Rules and Regulations on Sparring Competition

Article I


Section 1

The contest area or ring shall be not less than five (5) meters and not more than seven (7) meters square. The edges should be clearly marked with tape or a reasonable substitute. The ground shall be flat and smooth and made of wood, vinyl, or other suitable material. Mats can also be used. More than one ring can be used when the number of competitors warrants it.

Section 2

The bell, whistle, or other sound device must be sufficiently loud so that the officials and competitors can hear it. Verbal commands are acceptable if sufficiently loud. To avoid confusion, the same sound device should not be used in adjacent rings.

Article II


Section 1

The contest shall consist of three (3) rounds of one (1) minute each, with thirty (30) seconds rest in between rounds.

Section 2

Striking or target points shall be any part of the body above the knee except the groin and the neck. This includes the front and the sides of the thighs and body, both arms and hands, and the top, front and sides of the helmet. Hitting the back of the body is only allowed when the competitors are facing each other (i.e., through the use of curving strikes). Hitting the back of the head is not allowed, due to insufficient padding on the back of the helmet. Only two (2) consecutive strikes to the same target area are permitted.

Section 3

The match shall begin with the competitors standing two to three meters apart, facing the Referee. At the command of the Referee, the competitors will execute the formal salutation (yuko). The competitors then each other and repeat the salute. (The salutation of each competitor’s style may be used.)

After the salutations, the competitors shall assume the guard position with their sticks crossed. The contest begins when the Referee brings his stick up through the center of the crossed sticks, simultaneously issuing the command of “fight” (“laban” or “palo”).

Section 4

When the contest comes to an end, the competitors shall return to the original position, standing face to face. At the command of the Referee, they will salute each other, then the Referee. They then stand and await the decision.

Section 5

The timekeeper, using a bell or a whistle, shall indicate the end of a round or a match. As a substitute, a towel or similar item may be thrown into the ring in such a way that the Referee is alerted.

Section 6

Any hit or technique applied simultaneously with signal indicating the end of the round shall be judged as valid.

Section 7

Any strike or technique applied while either or both competitors have both feet outside the ring shall be judged as null and void. In this case, the competitors shall be directed to return to the center of the contest area and the Referee shall resume the match.

Section 8

Stick blows or other legal techniques executed while the competitors are in the ring shall be valid even if the opponent subsequently falls down or lands outside the perimeter of the ring.

Section 9

In the following cases, the Referee shall stop the match:

1. When either competitor goes outside the ring with both feet.

2. When a competitor commits any of the prohibited acts.

3. When the competitor is required to adjust his uniform or his protective equipment.

4. When a competitor is injured, or some accident or difficulty takes place.

5. When an olisi is split or broken, or otherwise becomes unusable.

If a competitor finds that his protective equipment requires adjustment, he/she must notify the Referee by raising both hands and backing up, but must not turn his/her back.

If a stoppage of the match results in a minimal time delay (i.e., a competitor stepping outside the ring), the clock will continue to run. If a substantial amount is time elapses, the clock should be stopped, and should resume when the Referee restarts the bout. The referee should indicate to the timekeeper that he/she wishes the time to be stopped and then again indicate when the time should be resumed.

Article III


Section 1

A panel of three (3) Judges shall decide the winner of the match. A Referee shall supervise the match but has no decision in the scoring. The Referee will be provided with an olisi to facilitate managing the match. A timekeeper will manage the rounds and the intermissions. An Arbitrator may be assigned to a ring or group of rings, who will have authority over the Referees.

The Tournament Director will be the highest authority.

Ring Arbitrator or the Tournament Director has the power to stop a contest at any time should he/she see fit, and also have the power to remove / replace any judge or

Referee at any time if it is felt those officials are not doing their job properly.

Section 2

The Judges shall take positions at the corners of the ring, and remain outside the perimeter.

Section 3

When the time limit for the match expires without either competitor having lost by a technical knockout (TKO), or a Referee stopped contest (RSC), the Referee shall require both competitors to return to the position taken at the start of the match. The Referee will then gather the scorecards, and verify that they have been filled out according to the rules. He shall return any invalid card to the owner and see that the mistake is corrected. The Referee will then hand the cards to the jury or announcer, and wait for the official decision to be announced. The competitors may not remove any of the protective gear except the head guard after the time limit has expired, in case an overtime round is necessary.

Section 4

A judgment of “draw” (“patas”) shall be made when neither competitor has been able to win the match according to the rules of scoring. In the event of a draw, the winner of the contest will be determined by a single extension round of one (1) minute.

Section 5

The following acts shall be prohibited:
1. Hitting when the opponent is down or in the act of rising, is unconscious, turns his back, or signals surrender.

2. Pushing or striking with any part of your body.

3. Deliberately going outside of the ring.

4. Adjusting the uniform or protective gear without the permission of the Referee.

5. Hitting while holding the opponent’s olisi.

6. Holding the opponent to avoid action.

7. Hitting the groin, neck, back of head, or any area below the thigh.

8. Any unsportsmanlike conduct causing embarrassment to an opponent, official, or the audience.

9. Thrusts, butt strikes (punyo), or two-handed strikes

10. Grappling, wrestling, or hooking.

11. Application of joint locks for any purpose, including disarming.

12. Application of throws or sweeps.

13. More than two consecutive strikes to the same target area.

14. Checking to the face.

15. Deliberately delaying the match in order to gain additional rest time.

16. Removing head gear or other protective equipment in between rounds. (Head gear may be lifted to the nose but not removed.)

17. Useless, aggressive, or offensive utterances during the match.

18. Failure to step back when ordered to break (buwag).

19. Striking or attempting to strike an opponent immediately after the Referee has ordered break (buwag).

20. The use or application of prohibited drugs such as steroids, stimulants, marijuana, opiates, etc.

21. Complete failure to use defensive tactics and maneuvers.

22. All other things that may be prejudicial to the spirit of Eskrima.

Section 6

Legitimate strikes or blows include cut or slash, wrist-snapping or flicking (witik, kurbada), abaniko (fan), etc. Thrusting, butting (punyo), and footsweeps have been legal in the past, but have been eliminated because the protective gear is presently not sufficient to allow these techniques to be used safely. Improvement in the protective equipment may result in the re-instatement of these techniques. Two-handed strikes are prohibited.

Section 7

Any competitor guilty of a prohibited act may be penalized by a reduction of points in scorecard or by disqualification. The Referee should follow the guidelines when enforcing prohibited acts:

1st infraction – Caution warning (usually verbal, within the flow of the match)

2nd infraction – official warning (match is stopped and Judges are notified)

3rd infraction – point deduction (match is stopped and Judges are notified)

4th infraction – {Referees Discretion} – 2nd point deduction (match is stopped and Judges are notified)

5th infraction – disqualification

In the case of blatant or malicious acts, the Referee can and should skip one or more of the steps.

Any competitor who loses by disqualification may be subject to additional penalization by WEKAF, including possible suspension from the next two (2) WEKAF events or more.

Article IV


Section 1

Scoring shall be on the basis of the following:
a) The competitor who scores more hits to the head, hands, and all other legitimate target areas.
b) The competitor who scores more powerful hits to the head, hands, and all other legitimate target areas.
c) Strikes that would end an actual confrontation (i.e., without protective gear) are given a higher value. (For example, blows to lethal areas such as the temple or eye, or extremely powerful blows to any area of the head.)
d) When a competitor loses his olisi (disarm or agaw) through other than foul means.
e) Use of defensive skills (blocking, checking, parrying, footwork, angling, slipping, ducking, sidestepping, etc.). It should be noted that use of defensive skills is mandatory, and the lack thereof can result in a penalty. The protective armor should not be viewed as an excuse to take repeated blows.

When a round is too close to call by these parameters, the following will be taken into consideration:

1. Variety of target areas.
2. Variety of techniques used.
3. Ring generalship/dictation of the action.
4. Accuracy of strikes.
5. The combination of offensive and defensive actions

Section 2

Scoring shall be done using the “10 point must” system. The winner of the round is always awarded 10 points (prior to deductions), while the loser receives anywhere from 9 to 7 points, depending one how decisively the round was won.

The “10 point must” system of scoring is applied as follows:
Even Round 10 – 10
Slight edge 10 – 9
Wide Edge 10 – 8
One Sided 10 – 7

Most reasonably competitive rounds are scored “10-9”. A “10-8” round is usually the result of one competitor dominating consistently for the entire round, or possibly a clean victory in addition to a disarm. A “10-7” round is very rare, and should only be scored when a competitor has his arms at his sides, is being hit constantly, and is almost unable to defend him/herself. It could also result from a round in which a competitor is disarmed several times.

The use of foul strikes, foul tactics, or other prohibited acts can result in a one-point penalty, at the discretion of the Referee’s. If a point is to be deducted, the Referee should stop the action and advise the Judges of the point to be deducted immediately after the commission of the foul. For each round, the Judge scores according the rules, then applies any deductions assigned by the Referee.

Section 3

Judgment for the winner of the match shall be made on the following conditions:

a) Win on Points
On completion of the three rounds of the match, each Judge will total the score on his card for each of the two competitors. The winner will be the competitor with the largest point total for three rounds. If the point totals are equal, the judge will score the match as a draw on his/her card.

The winner of the match will be determined according to the cards of the three (3) Judges as follows:
Unanimous decision 3-0-0
Majority Decision 2-0-1
Split Decision 2-1-0
Majority Draw 1-0-2
Draw 0-0-3
Draw 1-1-1

b) Win by Technical Knockout (TKO)

The contest is terminated and Judged a Technical Knockout (TKO) when:
i) An overwhelmingly one-sided match. If, in the opinion of the Referee, a competitor is totally outclassed or is receiving excessive punishment, the bout shall be stopped and the opponent will be declared the winner.

ii) Injury. If a fighter, in the opinion of the Referee, is unfit to continue because of injury or other physical reasons, the bout shall be stopped and the opponent will be declared the winner. The right to make the decision rests with the Referee, who may consult with the available qualified medical personnel. After consultation, the Referee must follow the medical advice. When medical personnel are called into the ring, only the medical person and the Referee shall be present inside the ring. The medical personnel have the right to request that the bout be stopped, if, for medical reasons, a competitor appears to be unfit to continue.

iii) A competitor’s refusal to continue or a voluntary surrender. If a competitor wishes to surrender, he/she must notify the Referee by raising both hands and backing up, but must not turn his/her back.

iv) Disarm. When a competitor is disarmed a total of three (3) times within the course of the match, a TKO results. It should be noted that the fourth (4th) round is considered as part of the match and therefore the three (3) disarm rule applies to all rounds, including the extension round, as the whole match.

c) Win by Disqualification

If a competitor is disqualified, his opponent shall be declared the winner. If both competitors are disqualified, the decision shall be announced accordingly. A disqualified competitor shall not be entitled to any prize, medal, or honorable award, relating to any stage of the competition in which he has been disqualified.

Any competitor who loses by disqualification may be subject to additional penalization by WEKAF, including possible suspension from two future WEKAF events or more.

d) No Contest

The Referee may terminate a match at any time due to events that are outside the control of the competitors, such as the ring becoming damaged or slippery, failure of the lighting system, etc. Under these conditions, the bout shall be declared “No Contest”. In this case, the Tournament Officials will decide the new course of action.

e) Win by Walkover or Default.

When a competitor presents himself in the ring fully attired for the match at the prescribed time, and his opponent fails to appear within three minutes after his name has been properly announced, the Referee shall declare the competitor who is present as the winner. The Referee shall first inform the Judges to mark their scorecards accordingly, collect them, and then summon the competitor to the center of the ring. He/She shall be announced as the winner.

Section 4

A competitor is “down” (“bagsak”) when any part of his body but his feet is on the floor.

Section 5

In the event that a competitor cannot continue the match because of injury, the result of the match shall be determined by the following conditions:

1. When the cause of the competitor’s injuries is by any means except a foul blow or technique, the injured shall be the loser.

2. When the cause of the competitor’s injuries is the result of a foul blow or technique, the opponent shall be the loser.

Section 6

A competitor is considered “disarmed” when:

1. A clean disarming technique is applied and the opponent’s olisi is taken from him. The disarming technique must be applied in two (2) seconds or less, and must not involve the locking of any joint.

2. A competitor loses control of the olisi and it hits the ground. If the olisi is lost, but is caught before it hits the ground, no disarm is scored.

The Referee determines whether the disarm is to be scored as valid by the Judges. He/she shall stop the match, and inform each judge of the decision, replace the lost olisi, and restart the match. A disarm is scored as a point deduction, and is weighed into the scoring.

Section 7

Judgment of a draw (patas) shall be made when a neither competitor has been able to win at least two (2) of the Judge’s cards. In this case, a single extension round is held, the winner of which will be the winner of the match. (The scoring of the first three rounds is now obsolete, with the exception of the points that have been deducted for foul play,
and the number of disarms that have occurred. For example, a third disarm which occurs in the overtime round still results in a TKO. Similarly, a disqualification can occur for an infraction for which points have already been deducted.) In the extension round, each Judge must determine a winner (i.e., a score of 10-10 is not allowed). This is done by a show of simultaneous show of hands on the call of the Referee.

Article V

Competitor’s Attire, Protective Equipment, and Weapons

Section 1

All competitors must use WEKAF approved equipment, as determined, by the Board of Directors. Equivalent equipment may be substituted with approval of the Tournament Director.

Each competitor shall be required to wear:

Regulation WEKAF headgear and body protector
Protective gloves (regulation WEKAF, hockey, lacrosse, or reasonable substitute)
Groin protector (male competitors only)

Optional recommended equipment includes:

Elbow and/or forearm pads
Mouth piece
Thigh pads
Athletic shoes
A plastic chest protector under the WEKAF Jacket (female competitors only)

Section 2

The olisi or stick shall have the following specifications:
Length shall be no more than 70 centimeters
Weight shall not be more than 200 grams
Diameter shall not be more than 2.6 centimeters

The tournament organizers will provide the competition olisi. A personal olisi can be substituted with prior approval of the Referee.

Section 3

Competitors must be clean and must wear normal Eskrima attire of loose t-shirt and trousers or a legitimate uniform.

The competitors must keep their fingernails and toe nails cut short and must not wear any articles such as rings, necklaces, or ornaments.

Hair shall be cut and/or tied in such a way that it does not interfere with the competitor’s vision. The first time a competitor’s hair interferes, it shall be corrected by the second. Subsequent problems shall result in warnings and point deductions, following the normal rules for prohibited acts.

Article VI

Section 1

Each competitor can only compete in one single stick division, one double stick division, and one team fighting division. Entering a weight class above one’s weight is permitted, but not below. Each sparring division will have a maximum of two competitors from each country. (The defending champion may be a third competitor from one country.)

Section 2

1. Bracketing of the competitors in each division shall be the responsibility of the Tournament Director and/or his appointees. This can be done drawing numbers, randomly selecting entry sheets, or other fair method. Adjustments can be made so competitors from the same club or country do not meet until the last possible level in the bracket.

2. All byes must occur in the first level in the bracket. (i.e., after completion of the 1st series of matches, the number of remaining competitors must be 1, 2, 4, 8, or 16. No competitor shall receive more than one bye under any circumstances.

3. No competitor can receive a bye in the first level of the bracket and a walkover in the second level. Similarly, no competitor may receive two successive walkovers in two successive levels of the bracket. If this occurs, a fresh draw shall be made of the remaining fighters to re-establish the bracket, which then proceeds in the normal way.

4. No “co-champions” shall be declared. Refusal to compete will be considered a disqualification.

Section 3

At local level tournaments, division should be created for Novice and Advanced participants. Novices have competed in less than two (2) WEKAF sanctioned events.