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The difficulty of realizing competitions which closely reproduce «total» or «survival» fighting without this leading to serious physical damage to the physical integrity of the competitors, is like squaring the circle, because of the apparently irreconcilable inherent contradictions that it brings with it.
Those who have tried to solve this problem have followed different paths.
The first has been to organize competitions in which «all strikes are allowed» on no matter which body part, with limitless violence. Normally, such attempts have concluded with serious accidents. It has been necessary to stop such competitions, which have gone underground.
A second way has been to organize fights where it was always advertised that everything was allowed (except gouging out eyes …) but which in reality were carried out with hidden rules, in which the violence of the strikes on vital points must have been limited, even simulated (Ultimate Fighting, Vale Tudo, Brazilian Ju-Jitsu, etc.). The existence of these hidden rules is clear from the fact that, for example, in such «total fighting», shutos to the nape of the neck or to the throat, or kicks or knees to the genitals were never seen, and that there have been scarcely any serious accidents. It is therefore falsely «total fighting». If everything were indeed allowed, the first case would have been reproduced with the accidents to which it leads.
A third way is to organize competitions with clear rules, including many prohibited moves, with disciplines - Ju-Jitsu for example - which are conversely characterized by the fact that everything is allowed.
SThe result has been fights in which the advertised discipline was totally distorted, to the point of caricature. This is the way followed, for example, by some Judo federations who are also presented, with some optimism, as Ju-Jitsu federations (such as, for example, the FFJDA in France) when they organized a competition advertised as «Ju-Jitsu World Championship (Fights)» which, among others, the Japanese refused to endorse, and for good reason (there were no Japanese competitors, referees, authorities, observers nor, apparently, spectators).
There is also a fourth way, elaborated by Grandmaster Stefano Surace, the most highly graded Ju-Jitsu official in the world. It consists in evaluating as faithfully as possible the efficiency level of the reflexes of the competitors in «real-life» situations’, in «total» or «survival» fighting. This is to say against an opponent who may even be heavier and physically stronger, and who does not limit his attacks. In this way, precise criteria are followed, the same which are followed daily for fights in training in the dojos of this grandmaster, i.e.:
1) No reflex, technique or position of defence or attack which is efficient in real-life situations should be blocked, stopped or falsified by the rules or the refereeing; on condition that it is used without serious damage to the physical integrity of the opponent. This is in accordance with the Budo philosophy, according to which, even in real-life situations, neutralizing the opponent without injuring him must be the objective, except in extreme cases; this in accordance with laws in place for real-life situations, which prohibit injury only in the case of legitimate self-defence, which is often hard to prove.
Cela en conformité à l’esprit Budo selon lequel, même dans les situations réelles, il faut viser à neutraliser l’adversaire sans le blesser grièvement, sauf en cas extrêmes; et conformément aux lois en vigueur pour les situations réelles, qui sanctionnent les lésions sauf dans les cas de défense légitime, souvent difficiles à prouver.
2) Evaluate and recompense the ability of the competitors:
a) to defend his pressure or vital points against an opponent who rightly does not limit his attacks
b) to oppose an opponent of this kind through neutralizing techniques (locks, strangulation, throws, immobilizations, etc.) and through action on his pressure points which does not lead to serious damage to his physical integrity.These are in fact the criteria chosen for the WBI Ju-Jitsu World Cup; which were established through the success of previous World Cups.
Text of Rules
1 - General.
The principle behind the competition is to produce fighting conditions which are very close to real-life confrontations. This allows for the judging of the competitors’ efficiency, and hence their ability:
- - to protect their pressure points against an opponent whose range of attacks is not limited.
- to fight against an opponent of this kind on normal flooring (i.e. without mats) with neutralizing techniques (locks, strangulation, throws, immobilizations, etc.) and with action on the opponent’s pressure points, but not damaging his physical integrity.
This is in accordance with the Budo philosophy which holds that, even in real-life situations, the opponent should not be seriously injured, except in extreme cases. This is also in accordance with laws for real-life situations, which punish injuring another except in the case of legitimate self-defence, which is often hard to prove.
2 - Fighting Area
Fights will take place on a smooth, hard floor, without mats, inside a square of 10x10 meters of side.
3 - Clothing for Competitors
All fighters wear judo-style clothing or similar, white or coloured. Trousers must cover the ankles. They may go barefoot or with light shoes (e.g. kung-fu or taekwondo). At the beginning of the fight, clothing must be in a proper condition of cleanliness and consistency.
4 - Ranking of Competitors
Fighters will compete according to a system of elimination.
5 - Length of Fight
Fights last eight minutes. In the case of a draw, extra time is given until one of the two competitors scores a point.
6 - Weight Categories
There are no weight categories, in accordance with the fundamental criterion of Ju-Jitsu, which allows for self-defence even against heavier and stronger opponents.
7 - Coaches.
Coaches are allowed, one per club. They will be in proper clothing, either plain clothes or tracksuits. They must remain in the area reserved for them. Their behaviour must remain appropriate and not inciting to violence. The organizers reserve the right to exclude a coach whose dress or behaviour is judged to be against the spirit of the competition.
8 - Anatomical Protection
Compulsory protection: box; Optional: mouth-guard, knee/shin pads, wrist bands.
9 - Permitted and Banned Techniques
a) All neutralizing techniques (locks, throws, immobilizations, strangulation) and action on pressure points are permitted provided that they are practised without injuring the physical integrity of the opponent.
b) In particular, atemis to the nape of the neck, spine, kidneys or genitals must be controlled. It is enough to strike three times, in quick succession, with the gesture of a shuto or a nukitéon one of these points, without touching it or in touching it lightly. The gesture of a kick, touching one of these points without serious violence, is also sufficient.
c) For facial pressure points (eyes, throat, teeth, carotid, base of the nose, chin), it is enough to touch even briefly the opponent’s face with an open hand. The aim of these gestures is simply to show that the opponent was not able to protect one of these pressure points, leading to the award of one point to the fighter who touched the face of his opponent.
d) It is strictly forbidden to hit the face with a punch or nukité, since these strikes are very difficult to control. The atemi moves described above (point b and c) are largely sufficient to show that a pressure or vital point has been reached.
e) For other body parts, including joints, strikes and locks can be practised roughly, but in any case in such a way as not seriously to injure the opponent.
f) The referee can suspend the fight when it goes outside the Budo philosophy - particularly if he judges that the techniques are executed in too dangerous a way - and penalize the offender by awarding his opponent a point.
10 - Point System
a) When a competitor touches an opponent’s pressure or vital point with an open hand, or with his feet, knees or elbows under the conditions given above (points 9/b and 9/c), he is awarded a point. In this instance, the referee normally suspends the action with a clap of the hands accompanied by an order (stop, or matté) and awards the point to the competitor signally it to the jury, who take note.
b) In the event that said touch does not represent the end of the action but is practised in the course of a neutralizing technique (lock, throw, immobilization, strangulation) the referee gives a point but does not suspend the action. If said technique is completed efficiently, forcing the opponent to cede, the referee awards a second point. The competitor who cedes must signal this in striking the ground, his own body or that of his opponent three times with the palm of his hand or else in saying «stop».
c) If the referee judges that a competitor Stoically resists a lock or strangulation practised efficiently, putting him at risk of serious injury, he can interrupt the action and award a point to the practitioner, even if the one who resists does not cede.
d) If one of the competitors throws his opponent to the ground, the referee awards him a point but does not suspend the action.
e) When the fight continues on the ground, the referee interrupts the action only:
- if one of the competitors cedes, in which case his opponent is awarded a point.
- if one of the competitors reaches a vital point of his opponent, under the conditions clarified above (points 9/b and 9/c), and is awarded a point.
- if the two competitors reach a position of mutual neutralization, without either one being able to predominate, or escape.
11 - Penalties
A competitor is penalized by the award of a point to his opponent if he practises a technique in a dangerous manner, thus behaving in a way that contravenes the Budo philosophy.
A competitor who deliberately injures his opponents or intentionally disables him in any way is disqualified.
In the event that a competitor suffers a violent strike, which momentarily diminishes his ability to fight, the referee suspends the action as from the point 10 for him to recover. If he judges deliberate this violence punish of a point the author and for the gravest cases can disqualify him.
12 - Refereeing
Fights are run by a central referee, located in the fighting area, who signals the beginning of the fight, makes interruptions indicated in 10 and 11, awards points and announces the winner. He is assisted by:
- four judges located at the four corners of the fighting area, who may be consulted, the referee can ask them for clarification on certain phases in the fights, before awarding points;
- a jury which signals the end of each fight as soon as the 8 minutes allowed for have run out, to take note of points as and when they are awarded by the referee, to make the tally and to inform the central referee of the winner, who is announced to the public.
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