Tournament Guidelines


IGX tournaments are dedicated to exploring both historical martial traditions and modern administrative innovations, and studying how to combine them for best practical use.  This year includes several components that make this year a notably complex organizational undertaking.  PLEASE READ BELOW to familiarize yourself with the overall expectations of IGX!


While we expect all competitors to show good sportsmanship at all times, we also understand and expect that the priority for competitors is to focus on winning.  Likewise, the ultimate responsibility for maintaining a safe competitive environment falls on the shoulders of the IGX Tournament Staff.  To aid in these efforts, please note the following regulations and recommendations:

A. 3-tier penalty system: all events at IGX will use a standard 3-tier penalty system, enforced by the Referee.  The referee will call a penalty if he sees an illegal technique or other unsafe or unsportsmanlike behavior.  The 3 tiers are as follows:

  • 1st tier: a warning, no point penalty – typically for accidental/incidental offenses.
  • 2nd tier: an appropriate point penalty – typically for repeated/intentional offenses.
  • 3rd tier: expulsion from the bout, tournament, or event as appropriate – typically for egregious offenses including injuring the opponent maliciously.  If you injure an opponent to the point of withdrawal in the course of a bout, that is a potential 3rd-tier offense and you can expect the Referee to respond accordingly.

You do not need to progress to a 2nd tier penalty if there has been a 1st tier – that is up to the Referee and there can be multiple 1st tier and 2nd tier calls in a given bout.  (Preferably there should be none.)  If any penalties have been called, Judges should take these into serious consideration if awards for Technical Excellence are being considered.

B. Excessive hits and unsafe fighting: to be clear, striking an opponent with significant force IS allowed, and even encouraged as part of a fighters “game”.  It is up to the Judges and ultimately Referee to monitor power levels and assess when force is excessive.  Timely communication between Tournament Staff and fighters is KEY – it is much more difficult to resolve a problem after the fact than addressing it immediately, or preferably preventing it during escalation.  To help make sure communication channels remain open, the following are recommended Best Practices:

Have a coach: the mind of a fighter in tournament is often very narrowly focused, and the advantages of having a coach to broaden that view and keep things in perspective is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.  Even if you are attending the tournament “alone”, we encourage you to make a friend and simply have them in your corner during bouts.  One obvious purpose for the coach is to help give tactical feedback before, during, and after bouts.  Another equally important potential function is to watch for inappropriate behavior and bring it to the attention of the Tournament Staff.  In any instance where inappropriate behavior is suspected, the fighter and/or coach are encouraged to immediately notify the Table Admins for Time Out and discuss the issue with the Referee.

Referee and Judge Safety protocols: if at ANY time the Judges or Referee suspect there might be excessive force or unsafe fighting, they are expected to halt the action IMMEDIATELY.  Once halted, the following protocol should be observed by the Referee:

  • Referee approaches fighter that is potential subject of excessive force/unsafe fighting
  • Question 1: “Are you OK”?  Assess if there is injury.
  • Question 2: “Do you feel this is excessive or you are in danger of being injured?”  Assess if there is risk of future injury.
  • Referee approaches fighter that is potential party responsible for excessive force/unsafe fighting.  Assess legitimacy of excessive force or unsafe fighting.
  • From assessments, give feedback to fighters and coaches, apply penalties as appropriate.

C. Equipment requirements: see the latest equipment requirements here.