Breaking The Rules

Here are the compiled rules of Banned and Illegal Techniques in Combat Sports.


I’ve compiled a list of fouls from a variety of combat sports. This is also a list of great techniques and strategies usable for a foundation in Martial Arts. Now, there is a lot of overlap here so I’ve attributed the technique/foul/penalty to the sports where I found it.


Hitting Below The Belt. (Boxing, Tournament Karate/Tae Kwon Do.)

Groin Strikes. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, various Olympic sports).

Holding. Includes holding of shorts/gear/fence/ropes/mats. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Judo, Amateur Wrestling, TKD).

Tripping/Throws. (Boxing, Kickboxing, TKD).

Kicking. (Boxing, Amateur Wrestling)

Clinching/Holding. Hanging/Grabbing a person to prevent them from executing technique. (Boxing, Kickboxing, TKD)

Head-butting. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Judo, Amateur Wrestling)

Wrestling. (Boxing, Kickboxing).

Biting. (Cross-Platform)

Spitting. (Cross-Platform)

Pushing. (Boxing, Kickboxing).

Hitting With: shoulder, forearm, or elbow. (Boxing, some Kickboxing).

Open Hand. You cannot hit with an open glove, the inside of the glove, the wrist, the backhand, or the side of the hand. (Boxing, Kickboxing, Tournament Fighting).

Striking to the back, back of his head, neck (rabbit punch), or on the kidneys (kidney punch).  (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA)

Ducking so low that your head is below your opponent’s belt line. (Boxing)



Linear or thrusting kicks directed at knee (i.e. front kick, side kick, back kick). (Kick-boxing)

Eye-Gouging. Jabbing an opponent’s eye with the thumb of the glove. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Judo, Amateur Wrestling).

Strangulation/Striking to Throat. (Boxing, Kickboxing, Point-fighting, Judo, Amateur Wrestling)

Throws, leg sweeps, foot sweeps. (Boxing, Kickboxing, TKD)

Unsportsmanlike conduct including but not limited to spitting, cursing, talking, making rude sounds or obscene gestures. (Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, Amateur Wrestling).



The 12-6 elbow. Using a clock as a reference for the name of this move, the point of the elbow is driven straight downwards to its target. (MMA)

Kicking a downed opponent. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Judo, Amateur Wrestling).

Insertion of digits into orifices. Fishhooking (MMA, Amateur Wrestling)

Small joint manipulation. Fingers/Wrists. (MMA, Amateur Wrestling, Judo)

Clawing, pinching, twisting of flesh. (MMA, Amateur Wrestling, Judo)

“Spiking” See “Piledriver” (MMA, Amateur Wrestling)

Amateur Wrestling

Fleeing the mat. (Amateur Wrestling, Tournament Karate/TKD)

Passivity. (Boxing, Kickboxing, MMA, Judo, Amateur Wrestling).

Pulling hair, ears, or genitals. (MMA, Amateur Wrestling)

No Submissions (Amateur Wrestling)

No punching, kicking, strangle, fracture or dislocate arms and legs. (Judo, Amateur Wrestling)

Walking on the feet of opponents (Amateur Wrestling)

Touch their faces between the eyebrows and the line of the mouth. (Judo, Amateur Wrestling)

It is forbidden to force elbows or knees into the chest or stomach of opponents. (Amateur Wrestling)

Throat hold. (Amateur Wrestling)

Twisting of arms more than 90 degrees. (Amateur Wrestling)

Holding the head or neck with two hands. (Amateur Wrestling)

Double Nelson, if not executed from the side without the use of the legs on any part of the opponent’s

body. (Amateur Wrestling)

Gathering arms from above by the forearm (Amateur Wrestling)

Headlock on the neck only with both hands. (Amateur Wrestling)

Double headlock (full nelson) unless executed from the side without using legs on any part of the opponent’s body. (Amateur Wrestling)

Chicken Wing (Amateur Wrestling)

Holds stretching the backbone of the opponent. (Amateur Wrestling)

Slamming from with opponent in bridge position. (Amateur Wrestling)

Breaking the bridge by pushing in the direction of the head. (Amateur Wrestling)


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