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TBA-SA Muay Thai Rules
Amateur & Professional

(As approved by the TBA-SA Board of Directors. Revised 2022)

TBA Classic - Muay Thai Expo & World Championships
All Classes (Except No Head Strikes/NHS) will wear elbow pads and have the option of elbow strikes to the head. 
NHS (No Head Strikes) will wear chest protectors for Class C/Novice but will not wear chest protectors in Class B.


Thai Liniment is ALLOWED to be used to warm the fighter up prior to the fight. It cannot be applied above the shoulders (neck and head area).  Other warming agents such as Ben Gay, Icy Hot, and other sports cremes are NOT allowed.
Vaseline --Vaseline may be used on the fighter's face.  If excessive, referee will wipe it off. Baby oil is NOT allowed.
(Arm Bands) -- Arm bands may be worn by fighters, however the bands cannot hang down past the elbow.
Ankle Supports -- Fighters may wear cloth ankle supports. No Tape.

Juniors -- Ages 5-17.  16 & 17 yr olds will have the option of fighting in junior or adult divisions UNLESS governing state requires a 16 & 17 year old to compete as an adult. State requirements overrules TBA-SA requirements.
Adults - Ages 17-50*
Amateur -- Fighters cannot be paid to fight. This also means NO excessive 'travel' stipends.

Professional -- Ages 18+ Fighters will receive monetary payment to fight. 
*Tournament Class A is an 'open' class, allowing those with experience labeled as 'pro' to compete, but amateur rules and safety gear are followed, and NO compensation will be paid to 'pro' fighters. 

DIVISIONS: Based on experience. To find out what counts, read our "What Counts" page.
Junior Divisions:
NHS - No Head Strikes. 
Class C/Novice - 0-3 fights.
Class B - 4-12 fights.
Class A/Open - 13+ fights.

Adult Divisions:
Class C/Novice - 0-3 fights.
Class B - 4-12 fights.
Class A/Open - 13+ fights.  This division is open to those with pro experience also, however Amateur Rules apply. NO purse paid.

Senior Divisions:  Ages 40-55.  Age 40-49 may choose to compete in regular adult classes. Mandatory for ages 50-55.
Class C/Novice - 0-3 fights.
Class B - 4-12 fights.
Class A - 13+ fights. No fighters with professional experience.

Senior+ Divisions: Ages 50-70 .  Mandatory for Adults age 56-70 
NHS Open - No Head Strikes. This is for 'hobbyists'. 

Professional - 0+. Fighters are under contract and are paid for their participation in a fight. Full Rules. No pads. 


NHS: Strikes are allowed to the body only. No strikes to the head. 

Class C, B & A (Jr, Sr, and all Adults): All Strikes are allowed to the body and to the head.  This would include the jab, cross, hook, uppercut, overhand, and spinning backfist.  This applies to Juniors, Amateur and Professional bouts.

NHS: No Elbow strikes to the head. Elbows allowed to the body only.
Class C, B & A (Jr, Sr, and all Adults): elbows to the head with padded elbows.

*TBA-SA approved elbow pads must be worn by both fighters.  "Downward, Spiking, 12/6 elbows ARE allowed"

Professional -- Elbows to both the body and the head are allowed.  This includes spiking elbows and spinning elbows.  No elbow pads worn.

NHS, Class C, B & A (Jr, Sr, and all Adults): --
No knees to the head. Knees are allowed to the body and legs.  
Professional -- Knees are allowed to the legs, body, and head.

No Kicking strikes to the head. All types of kicks are allowed to the body and legs. 

Class C & B (Jr, Sr, and all Adults):  -- All types of kicks are allowed to the head, and body. These kicks must impact with the bottom or top or side of foot or the shin.  Only round kicks are allowed to the legs. These are allowed to the inside and outside of the legs, both above and below the knee.  There will be no straightline kicks to the legs.  No "checking" the opponent's roundkick, by teeping the kicking leg.
Amateur Class A & Professional -- All types of kicks are allowed to the head and body. These kicks must impact with the bottom or top or side of foot or the shin.  Only round kicks are allowed to the legs.  These are allowed to the inside and outside of the legs, both above and below the knee.  There will be no straightline kicks to the legs, however, "checking" the opponent's kicking leg with a teep is allowed.

Clinching is allowed for all fighters: Juniors, Amateurs and Professionals.  All strikes (as applicable to amateur and professional) may be used. The amateur fighter may NOT pull the head down, as knees to the head are not allowed.  Professional fighters MAY pull the head down to apply a knee strike. 

Throws from the clinch range are allowed.  These must be done with the arms, knees, and legs to off balance the opponent and "dump" or "throw".  No Judo throws or hip tosses are allowed. No picking up the opponent to body slam, as in the MMA competitions.  No "tripping" allowed.  A fighter is NOT allowed to intentionally fall on top of the opponent to cause injury. Doorstop Sweep only. 


  • No Striking the Groin
  • No Foot Stomps
  • No Sweeps, Trips, Hooks, Vines, Lifts, or Pushes.  Except for DoorStop Sweep and foot must be planted to do so.
  • No Hip Throws or Judo Throws
  • No Picking up Opponent and slamming to Canvas
  • No Headbutts
  • No Hammer Fist Strikes
  • No Straightline Kicks below the Waist
  • No 'Plowing'.  Must Strike for every step taken, when holding a caught leg.

Note: All of the above are considered "fouls".  If referee determines foul is committed, Referee will issue a caution. Each foul is allowed two cautions. The third Foul of the same type, receives a warning which includes a point deduction. A fourth foul, of same type, is a disqualification. If a foul results in the injury of the opponent, he/she has up to 5 minutes to recover (at the discretion of the referee).  Referee reserves the right to end fight after subsequent fouls if he/she feels it is in the best interest of the fighters.

"No Contest" Decisions
If an opponent is fouled in the first round and, as a result, cannot continue, AND the referee rules the foul as accidental, the bout will be ruled a "no contest".  If the bout has completed the first round, and the fouled opponent cannot continue, then the decision will go to the score cards to determine a winner.  This of course, will also be determined by whether or not the ring referee dictates the foul was "accidental" or "intentional".  An intentional foul will award the win to the downed fighter.  An accidental foul will award the win to the fighter winning completed rounds on the judge's cards.

Juniors must wear headgear, shin guard, guaze/handwraps, mouth guard and groin protection (female groin protection is optional). 
NHS: Chest guards will be worn for NHS Class C Only during tournaments.  Chest protection WILL be worn by all competitors at Scrimmages. 

Amateur-- Adults must wear guaze/handwraps, mouth guard and groin protection (female groin protection is optional). BOTH fighters always wear similar gear.  Not one with gear and the other without. Elbow pads are mandatory for Juniors and Adults Classes C, B & A. (Not requited for NHS divisions)

Class C Fighters will wear *headgear and shin guards. *In regular shows, if both competitors are adult, they may agree to not wear the head gear.  However BOTH sides must agree BEFORE the fight. 

Class B Fighters may fight without headgear (if both fighters and coaches agree).  Both fighters will wear shin guards and elbow pads.

Class A Fighters  will not wear head gear. Shin guards are optional. 

 Headgear will NOT be worn for the Adult, Class A Championship fights. Class A juniors will still wear headgear.
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: Headgear and shinguards will be worn for all Elimination bouts in all classes.  Head gear and shin guards will NOT be worn for Class A, 5 Round Championship fights.  All other Classes will wear all safety gear for both elimination and championship bouts. 

 HEAD GEAR -- Headgear may have cheek protection but cannot have nose or chin protection.
TOURNAMENT RULES: ONLY "Neutral" head gear will be allowed at tournaments. Fighters may wear red headgear if fighting out of the red corner and may wear blue headgear if fighting out of the blue corner, but may NOT wear red out of the blue corner or blue out of the red corner.  Black or white headgear is preferred by the TBA-SA, however, any 'neutral' color may be worn. 

SHIN GUARDS -- Shin guards may be cloth, leather, or neoprene, and can pull on or fasten with Velcro or buckles.   Any metal clasps must be covered with tape. ***If not provided by promoter. 
TOURNAMENT RULES: We supply shin guards for the tournaments to ensure everyone competes in the same type of shin guards.  

ELBOW PADS -- In amateur bouts, all classes (except NHS) will wear elbow pads.
TOURNAMENT RULES:  We supply elbow pads for tournaments. Elbows to both the body and head will be allowed in all Divisions except Junior NHS and Adult NHS. Elbows to the head are NOT allowed in NHS divisions. 

HANDWRAPS -- Junior and Amateur fighters may use training hand wraps or gauze and tape.  Professional fighters must use gauze and tape.  Tape must be one finger's width back from knuckles.  All fighters must have wraps checked and signed by TBA-SA Representative before putting on fight gloves.  


  1. When gloves are taken off, if handwraps have not been signed, fighter can be disqualified. 
  2. Fighter's Wristbands are NOT to be cut off when cutting off hand wraps. If bands are cut off, fighter will be required to purchase a replacement band. Bring the cut band back, along with a photo I.D.  

GLOVES -- Gloves must be TBA-SA approved gloves.  All gloves will be provided by promoter. No fighter may use their own.  All Junior and Amateur will use red and blue approved competition gloves. 
8 oz. will be used for 137# and below.
10 oz. will be used for all divisions 137.1# to 179#.  
12 oz. will be used for 179.1# and above.

PROFESSIONAL FIGHTERS-- fighters will wear mouth guard, handwraps, and groin protection (female groin protection is optional).  No other padding will be allowed. Gloves must be red and blue 10 oz., TBA-SA approved, fight gloves and will be provided by promoter.  No fighter may use their own.

Standing 8 Count:
This will be in effect for all bouts, both amateur and professional.  All fighters must engage. If you are not fighting back/defending yourself, the ring referee will stop the action and administer an 8 count to ensure your safety. 

3 KnockDown Rule:
If a fighter is knocked down 3 times in any single round (provided the referee has given the 8 count), the fight will be stopped and pronounced a TKO.

Flash KnockDown:
The "flash" knockdown is in effect in all bouts, both amateur and professional.  If a fighter is knocked down, but gets back up immediately with no signs of damage, at the discretion of the ring referee, it may be declared a flash knock down and no 8 count will be administered. Again, this rule is at the discretion of the referee.  Sometimes a fighter is Knocked OUT on impact (and eyes roll back in head) and then wake up upon their head bouncing off the canvas and get right back up.  The referee may see this and still give the count to ensure the fighter is able to continue.

NHS and Juniors--Three 2 minute rounds. One minute rest.  Title fights will be three 2 minute rounds.
Amateur--All non-title bouts will be Three 2-minute rounds. One minute rest. 
All Regional, U.S., North American, and World title bouts (non-tournament) will be Five 2-minute rounds. One minute rest. 

*TBA Muay Thai Classic--ALL Juniors and Amateurs fights will be Three 2-minute rounds. One minute rest
*Tournament of Champions Class A Championship bouts will be FIVE 2 minute rounds. 1 minute rest. Eliminations are 3 rounds w/gear. Class A will remove shin guards and head gear for Championship bouts.

Professional--Non-title bouts may be Three 3-minute rounds, Four 3-minute rounds, or Five 3-minute rounds (promoter-fighter negotiation).  All will have One minute rest.
All title bouts will be Five 3-minute rounds. One minute rest.