Wrestling Tournament Rules

New to the IGX 2019 tournament lineup is a Historical Wrestling tournament! This is an Open event, and fighters will participate by weight class.

Young knight, learn
to love god and revere women;
thus your honor will grow.
Practice knighthood and learn
the Art that dignifies you,
and brings you honor in wars.
Be a good grappler in wrestling;
lance, spear, sword, and messer
handle manfully,
and foil them in your opponent’s hands.
Strike in and hasten forth;
rush to, let it hit, or go by.
Thus those with wisdom, the ones who
are revered, will envy him.
This you should grasp:
All arts have length and measure.

From the Prologue to Liechtenauer’s Zettle

In summary, these Masters of Battle and their Students, identified by their various devices, although first presented as governing principles of my Art of Grappling, are actually the foundation of my entire Art of Armed Fighting, whether on foot or on horseback, and whether in or out of armor.[90]

From the Preface to Fiore’s Flower of Battle

Regardless of the HEMA tradition one studies, the historical masters indicate in clear terms that wrestling was the foundation to their fighting arts. In an effort to honor the role of the historical sources in the development of HEMA, IGX has decided to promote a style of wrestling that is inspired by documentation from the late middle ages and renaissance. 

We believe this rule set will positively affect participants training so that winning strategies align well with the values of medieval and renaissance wrestling arts.

Two key resources in developing these rules were Pietro Monte’s descriptions of wrestling in his Collectenea as well as Matt Galas’ Rules for Wrestling Tournaments in Rome (17th Century).

While the tournament rules were inspired by the above mentioned documents, some modifications were necessary for standardization in scoring so that participant experiences mesh well with modern tournament expectations. Please review the official rules document which will be used at IGX.

A summary of some key points that shaped the IGX 2019 rules are listed below:

  • The emphasis will be on standing wrestling with penalties for anything other than feet touching the ground. 
  • It is possible to win a match in two exchanges.
  • Belts, which will be provided by the tournament, will be worn during matches. Participants are allowed and encouraged to grab the belts while wrestling.
  • Exchanges are  initiated with wrestlers outside of gripping range with the expectation that they will contend for useful grips (Note: Striking as described in Galas’ aforementioned article will not be permitted).
  • Wrestlers are required to shake hands or otherwise greet each other with mutual respect before and after each match to promote good sportsmanship.