Napa Taekwondo Academy

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Taekwondo Rules of Competition




Olympic Sparring Rules of Competition

Colored belt matches shall each normally consist of two rounds of 60-90 seconds (Black belts two to three rounds of 2-3 minutes), with a 30-60 second rest in between rounds.  National and International competition requires a competition ring size of eight meters by eight meters.

Safety Equipment

All contestants shall wear approved trunk protector, head protector, groin guard, forearm protector, shin-instep protector, and a mouth protector. WTF approved Hand gloves are optional, and required for all Black belt divisions.  Jewelry is to be removed and finger and toenails are to be neatly trimmed. Eye glasses are not permitted.  Contestants shall have one (1) minute to conform.

Legal Techniques (Duk-jeom)

One (1) point shall be awarded for each closed fist or kicking technique delivered accurately and with sufficient power to the entire colored area of the torso protector, in the absence of any violations.  Sufficient power in the absence of Electronic sensors is defined as abrupt displacement due to the impact of the strike.  Force of impact using electronic sensors in the trunk protector is measured by the level of force by which points are scored varying by weight division and gender.  Authorized scoring implements are the forefist and any part of the foot below the ankle.

Points shall be awarded for each kicking technique delivered to the all sides of the head above the collarbone, including the facial area. Under Senior (Full-contact) rules for W.T.F. and U.S.A.T. sanctioned tournaments, one (1) point is awarded for legal strikes to the trunk protector, three (3) points are awarded for legal kicks to the head, with (1) additional bonus point awarded for all valid turning kicks (ie. Spin hook, Spin-round kicks/natobaun).  No punching to the head or kicking below the belt is allowed.

One score will automatically be awarded for legal techniques which result in staggering or a knockdown.  A knockdown is defined as an 8-count required by the Referee due to the strike impact of a valid technique, whereupon any part of the body other than the foot touches the ground.  In the case of either a knockdown or staggering, a competitor must demonstrate the ability to continue the match safely, or the referee will continue the count to 10, there upon declaring the winner.

Scoring techniques shall not be delivered to unauthorized areas including directly to the spine.  Foot sweeps and throws are not allowed.  When a contestant scores through the use of a prohibited act, the point(s) shall be annulled.


PROHIBITED ACTSNapa Taekwondo Academy Competition

Warnings (*Kyong-go) +1 Point awarded to Opponent for every 2 declarations:

  1. Falling down.
  2. Avoiding or delaying the match (ie. turning the back to avoid a valid attack, bending below waist level or crouching, pretending injury).
    A penalty will be assessed for a contestant requesting to stop the match for any reason.
  3. Grabbing, Holding, or Pushing the opponent
  4. Attacking below the waist.
  5. Butting or attacking with the knee.
  6. Hitting the opponent’s face with hand or arm.
  7. Attacking an opponent after declaration of “Kal-yeo” (break).
  8. Attacking the fallen opponent.
  9. Crossing the Boundary Line with both feet.
  10. Uttering undesirable remarks or any misconduct on the part of contestant or coach.                                                                                     A penalty shall be assessed if a coach leaves the Coach’s zone and/or chair. A coach may indicate a review request of a possible point scored,
    or lack thereof, by standing and holding up his colored protest card.
  11. Lifting the knee to avoid a valid attack or impede the progress of an attack, as well as lifting a leg without attacking for more than 3 seconds.  This includes lifting the leg and hopping on the other leg for more than 3 seconds, and lifting the leg and doing cut kick action without actual attacking for more than 3 seconds.

The referee will declare “Fight” after 5 seconds of inactivity, and after 10 seconds more of inactivity, the athlete who has given up ground by backing up will receive a warning.

Deductions (*Gam-jeom) +1 Point awarded to Opponent for eachNapa Taekwondo Academy Sparring declaration (serious miconduct of contestant or coach):

  1. Clearly intentional attack to the opponent after declaration of “Kal-yeo” (break).
  2. Clearly intentional attack to the opponent’s face with fist.
  3. Clearly intentional Kick to the opponent below the waist.
  4. Clearly intentional attack to a fallen opponent.
  5. Not complying with the referee’s command or decision.
  6. Inappropriate protesting or criticizing of the official’s decision.
  7. Inappropriate attempts to disturb or influence the outcome of the match.
  8. Fleeing from the competition area to avoid normal technical exchange.  If a contestant attempts to avoid normal technical exchanges by behavior such as crossing the boundary line or intentionally falling down in a repeated manner, the referee may give a Gam-jeom, after a Kyong-go.
  9. Provoking or insulting the opposing contestant or coach.
  10. Anyone other than an accredited doctor/physician seated in the doctor’s position shall result in the declaration of a Gam-jeom.
  11. Any severe misconduct or unsportsmanlike conduct from the contestant or coach.  When misconduct is committed by a contestant or coach during the rest period, the referee can immediately declare the penalty.

The determination of the seriousness of the misconduct is solely at the referee’s discretion.  If misconduct was repeated after a “Kyon-go”, the referee may give a “Gam-jeom”, even for the same behavior.



1. Total of 5 deduction/warning points.

  1. Competitor or coach intentionally disobeys the referee or the competition rules.  Competitor has (1) minute to conform.3. An intentional, illegal strike to an opponent which results in rendering him or her unable to continue the match.
  2. Manipulating, or attempting to manipulate an electronic scoring system.(5) **An excessive kick to a Junior’s head which results in abrasion or bleeding.


**Junior Safety Rules regarding contact to the Head:

U.S.A.T. (U.S.A. Taekwondo) Junior rules state that no contact to the head is allowed for ages 7 and under (All Belts), and 11 and under (Color Belts).

Light, controlled contact is allowed to the head area (entire circumference) for age 8-11 Black belts, and colored (non-black) belt levels age 12-16, and “Ultra” divisions age 35 and over.  Full Contact rules apply to all Belt levels age 17-34, and all Black belts age 12 and over.

Junior Rules include a non-differential point scoring system, with only one (1) point awarded for each legal scoring technique, and without awarding of bonus points.  Excessive contact to the head will stop the time in order for a penalty to be issued, rather than for an 8-count.

NOTE: Inability or lack of desire to continue the match due to a legal techinique is not grounds for the disqualification of an opponent.


Black belt Athletes age 12 and older who qualify at a U.S.A.T. State Championship may compete at National competitions in the World Class Cadet/Jr. divisions, with Senior rules regarding full Head contact.


The winner is determined by superior point totals of successful hits (solid contact) using hands and feet.

With an Electronic scoring system, a point must be confirmed by a minimum of two corner judges within a one (1) second “scoring window” in order to be recorded onto the Scoreboard. Once a scoring window is opened upon one judge indicating a point seen, this window will remain open for one (1) second to be confirmed, regardless of the match duration time.  Penalty points will be taken into account at the time they are recorded, and will appear on the scoreboard.  International competition will include the use of an instant video replay system.

Decision of Superiority

  1. In the case of the tie score by deduction points, the winner shall be the contestant awarded any point or more points throughout the course of the match.
  2. In the case of a tie score other than case 1. above [where both contestants received the same number of points and/or decuctions] the winner shall be decided by one (1) addtitional Overtime/Golden point round. The winner will be declared as the first contestant to be awarded a legal point during this additional round, absent any violations.
  3. Absent an Electronic Scoring system, and in the case of a tie score other than case 1. above [where both contestants received the same number of points and/or deductions] the winner shall be decided by all refereeing officials based on superiority throughout all rounds of the match.
  4. Refering to case 3. [in case that the decision of the judges is not unanimous, the referee shall decide the winner based upon the competitor who has shown the initiative through:a. Technical dominance of an opponent
    through aggressive match management.
    b. The greater number of techniques executed.
    c. The use of the more advanced techniques,
    both in difficulty and complexity.
    d. Display of the better competition manner.

Penalties and prohibited acts are declared by the referee. In the case of multiple penalties being committed simultaneously, the heavier penalty is declared. Penalties are divided into Kyong-go (warning infraction) and Gam-jeom (infraction penalty). Two “Kyong-go” are counted as one (+1) additional point awarded to opposing contestant. However, the last odd Kyong-go is not counted in the grand total. One “Gam-jeom” is counted as one (+1) additional point awarded to opposing contestant. All “Gam-jeom” are counted in the grand total.


Complete U.S.A. Taekwondo Competition Rules & Interpretations