Different schools may observe different sets of rules for a sparring match according to their needs, the ability of the student, and the particular federation or association witch the school is affiliated to.
Here we have posted a "basic" set of rules to follow when sparring. Remember when you visit other schools, to review and understand their rules prior to a match. For an official Olympic and WTF set of rules, read below.
Basic Sparring Rules
- Controlled valid attack or simple kick to trunk: One point.
- Controlled kick to the body with a turning kick: Two points.
- Controlled kick to the head: Three points.
- Controled turning kick to the head: Four points.
Olympic Sparring Zone Layout
Boundary lines: B 1-4; Corner Judges: J-1, J-2, J-3; Center Referee: R; Coach (Red/Hong): C-R; Coach (Blue/Chung): C-B; Team Doctor: DOC; Commission Doctor: Doctor; Instant Video Replay Review Jury: IVR; Technical Delegate & Competition Supervisor Board: TD & CSB.
Every competitor must wear a standardized head guard, mouth guard, trunk-protector (Hogu), shin guards and wrist guards. Other protection equipment is optional.
For colored belts (below black belt), each match comprises of three rounds and each round lasts one minute with a 30 second interval between them. Black belt rounds last two minutes with a one minute interval in between. During a round, the action is non-stop and the judges score points according to the strength of the technique, its style and the point of contact. Punches to the head are banned, as are many types of jumping spinning kicks. Attacking below the waist or while a competitor is on the ground is not permitted. Illegal moves result in the perpetrators scores being annulled and can lead to disqualification. According to the new WTF rules, points are award in a 1-2-3-4 point system as follows:
Legal Scoring Areas:
Body: The blue or red colored area of the body protector.
Points shall be awarded when permitted techniques are delivered accurately and powerfully to the legal scoring areas of body and accurately to the legal scoring areas of head. The valid points are divided as follows:
Click on the image above for a complete set of the official WTF Olympic Taekwondo competition rules (in force as of 4/3/2012). In force as of April 3, 2012
In force as of April 3, 2012
Three penalty points result in an automatic disqualification.
There are two types of penalties:
The score is calculated from all three rounds. If any one competitor achieves a lead of seven points then the match is stopped and he is declared a winner. Likewise, if one Taekwondo competitor reaches twelve points, he is declared the winner. In the event of a three round 'tie', a fourth 'sudden death' round is fought, after a one minute rest.
You can check an Official WTF Taekwondo Competition Rules video in our video section, for a brief preview of these rules, just click in the link below:
Please note that, WTF rules were revised on 2009, some of the old rules where changed or modified. For a complete set of updated rules, please click in the word Rules or in the image below.