top of page

Pankration Tournament Rules

Duration: 2 x 2 minute rounds

NOTE: General rules applicable to all tournament formats can be found here.

Pankration tournament competitions represent the epitome of our competitive format. It is defined by two competitors who exchange blows by using their hands, elbows, knees and feet (Ano Pankration). Holds, sweeps, trips and throws on the opponent’s body are permitted. On the ground, submission techniques and striking to the torso and legs are permitted (Kato Pankration). The application of pressure points to produce pain are allowed in certain areas. 

Each competitor must wear:

  • Shin guards covering their feet and shins

  • MMA gloves on their hands

  • A mouth-guard (even though strikes to the head are not permissible)

  • Groin guard (optional for female competitors)

  • Body protector (optional but may be imposed for cadets, teenagers and female adults)


All moves, techniques and actions must be executed with control and executed according to the following rules.

Strikes are considered successful if they are:

  • The dynamic application of action

  • Correct timing of performance

  • Constant tension, attention, dynamic stance of fighting position and concentration, before and after the application of the action

Points are awarded based on the following:

  • Successful strike with the hand or elbow to the body: 1-point

  • Successful strike with the leg to the thigh: 1-point

  • Successful strike with the foot or knee to the body: 2-points

  • Successful strike resulting in a knockdown: 3-points

  • An opponent is cleanly thrown by the attacker to the back, chest, abdomen, buttocks, waist or shoulder from above the waist height: 3 points

  • An opponent is cleanly thrown by the attacker, with a small range of movement and the opponent falls to his back, chest, belly, buttocks, waist or shoulders: 2-points

  • Throwing  from the "standing" position without raising the legs from mat, while the opponent falls on their back, sideways, chest, abdomen, buttocks, waist or shoulder: 1-point

  • Throwing  as a result of the defendant landing on their knees is not scored

  • A move which is not completed that ends up back in the standing position or if the attacker ends up on their back, chest, abdomen, buttocks or waist (a reversal) will result in 1-point being awarded to the defender

  • Pulling the opponent from an upper to lower position (as in the form of a jump guard) is punished by 1-point

  • If a competitor is thrown out of the competitive area then no points are given. There is also the possibility of a penalty if it is viewed as unsporting behaviour

  • Pushes do not score points. They are accepted only as methods of disengagement during action

  • Simultaneous successful actions, techniques, or moves from both competitors are not awarded any points.

  • In the case of simultaneous prolonged holds, the referee will break up the competitors and reset the starting position

  • ​A throw or a successful strike at the sound of the bell is considered valid

  • Holds or strikes outside of the competitive area are not valid and may result in a penalty

The lower (ground) position occurs when an athlete is seated, lying down, or with one or both knees on the ground.

Points may be scored on the ground as follows:

  • Accurate, concentrated strike with the hand to the body: 1-point

  • A strike with the knee or elbow to the body in the ground position: 1-point

Note that to attain an additional point on the ground the competitor must alter their position for an additional point to be counted. No kicks on a grounded opponent are permissible.

Permissible joint control, choke and throttling action may be performed as long as they are done with smooth flow and control. NOTE: jerky, ripping movements that may result in injuries may result in the offender being punished. Submissions do not generate points but may result in a comp​etitor conceding.

Rolling or taken side or mount positions when on the ground are not scored.

  • Additional criteria taken into consideration is dynamism and the pace of controlling a match. This is especially weighted in the event of a draw at the completion of the match time.

  • If there is continuous no contact during the fight then the referee may return them to the starting position

  • If in the match both opponents move off the mat then the referee will call a stop and bring them both into the middle of the mat to restart in the same positions they were

These rules represent a continuous flow of scoring.


Strikes that are awarded points are confined to the following:

  • Torso which includes the stomach, ribs, chest

  • Hips

  • Thighs

  • Back and shoulders

Holds can be applied to the entire body according to the present rules.

bottom of page