Taekwondo is practiced in gyms indoor on mats, which is a surface made of synthetic material with an area of 12 mฒ. Two colored bars indicate where competitors must stand at the beginning of the match.
There are only sparring events, in which rules are "full contact". There are individual and team competitions.
Practitioners wear protective equipment (Hogu) such as thick chest padding and foam rubber head gear, but anything on their hands. Punching to the face is considered illegal.
One must hit the opponent's body the largest number of times. Punches are given only in the chest of the opponent and kicks can hit any part of the body above the waist.
Each match has three semi-continuous rounds of contact, with one minute's rest between rounds.
A victory can be obtained:
By KO - a count of ten, when one of the competitors falls to the ground, as in Boxing.
By points - a strike on chest protector is worth one point, while on the head is worth three, an additional point is awarded if it was a turning kick.
By disqualification - if a practitioner has an unsporting behavior or hit forbidden parts of the body of the opponent.
There may be a fourth "sudden death" overtime round in a tie. A "Golden Point" is held to determine the winner after a one-minute rest period. The first competitor to score a point wins the match. If the tie still persists, the winner is decided by superiority, as determined by the refereeing officials.
An important part of ITF competition are patterns, special techniques, power, and team events.
Practitioners wear foam rubber hand and foot pads. The back, back of the head, and anywhere below the belt are illegal targets. Contact is restricted to "touch contact".
The ITF's sparring rules are similar to the WTF's rules, although there are some differences:
Hand and foot attacks to the head are allowed.
The competition area may vary between 10ื10 meters and 20ื20 meters in international championships.
The scoring system is:
1 point for: Punch to the body or head.
2 points for: Kick to the body.
3 points for: Kick to the head.
Weight categories (WTF)
The weight categories differ for international competitions (eight) and those used in Olympics (four).
World Junior Taekwondo Championships (Aged 14 through 17): 10 weight classes for men and women respectively.
|Fin||- 45kg||- 42kg|
|Fly||45kg - 48kg||42kg - 44kg|
|Bantam||48kg - 51kg||4kg - 46kg|
|Feather||51kg - 55kg||46kg - 49kg|
|Light||55kg - 59kg||49kg - 52kg|
|Welter||59kg - 63kg||52kg - 55kg|
|Light Middle||63kg - 68kg||55kg - 59kg|
|Middle||68kg - 73kg||59kg - 63kg|
|Light Heavy||73kg - 78kg||63kg - 68kg|
World Taekwondo Championships/ Womens World Taekwondo Championships/ World Cup Taekwondo (aged 15 or higher): 8 weight classes for men and women respectively.
|Fin||- 54kg||- 47kg|
|Fly||54kg - 58kg||47kg-51kg|
|Bantam||58kg - 62kg||51kg - 55kg|
|Feather||62kg - 67kg||55kg - 59kg|
|Light||67kg - 72kg||59kg - 63kg|
|Welter||72kg - 78kg||63kg - 67kg|
|Middle||78kg - 84kg||67kg - 72kg|
Olympic Games Taekwondo (beginning at Sydney 2000): respective four weight classes for men and women.
|- 58kg (under 58kg)||-49kg (under 49kg)|
|- 68kg (under 68kg)||- 57kg (under 57kg)|
|- 80kg (under 80kg)||- 67kg (under 67kg)|
|+ 80kg (over 80kg)||+ 67kg (over 67kg)|