The ITF rules sparring is a continuous, semi-contact sparring discipline promoted by three International Taekwondo Federations and a number of other organisations worldwide. In competition hand and foot attacks to both the head and the body are allowed, and the scoring system differentiates points based on the weapon and target area, awarding them as follows:
- One (1) point: any valid hand technique to a target area, or foot technique to the mid-section area
- Two (2) points: any valid jumping hand technique to a target area, jumping foot technique to the mid-section area, or foot technique to the high-section area
- Three (3) points: any valid jumping foot technique to the high-section area
Competitors wear foot and hand protection equipment, as well as groin and head guards. Bouts of 2×2 minutes of continuous sparring are scored by three to five judges, full-force blows are not allowed, and knockouts result in a disqualification of the attacker, with the precise rules varying between the various organisations. At the end of the bout judges declare whichever competitor scored the most points the winner. Fouls in ITF rules sparring include heavy contact, attacking a fallen opponent, leg sweeping, holding/grabbing, intentional attack to a target other than allowed for example, attacks below the belt.
ITF rules Taekwondo is hugely popular, with a wide variety of organisations offering an enormous number of national, continental and world events. Experienced competitors in this discipline often also compete in semi contact kickboxing rules tournaments which share a similar rule-set.