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  • Writer's pictureGrace Dabir

Sparring: A Point Breakdown

Updated: Sep 22, 2022

Sparring is clearly one of the most captivating parts of martial arts. Its entertaining, and fun to root for your team, and or friends in a match. With that being said, I'm going to break down how points are awarded for sparring in my association of Taekwondo (ATA or the American Taekwondo Association.)

Sparring consists of hand techniques such as punching, or striking, and kicking. There are 2 distinct places where a technique can be awarded a point/points. A body shot, or a kick to the head.

Punch/strike to the body : 1 point

Kick to the body: 1 point

Jump kick to the body: 2 points

Kick to the head: 2 points

Jump kick to the head: 3 points

The first to 5 total points in the span of 2 minutes is the winner of the match.

If an illegal move is conducted, something called a warning is given. If a competitor is given 2 warnings, they are immediately disqualified from the competition.

A "warning" would be

Punch/striking the head

Punch/striking below the belt

Kicking below the belt

Not staying within the bounds of the ring

Excessive contact

Now, one may wonder how safe sparring is. Athletes are required to wear the appropriate gear such as head protection, foot gear, hand gear, a chest protector, a mouthguard, and a cup for men. In some organizations like WT (World Taekwondo), the gear has sensors in the head and chest that can account for when a person scores. This offers insight, as well as when the judges are calling points.

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