ZST (pronounced Zest) is a Japan-based mixed martial arts organization. ZST rules are unique in the MMA world. Much like RINGS, strikes to head on the ground are prohibited. Furthermore, fighters are not allowed to close the guard, gloves are optional - if a fighter chooses not to wear gloves, he is only allowed to use open hand techniques much like early RINGS and Pancrase matches. Much like Muay Thai, music is played throughout the duration of the bout. There are no judges or decisions, except in Grand Prix events. ZST also holds tag-team MMA matches from time to time.
The first ZST event was arranged in 2002 and it has since experienced a dramatic increase in popularity possibly in large part due to their highly different rule format.
ZST-rules in short
- Bouts consist of three rounds with a rest period of one and a half minutes. The first and second rounds are five minutes in duration and the third round is three minutes in duration.
- Punches, elbow strikes, knees and kicks are allowed to the head and body when both fighters are standing.
- On the ground punches, elbow strikes, knees and kicks are only allowed to the body.
- Bouts are not judged: In the event that the bout goes the full time, the bout is ruled a draw.