IKF Sanshou General Rules & Guidelines

  1. Kicks are allowed to the inside and outside of the legs as well as the upper body. (A boot to boot sweep in any division is NOT counted as a knockdown. Leg checking is permitted with the shin, but not with the foot. Front leg sweeps, foot to foot, boot to boot, to the inside & outside of opponents front foot are permitted by BOTH feet of the striker/sweeper. No spin sweeps. (In MuayThai Rules ONLY, the supporting “Rear” leg is also allowed to be sweeped)
  2. Knee and elbow strikes are allowed – For details see “Legal Techniques” Below.
  3. All types of Judo & Wrestling Throws are Legal In San Shou / Sanda.
  4. Fighters have 5 seconds after clinch to execute a takedown, throw or sweep or they are separated by the center referee.
  5. The bout may take place on either a raised platform with no ropes or in a boxing ring with ropes.


  1. There are 2 aspects of IKF San Shou / Sanda Scoring. Stand Up and Takedown scores. Both are ADDED scores by each judge on their scoring “CLICKERS”.
  2. STAND UP: Three Judges will score each fighter by each landed strike “1” Point (Punch or Kick) per strike landed clean and with power. Glove to glove contact does not count as points, clash of kicks, and neither does slap punches while in a clinch.
    • Keep in mind, a kick that lands but is “CAUGHT” by the receiving fighter and the receiving fighter FOLLOWS with a counter that lands effectively, or a throw/sweep that is executed effectively, the kick DOES NOT count as a point.
  3. TAKEDOWNS: After each throw, takedown, sweep etc, the bout referee will stop the action and award points if earned. To indicate points earned, the referee, after both fighters are standing, will POINT his hand to the fighter who is awarded the points while his other hand is raised high in the air showing the point total with his fingers. He will also yell the point score verbally. These points awarded shall be recorded by each judge on their count “Clickers” in each of their hands to the awarded fighters point total.

    • At the end of each round, each judge will write the TOTAL amount of points for each fighter on their score card. Although the WINNER will only receive “1” point on the MASTER SCORE SHEET kept by the Chief Ringside Scorekeepers, it is good for review purposes to know the total points each judge scored the bout as.
    • At the end of each round, the Chief Ringside Scorekeepers will only give “1” point to the WINNING fighter who is the fighter with the most points in the round. The losing fighter will receive “0” points.
    • At the end of the bout, unless the bout was stopped prior to the end of the scheduled rounds (KO, TKO DQ etc.) the fighter with the most rounds WON will win the bout.

5A: 0 Points:
  • If a fighter attempts a throw and the other fighter pulls him/her down with them, and neither show control. This is the decision of the referee.
  • One opponent uses a falling technique to attack and does not succeed.
  • One opponent uses a flying offensive technique with a deliberately falling technique, the latter will not score a point.
5B: 1 Point:
  • “IF” The fighter being thrown uses a throw “COUNTER TECHNIQUE” and reverses the beginning thrower in regards to position of control or command, the fighter who ends up in the controlling or commanding position within a count of “1” after both fighters hit the floor shall receive the 1 point awarded. If both end up side by side, no points shall be awarded.
5C: 2 Points:
  • Any knockdown from a strike (Punch or Kick) will award 2 points to the striker as long as the technique (strike) is clean and the standing fighter does not touch the ring floor.
  • On such a strike, if the fallen fighter does not require to be given a standing 8 count and rises off the matt quickly after the knockdown, again, this is 2 points.
  • However, If an 8 count is required after a strike drops a fighter, this will be awarded “3” points. See below.
  • Any basic throw that is not high altitude or of extreme skill/difficulty will be awarded 2 points to the thrower. Anytime one fighter throws, sweeps or shoves his/her opponent to the floor without the thrower touching the ring floor with anything but his/her feet.
  • The opponent is forced to fall by the competitors techniques, including the competitors deliberately falling while dodging defensively, the standing fighter shall be awarded “2” Points.
5D: 3 Points:
  • Any HIGH ALTITUDE or EXPLOSIVE, DEVASTATING THROW shall be awarded 3 points.
  • Any knockdown from a strike or any technique that requires the referee to give a fighter a standing 8 count, the fighter not being given the 8 count will receive 3 Points. The referee will give the standing 8 count first and then award points as required unless he, the referee elects to stop the bout instead.
  • The opponent is knocked down by a dropping sweep where his feet fly out from under him where he lands on his back. It is OK if the sweepers hands touch the ground.


  1. The fighter with the most ROUNDS WON at the end of the bout is the winner OR;
  2. If a fighter is knocked out, counted out by the ring referee, receives a TKO (Technical Knockout) or the referee stops the bout because he feel a fighter is not able or should not continue due to safety issues, the other fighter will win the bout OR;
  3. Other ways to stop a bout and win a bout can be due to Injury or Disqualification due to Fouls.

  • Legal Techniques;

    • Punches to the head and body.
    • Elbows to the body
      • Elbows to the head for Amateurs are allowed in some juriisidctions as well as in PRO Bouts.
    • Kicks to the head, body and legs.
    • Knees to the legs & body
      • Knees to the head for Amateurs are allowed in some juriisidctions as well as in PRO Bouts.
    • Throws and takedowns.
    • In some bouts, when requested, knees may be approved and allowed.
  • Illegal Techniques;

    • Biting.
    • Head Butts.
    • Joint Attacks.
    • Elbow Strikes.
    • Holding and Hitting.
    • Open Hand Strikes.
    • Strikes to the Groin.
    • Strikes to the Knees.
    • Kicks or Punches to the Spine.
    • Throws that involve Joint Manipulation.
    • Kicks or Punches to the back of the Head.