The full contact sparring discipline of taekwondo is an Olympic sport and is the most widely known and watched discipline. Olympic taekwondo events, as well as World, Continental, Grand Prix, Grand Slam and other G-ranking events, are organised under the auspices of the World Taekwondo (WT – formerly the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF)). In this discipline both hand and foot attacks to the body are permitted but only kicks to the head are allowed in competition. The scoring system differentiates points based on the weapon and target area, awarding them as follows :
- One (1) point for a valid punch to the trunk protector
- Two (2) points for a valid kick to the trunk protector
- Three (3) points for a valid kick to the head
- Four (4) points for a valid turning kick to the trunk protector
- Five (5) points for a valid turning kick to the head
Competitors wear chest protectors, arm, shin, groin and head guards. Bouts of up to 3 x 2 minutes of continuous sparring are scored electronically by the judges or by an electronic Protector Scoring System built into the chest and head guards. Competitors win by points (higher total points at end of bout), points gap (having more than a 20 point lead in the third round), TKO (cannot continue or knocked out opponent), and golden score (the first to score 2 or more points in a deciding 4th round). Penalties are given as points to the opponent for infringements including stepping out of the ring, falling down, holding/grabbing, attacking a fallen opponent, inaction, and punching to the face.
As an Olympic sport WT rules taekwondo is widely practised and participation is growing rapidly throughout the world. With BOA funded programmes in the UK and a highly competitive international competition circuit, there are routes for talented players to become full time professional athletes in the sport and pursue their Olympic dreams.
For detailed university taekwondo tournament rules and regulations please visit the General Entry Information section.