Understanding The Sport Of Taekwondo

Understanding The Sport Of Taekwondo Is Much Easier
Than It May Look.
BTW: That’s me in the red!

David Fighting Las Vegas International Tournament

Every tournament is run virtually the same from one tournament to the next. The only real difference is the amount of competitors, location, and length of time for the event.

Tournaments take place all over the world with over 182 total member nations.

A Taekwondo tournament may take anywhere from one day to several days. The longer tournaments take place at the national and international levels.

Let’s take a closer look at the rules and how a Taekwondo match typically runs.

For starters the area that a match takes place on is called a ring, even though it’s a square area. A rings regulation size is 8 meters by 8 meters (26.25 feet by 26.25 feet). Each match (also called a fight) consists of three two-minute rounds with a one minute break in between the rounds.

Judges Table Website

Each ring includes a judge’s table that includes all the technical equipment including the scoreboard and timer. The judge’s have the ability to look at replays of the fight if a call is challenged.

There is one center referee that starts and ends each round and pays close attention to ensure a fair fight.

Three Corner Judges Taekwondo


Seated around the ring are three corner judges who score head kicks and punches. Each judge has an electronic button in both hands to score the hits.

Taekwondo Safety

All sports pay attention to safety and Taekwondo is no different. Each competitor wears a groin cup, mouthpiece, shin guards, forearm guards, gloves, electronic foot protectors (commonly referred to as e-footgear), electronic chest protector (called an e-hogu), and protective headgear. With recent advances in technology Taekwondo has adopted electrons scoring with the e-hogus and e-footgear to help eliminate judging and referee errors.

Taekwondo Scoring

Points are only awarded to each competitor when the e-footgear and e-hogu connect at the right angle along with the proper speed and power. For each scoring kick to the e-hogu earns one point. A kick to the e-hogu that is done with a spin is awarded an extra point, so a maximum amount of two points can be earned from scoring on the body.

Head kicks are awarded when two out of the three corner judges verify a connecting head kick. Scoring head kicks are awarded three points. When a head kick id done with a spin, an extra point is also awarded, so a maximum amount of four points can be earned.

Although Taekwondo mostly involves kicking, punches can also score points. Punches are only awarded when they knock down your opponent or tremble their body. Successful  punches are much more difficult to score in this sport.

You can also knockout your opponent with a devastating head kick or even body shot. Body shots are more difficult, but if your timing is perfect you can knock the wind out of your opponent, and if you are lucky they may not be able to continue the fight.

Taekwondo Rules

We do have a set of rules to follow as well. To begin with it is illegal to kick below the waist. It’s also illegal to punch to the face, but kicks are allowed to the head and face. There is no grabbing of opponents legs, no pushing, no holding of any sort, and you must stay in the ring.

Failure to follow the rules will result in a kyong go (half point deduction) or gam jeon (full point deduction) these are determined by the center referee.

Each fighter wears either blue (chung) or red (hong) equipment. At the beginning of the match the fighters are called out of their sides to the center of the ring. At this point the center referee instructs each fighter to put on their headgear, and bow to each other showing a sign of respect.

Although you want to win and outclass your opponent there is always a level of respect that you must have for your opponent. The referee then call jun bi (known as ready stance) where each fighter assumes a fighting position. The referee then begins the fight.

At the end of the third and final round a winner is determined. Whoever has the most points is the victor. In the event of a tie, there is a fourth round known as sudden death. It’s a full length round where the first point scored wins. At the end of sudden death if there is no point scored the center referee and corner judges decide a winner.

 And Finally…

Once you win a match you move onto the next fight to do the same thing all over again in the course of the journey to the gold medal for the day.

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