Is it against competition rules for patterns, for say a green belt, to be entered into the yellow belt category, if they have have only been qualified for a few weeks?

1) Can an instructor use his discretion and do this for his students, or could the instructor be reported for cheating?

Note: This happened to my son when he was a white belt, another yellow belt student, used a white belt, when he in fact was a yellow belt.

2) if this is against competition rules:

a) what is the penalty for the student and instructor? b) how would I report it?

PS: I think this is totally wrong and shows little integrity, but I know it happens!

  • There are too many ITF groups to be certain on this - and it will also vary tournament to tournament (rules for interclubs, nationals and internationals will differ). If you gave your branch name and what level or tournament you may get a better answer - otherwise your instructor or the tournament host for the tournament rule book (and then directly asking this question if that is of no use) is probably best
    – Collett89
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 17:14
  • What is a "patten"? Google says wooden overshoe.
    – MCW
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 9:35
  • A pattern is a sequence of attacking and defensive moves, performed in a logical order, against an imagenery opponent.
    – reggie
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 11:35
  • Oops typo, sorry! 😊😊
    – reggie
    Commented Mar 9, 2017 at 11:36

1 Answer 1


ITF World Tournament Rules as of 2013 do not use belts as official categories in sparring. Per section T31 - Divisions:

(A) Male and Female groups.
(B) Weights.


N.B.: In individual sparring matches competitors shall participate in the category according to their weight. It is not allowed to participate in any other weight class.

Honestly, since belts are arbitrarily awarded by instructors, this is pretty much the only way to handle the situation. Your individual tournament might have their own rules, but we can't comment on those rules because we can't see them.

If you're discussing special technique, the World Cup rules group the colored belts into a single group, so there's still no conflict here unless your individual tournament operates differently.

Belt Categories

  • Coloured Belt (Blue and Red Belt in one division)
  • Black Belt - 1st - 6th Degree

For forms, it looks like it's broken out a bit differently, but starts at 4th Gup:

  • 4th Gup will compete with the Optional Pattern being any one from CHON-JI to
  • 3rd Gup will compete with the Optional Pattern being any one from CHON-JI to ToiGye,
  • 2nd Gup will compete with the Optional Pattern being any one from CHON-JI to
  • 1stGup will compete with the Optional Pattern being any one from CHON-JI to

As regards disputes, the only rules I've found are for sparring, and require the coach to submit a written dispute. Again, your tournament may have its own procedures. Again, I don't think that the rules really rule out someone competing outside of their belt range since, again, ranks are arbitrary. It looks like the belt rank merely decides what form, or range of forms, will be performed.

  • Edited question, I ment for pattens not for sparing.
    – reggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:19
  • Ah. I added a bit more information, but honestly, they don't really seem to have any real rules preventing someone from entering with a different belt. The rank just determines which form they might be required to do. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:29
  • So if a green belt did say Dan gun, a yellow belt Patten, they would be breaking the rules?
    – reggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 13:35
  • @Reggie: It's possible that I'm misunderstanding the rules, but it looks like if they select a pattern that it is not within the allowed ones for the division they are competing in, they will not receive any points. Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 14:07
  • What if they wear a yellow belt for the competition, so they can do a yellow belt pattern, when they have graded and received a green belt in class and the instructor knows this!
    – reggie
    Commented Mar 8, 2017 at 15:06

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