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Section 9. Prohibited Acts

9.1 Warnings

The referee shall issue official warnings to the competitors in the following manner: the first two times a violation occurs the competitors receive an official warning on the score sheet; the third & all subsequent times any violation occurs, the referee shall impose a full point deduction. Violations are cumulative.


9.1.1 Holding the opponent.
9.1.2 Escaping from fighting by turning his/her back to the opponent.
9.1.3 Voluntarily stepping out of bounds.
9.1.4 Stalling.
9.1.5 Presenting a defenseless posture to opponent.
9.1.6 Interruption or coaching by the athlete's Instructor/Parent by word or deed.
9.1.7 Making contact with an unauthorized implement.
9.1.8 Making contact to an unauthorized area.
9.1.9 Intentional attack after the referee’s "Stop" command.
9.1.10 Excessive contact (may also result in disqualification).
9.1.11 Throwing the opponent.


9.2 The Issuing of Warnings

9.2.1 Any corner judge may, at any time they see a rules violation, stop a match to call for a warning to the offending competitor. If the call for a warning is not disputed by the center referee or another corner judge then the offending competitor is issued a warning by the center referee. 

9.2.2 In the event that a warning called for by a corner judge will result in a point deduction, being the third or greater infraction or a warning for face contact, then a warning will be issued by the center referee only in the event that the center referee concurs with the warning, or if a majority of corner judges concur with the warning.

9.2.3 The center referee may, without the agreement of a majority of the corner judges, issue warnings to offending competitors even in the event that a warning will result in a point deduction.

9.2.4 In the event that a single technique prompts one corner judge to issue a warning and another corner judge to issue a point neither a point nor a warning shall be assigned to the competitor. ( e.g. The red competitor throws a kidney punch which one corner judge calls as a point and another corner judge calls as a warning for a punch to the back. Since the same technique resulted in a mixed decision, the red competitor neither scores a point nor receives a warning). 


9.3 Automatic disqualification

9.3.1 Pretending injury.
9.3.2 Injuring the opponent’s face or neck.
9.3.3 Injuring the opponent by a malicious** or excessive attack.
9.3.4 Injuring or rendering an opponent unable to continue by using an unauthorized attacking implement or by attacking to an unauthorized area.
9.3.5 Significant unsportsmanlike conduct.
9.3.6 Accumulation of three penalty (minus) points.
9.3.7 Any discourteous behavior by athlete, coach, family or friends such as provocation and uncalled for remarks towards any member of the referee’s panel and / or any competitor by word or gesture can result in the immediate disqualification of the athlete. Additionally, coaching a competitor during a match or during time stoppages due to injuries, referee panel discussions, or rest periods between rounds is prohibited and can result in the immediate disqualification of the coached athlete. 

** - The referee and judges shall determine if the attack was malicious or excessive.
It is recommended that the referee and judges go to the tournament director with their recommendation for disqualification. The tournament director will then issue the disqualification him/herself.


9.4 Definition and Process of Disqualification

9.4.1 Calling for a Disqualification In the event a referee or judge believes a competitor merits disqualification (see 9.2) the center referee stops time—as per calling a point or warning—and asks for a conference with all judges and referees of the ring. If the majority of judges agree that a competitor’s action warrants disqualification that competitor will be disqualified from the match. 


9.4.2 In Cases of a Lack of Majority in Favor of Disqualification If the majority of judges and referees DO NOT agree to disqualification the center referee must visually inspect both competitors to determine if a penalty was committed. Physical evidence of a rules violation—such as: significant blood-flow, swelling, bruising, or other signs of obvious physical trauma—override the majority opposed to disqualification and the center referee may, at his/her own discretion, issue a disqualification from the match.


9.4.3 Process of Disqualification When the center referee decides to disqualify a competitor from a match he/she must notify the tournament director. Upon notice the tournament director may inspect the competitors and interview all the corner judges involved in the ring. If the director finds significant and substantial evidence to overrule the center referee he/she may do so and no disqualification will be issued. If the director does not overrule the center referee, the center referee ends the match and awards victory to the remaining qualified fighter.


9.4.4 Tournament Director Conduct after a Disqualification The tournament director and the center referee will address any concerns on the part of the disqualified competitor or that competitor’s agents before continuing the division.


9.4.5 Definition of Match Disqualification The above headings (9.4.1-9.4.5) regard Match level Disqualification. If a competitor is disqualified from a sparring match, they take a defeat in that match. This may result in a disqualified competitor sparring again, however, a competitor disqualified from a sparring match may not win first place in the single elimination sparring division. A competitor disqualified from forms or breaking competitions receives a score of 0.0 and may not, regardless of the number of competitors in the division, receive an award. The competitor may compete in other events.


9.4.6 Division Disqualification If a competitor commits a flagrant, malicious, and / or deliberate rules violation (see,, 9.1.10-9.2.7) the competitor may be disqualified from the division. If a referee or judge wishes to call for a Division Disqualification, they stop time—as per calling a point or warning—and approach the center referee. The referee and judges discuss the severity of the rules violation. If the center referee determines that the penalty calls for a division disqualification, the center referee summons the tournament director. The tournament director may then interview and inspect both competitors and interview the center referee and all corner judges. The tournament director alone determines whether a competitor receives a division disqualification. If the tournament director disqualifies the competitor from the division, the center referee awards the match to the qualified competitor and the disqualified competitor must exit the competition area. If the tournament director does not believe a Division Disqualification is needed, the Center Referee may recommend a Match Disqualification be issued.


9.4.7 Definition of Division Disqualification A competitor disqualified from their division may not compete in any remaining events during the day. The competitor does not receive any further awards or trophies. A competitor disqualified from a forms or breaking competition receives a score of 0.0. A competitor disqualified from a sparring division reorders that division as though the disqualified competitor did not compete (i.e., if the competitor would have received a second place award, the third place competitor moves up to second, fourth to third, and so forth.)

9.4.8 Powers of the Tournament Director The tournament director has the right and authority to issue match and/or division disqualifications without the consent of any other referee or judge.

9.4.9 Rights of Disqualified Competitors. All competitors disqualified from either a match or a division may submit a complaint, in writing, to the HMAL. Such complaints will come under the review of the HMAL board. Disqualified Competitors ARE NOT entitled to a refund of entry fees. 

9.5 A judge or referee does not have to see actual contact to penalize or disqualify a competitor for contact if they feel sufficient evidence warrants the call.


Section 10. Methods of Competition

10.1 The competition system for all championships shall consist of single elimination.

10.2 A 'bye' system shall be used at all championships which guarantees four (4) semi-finalists. All byes shall be awarded during the first round of competition. Competitors from the same school will not be paired against each other in the first round if it can be avoided.

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