California Becomes First State to Adopt Youth Pankration Rules, Regulations

By C.J. Tuttle Sep 11, 2014
In an effort to move away from unsanctioned events involving adolescents, the California State Athletic Commission approved the United States Fight League to oversee and regulate youth Pankration statewide.

California is the first state in the nation to adopt youth Pankration rules and regulations. Other states like Missouri regulate youth MMA , but along with most of the unsanctioned events, refer to the events as MMA without head strikes.

Pankration competitions, which combine jiu-jitsu, wrestling and karate techniques, have quickly gained popularity in California, resulting in Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla introducing Assembly Bill 1186, which gave CSAC oversight over the sport last year.

The commission appointed a three-member sub-committee, which worked closely with numerous parents, coaches and officials from the youth Pankration community to come up with rules and regulations designed to ensure the health and safety of youth athletes.

The new regulations include:

- Minimum insurance requirements for events and athletes.
- Defining maximum age and weight differentials for competitions.
- Medical staffing and screening requirements.
- Safety equipment requirements for athletes.
- Age based technique limitations.
- Licensing requirements for coaches and officials to include training and background checks.

Pankration utilizes an open scoring system similar to jiu-jitsu and wrestling which is designed to promote technique over brutality.

“I feel we have created a great standard of rules and regulations ensuring the safety of these young athletes while pushing their technical proficiency,” Jon Frank, the President of USFL told “Brutality is not necessarily a side effect of combat sports, and I think the rest of the community will be pleasantly surprised once they see the great skills and character traits developed through Youth Pankration training and competition. We look forward to help facilitate and spread this great sport nationwide.”

The United States Fight League is a non-profit organization that also oversees military Pankration competitions for the Marine Corps Base Camp in Pendleton, Calif. The first youth event should take place in November.


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