NWSMA Sparring Rules

NWSMA Sparring Rules & Conduct

  1. Follow the directions of all instructors at all times before, during, and after a round.
  2. Students will spar at the instructor’s discretion. Belt level, age, size, injury status, and other factors may be used to allow or prohibit you from sparring in any given class.
  3. Take sparring seriously: avoid idle chatter and do not drop your guard until the round is over.
  4. BOTH partners are responsible for safety, your own safety AND the other person’s safety.
  5. ALL students may ask their sparring partner(s) to slow down or hit more lightly, regardless of your partner’s belt rank. If you feel unsafe, stop sparring immediately and see the person in charge.

You MAY NOT make contact to the following targets EVER:

Spine              Throat                        Knees              Eyes                Groin/legs (lower belts)*

*For BROWN BELTS & ABOVE, if your partner is a brown belt & above, NON-INJURING CONTACT may be made to the following areas AFTER AGREEING to spar this way with your partner:

Below-belt targets, including groin and legs           (NO KNEES)

NON-INJURING CONTACT may be made to the following targets:

Torso of body                        Sides of body             Sides of the back

EXTREMELY LIGHT CONTACT may be made to the following targets:

  • Head (all parts except eyes)

Special Rules for BROWN BELTS who are sparring with other BROWN BELTS & ABOVE:

  • Sweeps, takedowns, and wrestling/grappling are allowed. When you take your partner down, you must be in control of your partner’s body.
  • Please remember to TAP, better safe than sorry. If 5 seconds go by and your match is “stuck,” please call off the grappling match, get up, and continue sparring so as not to waste class time.
  • You may make NON-INJURING contact to below-belt targets IF and ONLY IF you ask your partner and they agree. This includes the legs, hips, and groin.
  • Certain students may also receive permission to spar with these rules at the instructor’s discretion.

ILLEGAL TECHNIQUES include: anything to forbidden targets (e.g. eye gouges, throat strikes, kicks that touch knee targets), and striking with elbows/knees. Blocking/jamming with the knees is allowed.



  • Accidental injury to legal target, accidental strike to illegal target: 10-50 pushups (instructor discretion)
  • Deliberate lack of control: 50 pushups and removal from sparring activities (instructor discretion)
  • Loss of temper: 50 pushups and removal from class (instructor discretion)
  • Repeated or egregious offenses: asked to leave school (head instructor discretion)

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