KICK-4: Vote to Remove the 5-second Rule

KICK-4: Vote to Remove the 5-second Rule


It is with the utmost urgency that we eliminate Karate Combat’s 5 second countdown. I’ve seen too many fighters in our organization rely on retreating to a fetal position or grabbing hold of their opponent’s legs, in an attempt to wait out the ground and pound attack. This was seen in our most recent event at Karate Combat 43.

In Karate Combat’s official ruleset viewable here, when a fighter becomes grounded the referee signals with a raised hand to the timekeeper to start the countdown. A digital countdown timer starts to count back from five (5) to one (1). Until the 5 seconds are concluded the standing fighter may continue their legal attack and the downed fighter may fight back from the ground.

The intention of this rule was to provide a limited time for a fighter to finish the fight. But it has devolved into rewarding fighters for turtling and surviving for 5 seconds. The current rule set has resulted in very few finishes of the grounded opponent (unless already rocked on the feet).

We propose removing the 5 second timer and allowing the standing fighter to continue with legal attacks with intentions to finish the fight. The downed fighter may fight back from the ground, seek to reverse the position, or stand up with defensive responsibility. Once the standing fighter is no longer actively striking to finish the fight, the downed fighter must immediately stand to restart the action.

My explanations on the proposed change can be viewed here & here and are discussed at length below.


  1. Evolving the art of Karate: currently Karatekas know how to defend themselves on the ground but few fighters in Karate Combat are incentivized to get up before the 5 second timer and continue fighting. Karatekas traditionally don’t like to stay on their back recognizing the danger. KC’s fighters should learn and be incentivized to stand up and fight. They should not be rewarded by curling up and surviving.

  2. Turning Karate Combat into MMA?: Outside of submissions being illegal the bigger difference between MMA and Karate Combat is that ground fighting outside of scrambles is not legal. You are allowed to strike a grounded opponent from a standing, knee on belly, or one knee down position. Settling into a grounded position is treated more like a clinch in boxing.

  3. Does this go against the principles of Karate?: Some may argue that this rule change would go against the spirit of Ikken Hissatsu (to annihilate with one strike). This concept is often misunderstood. Some interpret Ikken Hissatsu to mean you should knock out your opponent with just one strike. It is merely a philosophical statement of attitude. The goal is to always finish the opponent with one (the first) blow. And if that doesn’t work, use another. If you need to, use a third. But execute every blow with intent, the attitude of “this will be the final blow”. This proposed rule change captures this philosophy much better than the existing ruleset.


A) During the fighting action when one fighter becomes grounded the standing fighter may continue with legal attacks with intentions to finish the fight. The downed fighter may fight back from the ground, seek to reverse the position, or seek to stand up with defensive responsibility.

B) The standing fighter must be actively striking and each strike must be in line with the spirit of ikken hissatsu (to annihilate with one strike). The standing fighter should be actively working to finish the fight with effective strikes. When this criteria isn’t met the referee will separate the fighters, order the downed fighter to immediately stand and quickly restart the action from that same position in the pit. During this restart, both fighters shall maintain their defense. A downed fighter who fails to immediately rise at the command of the referee risks warnings, penalization, disqualification or loss by TKO.

*The definition of a grounded fighter is determined by the regulatory jurisdiction if it differs in any way from the definition provided below: A fighter is considered grounded when any part of the body other than the soles of their feet are touching the fighting area floor.

Note: that the Pit Wall is NOT considered the ground. In reference to the pit wall, a fighter shall only be considered grounded if he is directly facing the wall and has both hands on it.

C) When a fighter is attacking his or her downed opponent, he or she may do so only with hand strikes and he must maintain an upright and controlled position while attacking. The “top” fighter may place a single knee on his downed opponent’s body or beside their downed opponent, but once a second knee goes (and stays) down, or both fighters are considered grounded, the referee will stop the action, stand the fighters and immediately restart the action from that same position in the pit.

D) When a fighter lands in a grounded position off a takedown the referee shall at their own discretion allow a brief time to scramble to a legal striking position or for the opponent to reverse the position and work to a legal striking position. If both fighters have settled into a grounded position the referee shall stop the action, stand the fighters and immediately restart the action from that same position in the pit.


Should Karate Combat eliminate the 5 second rule and make the necessary associated rule changes?
  • YES
  • NO

0 voters


Sounds good to me. Legalize thigh kicks next please.


It’s a lot more challenging to get up than you realize when you are not allowed to grapple/seriously threaten the standing fighter. I think the 5 second ground and pound is confusing for spectators and should be revised, but I am much more in favor of an approach similar to something like Muay Thai, where the referee allows the downed fighter to stand after a successful sweep or trip.


I think for this to work Ref needs to be more diligent with stoping the action when the standing opponent knee or hand touches the ground. There was too much ground and pound that looked illegal in the last event. Let’s get these refs trained up. I’ll vote Yes to the rule change.


Yes do it, I voted yes


I second that. That would be a good addition :100::100::100:


Intelligent change but try not to add any other rules that will make KC similar to the MMA. There’s already a lot in that field and KC must remain a different sport


I’m not sure, it’ll open the way to Thai Boxer and it’ll move the sport a inch closer to MMA


thank you for this! and keen eye !


Karate has always had joint locks. But adding that would be “too much like MMA,” too :roll_eyes:

I enjoy the striking centered style of KC, but let’s not forget fighting is fighting. Karate has always awarded follow up strikes after takedowns in competition, this is just the logical progression now that this is “pro” karate. Karatekas cannot rely on going fetal in a fight and wait for a “ref” to stand them up.


Yes I vote “YES” (I’m ok with you in that point :wink: )


Great keep going, more event more comunty grow




Nice project and karate always give surprise


i think woting is the best wey to support the project


I vote YES, :muscle: WIN!!!


thats good, yes yes

gonna new here


how to vote woiiiiiiiiiii?


Greats let’s get started


My two cents: actually Karate Combat should be considered gentleman’s Muay Thai. For the discerning striker.