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Traditional Hard Forms

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Hard forms


Almost every martial art has its traditional formal forms or patterns, down through the generations, that allow the martial artist to practice sequences and moves that simulate combat or develop balance, strength, and focus. For the most part, these will be in the Japanese and Korean martial arts, but there are a number of exceptions.

In AMAC, traditional hard forms are generally those that contain a high proportion of punches and kicks that are delivered with sharp, fast, and powerful moves.

Since AMAC is a multi-style tournament circuit, these forms cannot be judged on their "correctness". The diversity of styles involved means that there is a corresponding number of "correct" ways to do a form. One style's correct form of the same name may be completely wrong in another style. Individual techniques may also vary from style to style, with a simple example being the position of the fist when pulled back to chamber position; some prefer it low, some prefer it high.

There are however a number of universally recognised features in forms that can be used for judging in a multi-style tournament. These include:


An athlete is expected to do a form that corresponds to their level of skill, and this is demonstrated in the techniques, combinations, and variations in speed and direction. If an athlete performs a routine that is above their skill level, this is usually obvious because of shortcomings in the next two criteria.


A well interpreted form allows the observers, even non-martial artists, to understand what the moves are meant represent i.e. a block-punch combination, or an evasion and parry with counter-attack etc... Judges will be looking for indication that the athlete understands the significance of the moves they are performing, and not just waving their hands and feet around in a scripted sequence.


This comprises the major criteria for judging the quality of a form. These include

hard formsBalance and Technique: would those techniques be effective? Is the athlete balanced right for delivering them, is the stance firm, are they on target etc...

Power and speed: would these techniques work if they landed? Are they sharp and delivered with the right breath control? Are they sloppy?

Targeting and focus: does the athlete look like they might be in a fight, or are their thoughts drifting? Are their eyes on the target, or looking at the floor thinking of the next move? What are the timing and/or synchronicity of sequences like ?

Rhythm: a well executed form, even a hard form, can have a rhythmic beauty to it that will appeal even to the non-martial artist observer. Movements are smooth, yet power is evident, balance is good, and the hard/soft and fast/slow aspects of the form contribute to presentation, rather than distract.


Scores are based on a continuum that goes from 7.00 - 9.99, where average performances will normally be rated between 8.00-9.00. The score is of course also dependent on the division, with scores based on an expectation for that division. Thus, a beginner might score in the 9s, just as a black belt might score under 8. A disqualification will be awarded a 5.00.


Penalties are deducted, and displayed, from EACH judge's score AFTER the un-penalised score has first been displayed - i.e. the score the athlete would have received had they not infringed the rules.

0.1 points for exceeding the time limit (3min) for up to 10s, and also for going outside the full ring boundaries, either by stepping out, or having a limb protruding beyond them.

0.3 points for falling, major stumbles, or otherwise unintentionally losing balance so as to interrupt the flow of the form. Minor stumbles will be accounted for by individual judges as part of the of normal scoring process.

0.3 points for forgetting a form FOR JUNIOR GRADES ONLY (i.e. not in the Advanced/Black Belt division). Junior grades may then restart but the penalty will be awarded however good the second try is. Forgetting a second time will result in disqualification.

Disqualification occurs when a weapon is dropped accidentally, an action that could ,or does, damage the mats, forgetting the form the first time(Advanced/Black belt division), forgetting the form the 2nd time (junior grades) or unsportsmanlike behaviour by the any athlete, the athlete’s coach, or the athlete’s team.

Hard forms