referee’s or judge’s decision, the instructor should approach the Technical Director immediately. The Technical Director will listen to all parties involved and make a final decision which all parties must abide by.

b.         If a student believes they have been disadvantaged by a referee’s or judge’s decision, they should discuss the issue with their instructor. The student’s instructor should then approach the Technical Director immediately. The Technical Director will listen to all parties involved and make a final decision which all parties must abide by.

c.         If a student’s instructor is not present at the tournament, the student may approach the Technical Director personally.

Break Falling

(long cat rolls)


1.         Break falling contestants will be judged on long cat-rolls: the longest, safest jump in each division.

2.         Cat-roll grade divisions

There are usually 4 divisions in Cat-roll: –


Starting distance*

Maximum distance*

1. Peewees (under 11’s)



2. Under 14’s



3. Men



4. Women



*these distances are measured in kick shields

3.         If numbers permit, each age/gender division will be further divided into three grade divisions: Junior (Green belt to Blue belt), Senior (Red tip to Black tip) and Black belt.

4.         Judging

a.         The judges will be sitting near the landing area. There will be 3 judges in total. At least 2 judges will be a Senior Black belt.

b.         The judges will be equipped with a bell and each judge will have a red flag.

c.         The judges will watch carefully and indicate a possible disqualification by raising a red flag.

  • If 3 flags are raised an official will strike the bell indicating a disqualification.
  • If 1 or 2 flags are raised the judges will confer and the bell will be struck if a disqualification is declared.

d.         A competitor can be disqualified if their fall is judged to be unsafe or they do not clear the distance cleanly. Note: to be judged as a clean jump, none of the objects being jumped (e.g. kick shields) should be disturbed by the competitor during their attempt.

In assessing safety the judges will watch each competitor for such things as:

  • landing too heavily
  • the competitor not facing the way they came, in L-stance, after landing
  • landing dangerously or out of control
  • insufficient height during the jump
  • head not turned away and therefore rolling straight along the spine

Patterns/Self-Defence Drills


1.         Coloured belts : there are 9 grade divisions for patterns and drills: i.e. all patterns and drills from yellow tip to black tip


2.         Black tips must do their drill, not the pattern.


3.         Black belts: 1st dans – Eagle Claw pattern; 2nd dans – 1st dan pole pattern; 3rd  dans – 2nd dan pole pattern.


NOTE: Contestants must do pattern/drill for their current belt level unless they have graded in the 4 weeks preceding the tournament. Contestants who have graded within the 4 weeks preceding the tournament may to the pattern/drill from their previous belt level.




a.     Competitors will be called to the side of the competition area in their belt divisions.

b.     Competitors within a belt division will be called onto the competition area one at a time to perform their pattern.

c.     On completion of the pattern the judges will hold up their scores. The scorekeeper will write down the scores, eliminate the highest and lowest score and tally the remaining 3 to produce a total score for each competitor.

d.     At the completion of each belt division the competitor with the highest score will be declared the winner.


Judges pay particular attention to the following:

1.     focus and eye contact (the competitor should be focused, aware of multiple attackers and turn their head appropriately)

2.     technique (the techniques must flow and demonstrate good form. Power should be delivered using correct relaxation and tension)

3.     kyup (should be assertive – confident,  loud and with intent)

4.     etiquette (before and after the performance)


a.     Competitors in each belt division will be divided into pairs, or in the case of black tips trios, at the judges’ discretion/direction.

b.     Only the competitor performing the defences will be scored.

c.     Pairs/trios will be called up one at a time to perform their drill.

d.     Each pair/trio will be told which partner is defending first. The competitor will then perform the drill twice – the first time is a warm-up, the second time will be scored.

e.     On completion of the second drill the 5 judges will hold up their scores. The scorekeeper will write down the scores, eliminate the highest and lowest score and tally the remaining 3 to produce a total score for each competitor.

f.     The competitors will then switch roles so the other partner can perform the drill. The first time is a warm-up, the second time will be scored, as described in (e).

g.     At the completion of each belt division the competitor with the highest score will be declared the winner.

Judges pay particular attention to the timing, effectiveness, quality and safety of the techniques performed.



Breaking ties:

In the event of a tie, the competitors will perform their pattern/drill again.


Where numbers require that children compete against adults, age will be taken into consideration for each individual competitor.


Self defence routines

1.         Self defence teams must consist of either 2 or 3 persons.

2.         Each contestant may be entered in one (1) self-defence team only.

3.         There are 3 grade divisions for self-defence: Junior (Yellow belt to Blue tip), Senior (Blue belt to Black tip) and Black belt (1st and 2nd dans).

4.         If a self defence team is made up of Junior and Senior students, the team will be entered in the Senior division.

5.         If a self defence team is made up of adult and youth students, the team will be entered in the adult division, unless the adult is acting as an ATTACKER ONLY.

6.         The routine must include a defense against a punch and a defense against a kick.

7.         Weapons can only be used in the Senior and Black belt division and should only include weapons taught up to/at the competitor’s belt level.

8.         Self defence routines should consist of skilful, well-timed and well-executed techniques against believable attacks.

9.         Self defence routines must not be simply choreographed sparring &/or weapons sparring demonstrations.

10.      Safety for team members, judges, fellow competitors and spectators must be paramount at all times.

11.      Teams must be ready to compete when called upon to do so.

12.      Time limit

a.         All teams have approximately 40 seconds to present their routine, up to a maximum of 45 seconds. The time starts once a team has entered the ring and completed its introductory bows.


c.         A warning bell will be struck at the 40 second mark. Contestants must stop within 5 seconds or another bell will sound (at the 45 second mark) and the team will be disqualified.

13.      Five (5) judges view the routine and award a score between 0 and 10. The highest and lowest scores are ignored and the remaining 3 scores are added to give a total for that routine.

14.      Judging criteria

Good points                                                                                             Bad points

1.         good coordination with opponent                                            1.         hesitation

2.         use of minimal effort and the opponent’s force                   2.         unnecessary use of strength

4.         effective and practical techniques                                           3.         impractical solutions

4.         good timing and skillful execution                                           4.         unrealistic attacks

5.         safety for each other                                                                  5.         potentially dangerous techniques

6.         a simple story line                                                                        6.         inappropriate techniques

e.g. irrelevant acrobatic techniques


Breaking ties:

In the event of a tie, the competitors will perform their self-defence routine again.




1.         Sparring contestants will be judged on continuous, non to light contact (except for throws and depending on division – see Contact section for particulars) controlled sparring in Novice, Junior, Senior and Black Belt divisions by age, weight and gender – as participation makes possible.

2.         Each competitor will be identified by a blue or red marker. This may be a scrunchie worn around the right upper arm or a ribbon tied to their own belt (usually at the side or at the rear) to help the judges indicate the winner at the end of the bout. If the headgear is clearly marked then red or blue markers are not required.

Sparring divisions

1.         There are 4 grade divisions for sparring: Novice (Yellow belt to Green tip), Junior (Green belt to Blue belt), Senior (Red tip to Black tip), Black belt (1st, 2nd and 3rd degrees).

2.         These grade divisions will be further divided into weight and/or gender divisions as numbers make possible. These weight divisions are estimates only. The actual weight divisions will be decided the day before the tournament and depend on the actual weight distribution of the competitors:

a.         Peewees – under 12 years (<27kg)

b.         Under 15 years (<55kg)

c.         Under 18 years

d.         Women

e.         Lightweight men (<65kg)

f.         Middleweight men (65-75kg)

g.         Heavyweight men (>75kg)

Duration of bouts

  1. 1.             Children –all rounds including finals – each bout consists of 2 round of 1½ minutes.

All other divisions – allrounds including finals – each bout consists of 1 round of 2 minutes.

2.         Each division will be run straight through to completion and medals presented at the end of each division.

3.         Once a competitor is called to a ring they must remain next to the ring until their bout.

4.         A competitor can be disqualified if they are not ready for their bout.

5.         All competitors in a division should remain next to the ring until the completion of their division or the referee for that ring advises them that they are no longer required. Do not wander off, nor assume that you have been eliminated – you may miss out on a chance at a medal!

Sparring Equipment – mandatory and optional

1.         All competitors in sparring are required to wear protective headgear including face shield (NOTES below).

Your own headgear can be used provided it is approved by the AHA. Headgear must be equipped with a cage, shield or other appropriate guard that protects the face to be considered for approval.


2.         Mouthguards are not permitted – this is due to the enclosed nature of the headgear.


3.         Groin guards are compulsory for males and optional for females (see NOTES below). Your own groin guard can be used provided it is approved by the AHA.


4.         The strapping of hands and the use of gloves is not permitted during sparring. Competitors must use their hands freely and demonstrate control.


5.         Martial arts shin guards may be worn, but not instep/foot guards. Martial arts shin guards are defined as those with a soft foam core that is either vinyl-dipped or covered in soft stretch fabric.


6.         Chest guards are not permitted for males but are optional for females.



  • Head gear and a small number of groin guards will be available at the tournament, but you are strongly encouraged to bring your own (especially groin guards) for comfort, convenience and hygiene. The headgear is cleaned at the end of each contest. A scarf tied correctly around your head can be worn under the headgear.
  • All other protective gear must be supplied by the competitor.




1.         Novice division – NO contact is permitted. Competitors can score by delivering a controlled, well focused strike approximately 5-10cm from the target.

2.         Junior, Senior and Black Belt divisions – light controlled contact is permitted. Competitors must not make any contact to the face area – i.e. the face shield/cage – but light controlled contact is allowed to the padded parts of the headgear.

3.         See Techniques section below for information on illegal and non-scoring techniques.

4.         Definition of contact

a.         Light contact:

When an opponent touches the opponent, there should only be slight or no penetration or visible movement of the opponent as a result of the contact. Light contact is allowed to all legal target areas except to the face.


  1. Excessive contact:

When an opponent strikes with a force in excess of what is necessary to score. A technique uses excessive force if a competitor’s head or body moves (jolts). The following will determine if excess contact has occurred:

  • Visible snapping back of a competitor’s head from the force of a strike.
  • The distortion or injury of the body from the force of a strike to the body
  • A knockdown of an opponent caused by excessive penetration.
  • A knockout of an opponent.
  • The appearance of severe swelling or bleeding if it is considered the fault of the attacker. Bleeding, however, does not necessarily imply excessive contact.


  1. Illegal techniques
  • Kicking the groin; front of legs, knees and hands are illegal. Any kicks to these areas will result in a warning. Kicking someone who has fallen is also illegal and will result in a warning.


  • Joint-lock throws are not permitted. NO throwing/sweeping/leg reaping is permitted in the Novice division.


  • Head butts; hair pulling; bites; scratches; eye attacks of any kind; any stomps or kicks to the head of a downed opponent; slapping; grappling (novices only); uncontrolled blind techniques; any uncontrolled throws, and any other uncontrolled dangerous techniques that are deemed unsafe by the AHA.


  1. Non-scoring techniques

Novice division:  Kicking and punching techniques that are delivered too far away from the target and techniques that are delivered without control and focus will not be scored.

Junior, Senior and Black Belt Divisions:  Kicking and punching techniques that fail to make LIGHT contact with the target and techniques that are delivered without control and focus will not be scored.


  1. Grabbing and throwing techniques (Green belt and up only)
A competitor may grab an upright opponent in an attempt to throw, sweep or take down for only a short period of time. If the grapple stalls or becomes potentially dangerous the referee will direct the opponents to release. Contestants must release the opponent if they are unable to apply the technique, or are instructed to do so by the referee.


What is looked for:

  • All throws must be controlled & safe.
  • Joint-lock throws are not permitted.
  • During a throw the opponent’s weight must be supported on the way down.




1.         Three judges (one at each corner) view the bout. At the end of the bout they each turn away from the ring and indicate which competitor they think won the bout by raising a red or blue flag.

2.         The referee in the ring awards the bout to the competitor with the most decisions in their favour. In the event of a draw a further round is fought.

3.         If there is a shortage of judges, three judges are permitted.

4.         What is looked for:

  • Credit is given to techniques with excellent timing, distance and control.
  • Extra credit is given to throws and skilful low-spinning heel kicks.
  • Timing. If a technique is too early or too late it will not score.
  • Distance. If a technique is too far away from its target it will not score. If a technique is jammed by the opponent moving in, it will not score either.
  • Control. No excessive force must be used. A technique uses excessive force if a competitor’s head or body moves (jolts).
  • Effectiveness. The technique must be aimed at a vulnerable legal target. The attacker must have their weight behind the technique.

5.         The bout will be interrupted if:

  • the timekeeper’s bell is sounded
  • an infringement has occurred and a warning is to be issued
  • the bout goes to the ground and has turned into a wrestling match
  • one of the competitors has attempted a low spinning heel kick and is in a vulnerable position
  • one of the competitors has been injured
  • one of the competitors is unable to protect themselves


1.         Warnings will be given by the referee to any competitor who:

a.         makes excessive or illegal contact

b.         uses illegal techniques

c.         stalls excessively

d.         deliberately strikes the opponent whilst they are on the ground (techniques may score but no contact is to be made in such a situation)

e.         is not prepared and ready for commencement of bout

f.         falls to the floor to avoid fighting

g.         continues to fight after being ordered to stop (i.e. continues after the referee’s command to break)

h.         uses unsighted, negligent or reckless attacks

i.          uses uncontrolled techniques

j.          steps entirely out of the ring i.e. out of bounds

  • A competitor is out-of-bounds as soon as they do not have at least one foot touching inside or on the boundary line. Stepping out-of-bounds does not immediately stop the match. The referee is the only one who can stop the match. An out-of-bounds competitor may be scored on by their opponent so long as the in-bounds competitor has at least one foot in bounds and the referee has not signalled to stop. In the event of a jumping/flying technique, the attacking competitor must land with one-foot in-bounds.
  • Stepping out of the ring whilst defending or avoiding attacks is not permitted.
  • Both feet must be out of the ring for a warning.
  • Disqualification can occur on the 3rd warning.
  • Being forced out of the ring will not warrant a warning.

2.         Unsportsmanlike conduct, disrespect, ill manners and/or abusive behaviour by the competitor or their coach, team mates, family, friends, etc., may cause the competitor’s disqualification.


How warnings are issued

1.         First warning:                        The warning will be explained (loudly so everyone can hear) and the offender will be told not to repeat the infringement.

2.         Second warning:                  The warning will be explained (loudly so everyone can hear). The offender will be warned that if the infringement is repeated, they will be disqualified.

3.         Third and final warning:    The warning will be explained (loudly so everyone can hear), and all the judges will be brought to the centre of the ring to discuss the case. If a majority of the judges agree then the offender will be disqualified and the bout awarded to the opponent. The referee cannot disqualify a competitor without consulting the judges.



Disqualification will occur on the 3rd warning.

If, in the opinion of the referee or medical personnel, a competitor is unable to continue because of an injury caused by an illegal attack executed by their opponent, the offending competitor shall be automatically disqualified.

If a competitor is injured and it is considered that they are responsible for their own injury, or no fault can be associated with the injury (i.e., ducking into a knee, butting heads, etc.), the opponent will not be penalized In the event a fighter is unable to continue because of a no-fault injury, the opponent will be declared the winner even if they are not ahead at the time of the injury.

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