Hapkido Self-Defense Rules

Hapkido Self Defense – Modified Rules for Tigerbalm Internationals Competition:

The self defense demonstration consists of pairs or groups of competitors (up to 4 persons) performing self defense techniques of their choosing. The competitors may have all attack/defense techniques be performed by one of the competitors, or they may alternate who attacks and who defends. However, only one competitor will register to receive scoring.

Defense against weapons is also included in this competition without extra credit for the use of weapons.

A time limit of 3 minutes applies to all demonstrations. Time begins after the lead competitor addresses the judges and receives permission to begin, or when the second competitor enters the ring. A penalty will be deducted for each 10 second period that a demonstration exceeds the 3 minute time limit.

This division will be judged in a similar manner to SKITA rules for forms divisions and competitors will be evaluated on artful and effective technique, speed, rooting, and skill. The purpose of this demonstration is to evaluate the competitors’ ability to select an appropriate defensive technique for the attack attempted, and to effectively execute the defensive technique so that the attacker is rendered harmless, as well as the safe falling technique of the attacker. The defender should not use flashy or ostentatious techniques that add nothing to the effectiveness of the defense. Rather, the defender should seek to end the attack using techniques that are practical, efficient and feasible for use in real self defense situations.

Scoring will be based upon:

  1. Accuracy of Techniques. Accurate application of techniques to control opponent(s).
  2. Fluidity and effective demonstration of techniques. Creative application of techniques.
  • Balance, Speed and Power. Accurate and quick movements that generate explosive power, while properly maintaining balance during artful demonstration.

A single technique may be continued into a second round of techniques. Acceptable techniques for Hapkido Self Defense Demonstration Category

  1. Wrist Grabs,
  2. Clothing Grabs,
  3. Defensive Punching,
  4. Defensive Kicking,
  5. Defensive Throwing
  6. Attacking Techniques,
  7. Restraining Techniques,
  8. Rope Techniques,
  9. Sword Techniques,
  10. Staff Techniques,
  11. Cane Techniques,
  12. Special Kicking,
  13. Falling,
  14. Sword Techniques.


All junior matches consists of one 3 minute round and all adult matches consist of one 5 minute round which can be won by a tap, decision or disqualification. All matches will be judges by three officials who will evaluate the competitors and award the win to the competitor who dominates the majority of the action.

Competitors must wear tight fitting, clean board shorts and T-shirt or rash guard all in good conditions. Attire with inappropriate language or imagery is not acceptable. All competitors must only wear the approved MMA gloves provided by us. You must bring your own headgear, shin and instep pads and mouth guard. Groin cups are mandatory for all male competitors. All headgear has to fit properly. If you shake your head hard and your gear moves you should either replace it or tape it since you will wear the headgear at all times during the match.

The referee has also the right to restart a fight standing for prolonged inactivity. In the event of an injury, a player will have 5 minutes to resume competition or be disqualified. Medical personnel will have the final say as to whether a player may continue.

The referee has the discretion to stop the fight at any time when he thinks that

  • a competitor uses any of the illegal techniques listed below. The referee has the discretion to give the competitor one warning or to disqualify him/her right away
  • a competitor is not protecting himself properly and/or is in a submission hold that may put his/her health at risk in any way
  • a competitor and/or his coach acts in an unsportsmanlike fashion and/or tries to seriously hurt his opponent. This competitor will be disqualified.

Illegal techniques include:

  • strikes or kick in the face below the eye brows
  • kicks to the head
  • no punches to the head when in the 3-point position or on the ground in all Kids (12 and under) divisions
  • strikes or kicks against the back of the head or any joint
  • strikes or kicks against the groin or spine
  • elbow or knee strikes
  • kicks to the body when one opponent is in the three point position or any other position on the ground
  • leg attacks other than straight foot locks
  • neck cranks with no arm going across the throat
  • finger or toe locks
  • eye gouging, head butts, fish hooking or biting
  • Scissor and Surplex throws or any other throw onto the head
  • slam from the guard that involves lifting the opponent past a horizontal position
  • pressure point techniques
  • wrist, biceps or calf locks
  • leaving the mat area to avoid the fight or a submission attempt.

Note: All Junior MMA divisions will have a 20lbs weight difference limit. If a competitor out-weights his division average by more than 20lbs than he/she has to move up one division regardless of age to reduce the chance of injury.