Rules for Taekwondo Sparring

General Rules
  • Mandatory Safety Equipment: Headgear, Taekwondo sparring gloves, mouthpiece, chest protector, forearm guards, groin cup, shin guard, and foot protector.
  • Legal scoring areas:
    • Body: The blue or red covered area of the trunk protector.
    • Head: Padded area of headgear.
  • No Contact areas: Front of face, spine, back of the head, eyes, neck, groin, knees, and legs.
  • Prohibited Techniques: elbows, knees, headbutt, choke, joint locks, sweeps or throws, takedowns, body slam, and knockout punches or kicks. No contact to the back or below the waist. When the opponent is standing on one leg, no kicking or sweeping to the standing leg. Once the opponent is down on the ground, no more attacking is permitted.
  • Contact is not continuous; punching and kicking with light force only.
  • If there are less than 2 competitors in an age group, the judges reserve the right to combine age groups.

Duration of Bout

  • Each bout is 3 rounds; each round is 2 minutes with 1 minute rest in between each round.

Scoring Points

  • (1) point for a valid attack on the trunk protector
  • (2) points for a kick on the trunk protector.
  • (3) points for a back kick on the chest protector, (3) points for a turning kick on the chest protector, (3) points for a kick on the padded area of the headgear.
  • (4) points for a turning kick on the padded area of the headgear.

Awarding Points

  • If the referee sees an action that is considered to be a valid point, the referee will command STOP and immediately signal the point.
  • If one of the judges sees an action that is considered to be a valid point, the judge must signal to the referee immediately, the referee will command STOP and immediately signal the point.
  • After the referee commands STOP, each judge must make an immediate decision by hand-pointing to the competitor who is to receive the valid point. The referee counts the decisions of the judges and then point to the appropriate competitor being awarded the score. Points can be awarded when there is a clear majority call from the judges.

The Winner of the Bout is Determined By

  • The winner is the competitor with the most points at the end of the bout.
  • No warnings are given if a competitor commits a foul, and the competitor’s opponent is given 1 point.
  • Forfeit by a competitor or his/her coach result in an automatic win for the competitor’s opponent.
    • To forfeit, the competitor has to raise one hand and then verbally tell the referee that he/she is forfeiting this bout.
    • The competitor’s coach can also make the decision to forfeit by throwing in a white towel.

Warning

  • Punching and kicking with heavy force.
  • Punching and kicking to the “No Contact” areas.
  • Using “Prohibited Techniques” against the opponent.
  • Using performance-enhancing drugs prior or during the bout.
  • Disrespecting the referee, judges, or the opponent.
  • Disregards the instructions of the referee and the judges.
  • The referee has the right to disqualify a competitor from the bout or competition if:
    • The competitor commits 3 or more fouls.
    • The competitor engages in unsportsmanlike conducts.
    • The competitor injures his/her opponent using prohibited techniques or attacks to the no contact area, depending on the seriousness of the injury.
  • The referee has the right to stop the contest if:
    • There is a big gap in the skill level between the 2 competitors. The competitor with the skill advantage wins the bout.
    • A competitor is injured as a result of a legal maneuver, depending upon the seriousness of the injury. The opponent wins the bout.
  • Courtesy Rule: Salute to the judges first and then competitors salute to each other before the bout begins. After the bout finishes, salute to the judges again and then competitors salute to each other.

Weight Classes

48kg & under (upper limit: 105.8 lbs)
48.1kg – 52kg (upper limit: 114.6 lbs)
52.1kg – 56kg (upper limit: 123.5 lbs)
56.1kg – 60kg (upper limit: 132.2 lbs)
60.1kg – 65kg (upper limit: 143.3 lbs)
65.1kg – 70kg (upper limit: 154.3 lbs)
70.1kg – 75kg (upper limit: 165.3 lbs)
75.1kg (176.4 lbs) & above
  • Youth groups 17 yrs & under are not categorized by weight.
  • If there are less than 2 competitors in a weight class, the judges reserve the right to combine weight classes.