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  • Grappling Only

  • Technical Striking, No-Contact


NJMAA SPORT MMA is a mixed martial arts sparring competition. It may be best viewed as light contact version of MMA. NJMAA SPORT MMA provides competitors with an opportunity to use many of the same techniques associated with MMA, including; strikes, throws, shoots, grappling and submissions applied safely with light or semi-contact. This will be strictly enforced (no damaging strikes or slams or face/head contact).

NJMAA SPORT MMA has three rounds, each 90 sec in length with 30 seconds break. The goal of each round varies, the explanation is below.

Round One – Each competitor starts standing, light contact strikes combined with good foot work may be used to control the action, score or close the distance. Either competitor can close the distance and initiate a clinch with the goal of moving to the other competitors back. The goal is to either outscore your opponent with legal light contact strikes and take your opponents back and maintain that position for at least two seconds.

Round Two – Each competitor starts on their knees facing their opponent. Once the match goes to the ground, grappling, legal submissions and light contact striking to legal targets come into play. The goal is to either outscore your opponent with legal light contact strikes and / or obtain a legal submission over your opponent.

Round Three – Each competitor begins starting from the stand-up position. Light contact strikes combined with good foot-work may be used to control the action, score or close the gap for a shoot or takedown. If the match goes to the ground, grappling, legal submissions and light contact striking to legal targets come into play. The goal is to either outscore your opponent with legal, light contact strikes and / or obtain a legal submission over your opponent.

The format of our NJMAA SPORT MMA competition is additionally designed to allow each and every competitor the opportunity to gain as much experience as possible. In order to achieve this, we have instituted a “best of three” rule (explained below).

Each round begins in the default starting position. The competitors use light contact and footwork or position to control their opponent. If a competitor achieves the goal for the round (round one – take the back, round two and three – submit their opponent). Both competitors are brought back to the default position to begin again with the score (1 – 0) for that round. The round either ends when a competitor gets best of three (2-1 / 2-0) or time expires.

Additional Examples:

In Round 1, if Competitor B, clinches and gets to the back of Competitor A and maintains that position for 2 seconds, it is recorded on the score sheet and the match gets restarted from the default position.

In Rounds 2 and / or 3, if Competitor A obtains a submission over Competitor B, it is record on the score sheet and the match gets restarted from the default position.

So the final outcome of each Round is determined by:

  1. If a competitor scores twice (two take the back or two submissions)

  2. If either competitor has an advantage in scores (1-0) at the end of the round, he/she wins

  3. If there is no advantage in scores (0-0 or 1-1) the round is decided by a poll of the judges who will evaluate the action according to the criteria listed above.

The tally of those three rounds determine the match winner.


Competitor A wins Round 1 and Round 3, Competitor B wins Round 2. Overall win goes to Competitor A who won two of the three rounds.

Required Equipment:

  • NJMAA approved shin and instep protectors

  • NJMAA approved gloves

  • Mouth Guard

  • Groin protector (males)

  • No “grease” Vaseline allowed

  • No shoes allowed

  • HYGIENE RULE: All competitors must be bathed and have clean apparel and equipment.


Length of Match:

All Competitors – 3 x 90 sec rounds, with 30 seconds rest.




NJMAA GRAPPLING ONLY division allows competitors to display their ground, submission and position skills. A GRAPPLING ONLY division can be won four ways, by submission, by accumulation of points, by referee decision, by opponent disqualification.


TAKEDOWNS – 1 or 2 points


SWEEPS – 2 points


MOUNT – 2 points

BACK GRAB / CONTROL – 2 points

KNEE ON BELLY – 2 points

Definitions and Descriptions

Takedown –  (2 POINTS) In awarding two points, the Referee is directed to look for the following: The competitor must initiate the Takedown or complete a strong counter Takedown; The competitor executing the Takedown.

 (1 POINT) If you snap the other competitor down and he/she posts on his/her hands, NO Points are awarded. If you initiate a snap down (not a situation where he/she shoots and you counter with a defensive sprawl) and he/she ends up on at least three appendages facing towards you (with you controlling from his/her top), 1 Point will be awarded.


Submission Attempt – 2 points are awarded for a full and strong Submission attempt. A Submission is recognized as full and strong when one or more of the following occurs: The defending competitor is 'In Danger' - the submission has the potential to make the opponent tap out or is in danger of being injured by the submission.


1 Point is awarded for a Submission Attempt that is significant, but does not meet the above criteria. A competitor must have a submission in hold and attempt to submit his/her opponent.


In a situation that is less than full and strong, Referees are directed to award 1 Point as soon as they see the legitimate submission attempt, in order to encourage an aggressive style of grappling. If the submission in question later proves to be full and strong, an additional 1 Point can be awarded (2 Points total).

Sweep Points (2 Points) - When a competitor on the bottom of any Guard is able to reverse the position, and end up on top of his/her opponent for two full seconds – 2 Points are awarded. Motion must start from a form of Guard.

Side Control (2 Points) - Side Control is any secure form of top control (except for the Mount and Knee on Belly variations) that lends itself to a submission. Two full seconds of control and the ability to attack submissions are required. The highest percentage forms of control include Cross Side Mount, Scarf Hold, Modified Scarf Hold and North/South position. Kickside also recognizes a secure Top Turtle (any variation of dominant Top Turtle control, 90 degrees from the opponent’s head) as a form of Side Control worthy of 2 Points.

Back Grab / Back Control (2 Points) -

- Back Grab / Back Control (heels hooked into inner thighs)

- Body Triangle (figure four leg lock across opponent’s torso)

- Back Grab with one foot over one of the opponent’s arms

(the foot is still hooked into the inner thighs)

- Back Scissor (Back Grab competitor has his/her ankles crossed)


Knee on Belly (2 Points) - When a competitor establishes his/her knee across an opponent’s stomach (torso), with the other foot on the ground for 2 full seconds, he/she will receive 2 Points (the opponent may be flat on his/her back or on his/her side). NOTE: “Knee on Back” is not considered a position and therefore receives NO Points.


Length of Match –

All competitors 3 min per match


Determining a Tie

Referees will first consider initiation and aggression. The Referee is directed to consider who made the greatest successful effort to attack and control. In practice, this is most commonly attempting Takedowns, Sweeps having dominant positional control and most importantly, attempting Submissions. In the event that competitors are equal in terms of Initiation and Aggression, Referees will determine a tie by considering who skillfully controlled the Pace, Place, and Position on the mat, in order to ultimately set up an eventual submission.


If the competitors are still considered equal on points, pace, place and position, the Referee will give the decision to the competitor with less warnings or Penalties. If the competitors are still equal, then ONE overtime period can be given by the Referee. Please note that this should be an unusual occurrence.


TECHNICAL STRIKING – Non- Contact Division

The Technical Striking division allows the competitors to display their power, accuracy and technique with pre-determined striking combinations based on experience level. Two Competitors are called up together, each competitor holds mitts and completes their combination. Competitors will be directed to hold mitts for the combination (60 seconds) and strike mitts held by their partner (60 seconds).

Judges / Referee determine the winner of each round based on technique, power, accuracy as well as their ability to hold mitts for their partner. At the end of each round judges will provide their decision based the criteria above.





Legal Strikes – Hands:

  • All hand strikes that occur with the padded part of the glove executed in a controlled fashion (light or touch contact only). The strike cannot penetrate or distort the target.

  • Punches allowed to the body and legs while on the ground. (only adult divisions)

  • Fights can “push off” opponents. Post a hand without striking or moving opponent


Illegal Strikes - Hands

  • No elbow strikes are allowed at any time to any part of the body or face

  • Strikes to the head are not allowed at any point

  • Striking to the kidney, behind the head or neck is not permitted.


Legal Strikes – Legs, Knees and Feet:

  • All kicking techniques are allowed with light touch contact to the front and side of the body above the belt and light contact low kicks to the legs. NO linear kicks are allowed directed to the legs.

  • Light/ touch contact knee strikes are allowed to the body and legs in adult divisions only while standing

  • All Low kicks must be a minimum of 6 inches above the knee and all other kicks above the waist

  • No kicks on grounded opponents.


Shoots, Clinches and Take Downs

  • No spearing or dive tackling permitted

  • No scissor takedowns are permitted unless a hand is first placed on the mat

  • All takedowns must be premeditated and follow their opponent to the ground and gain position

  • If a competitor attempts to shoot / takedown and is not immediately successful the referee / judge may at his / her discretion “break” the competitors.

  • You may not execute a takedown that damages your opponent in any way.

  • All prevention necessary must be taken to not allow your opponent to fall on his / her head or attempt to drop the opponent on the back of their neck or head as they fall to the ground.


Grappling – Submissions and Locks

It is VERY important that all competitors understand how to “tap out” when caught in a submission technique. Tapping can be done either verbally or through a physical tap. Competitors can tap with their hands, feet or even nod of the head.

  • Ground Activity Rule: Once the contest goes to the ground both competitors must show continuous effort to significantly advance their position. Failure to significantly advance or take advantage of their position will result in the match “stood up” and re-started.

  • Legal Submission Techniques – The only legal submission techniques are chokes. There are NO joint manipulation techniques allowed for junior participants. Teens and Adults may use Elbow or Shoulder joint manipulation submissions (arm bar, kimura, americana).

  • Special Submission Rule – (Beginners and Kids) Submission techniques may be restricted or prohibited based on age on division. A referee may also “call a submission” immediately when it appears that a legitimate submission lock is engaged (the referee does not need to wait for the youth or beginner fighter to “tap”).

  • Other Fouls: Fighters are not allowed to grab and use their opponents’ clothing. Attacks to the front of the windpipe, eyes, or groin are illegal. No pushing the palm or elbow directly into the nose. No dropping or slamming the opponent on his/her head. No slamming from guard position. Eye gouging, fish hooking, biting, hair pulling, pinching, twisting of skin, sticking a finger into the opponent’s cut, putting a finger in any orifice are all FOULS and grounds for disqualification. No unsportsmanlike conduct.


The referee / judge reserves the right to stop any attempt at any submission or lock, listed and unlisted. Additionally the referee may break or stop a takedown, shoot, or sweep if the referee believes it would cause harm to the other opponent.


Both competitors have an obligation to ensure no harm is done to themselves or their opponent. Intentionally putting a fellow competitor in an unsafe position or moving to a position in an unsafe manner may result in a warning or disqualification.


During the match, if there is stalling on the ground, the referee has the right to restart the match standing. If the competitors go off the mat, the match can be stopped by the referee, and the competitors will be moved to the middle of the ring / mat in the same position. The referee has the right to stop time and check the condition of the fighters.

Warnings and Penalties: The referee will at his/her discretion issue cautions, warnings, penalties and or disqualification for rule infractions. An official penalty will have the same effect on the bout as a score.

Coaching: Competitors are allowed to have One (1) coach in their corner during their match.

Never, at any time, can a coach enter the ring without the referee’s permission. No abusive, violent, unsportsmanlike or overzealous coaching. Coaches cannot ask for time out. Coaches can never, at any time, interfere with the proper running of the ring or the decisions of the judges. The referee can issue a warning, deduct point or disqualify a competitor for his/ her coach interfering with a match or disrupting fair play between contestants.

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