ITF Sparring Format

The International Taekwon-Do Federation's sparring rules are similar to the WT's rules, but differ in several aspects.

  • Hand attacks to the head are allowed.

  • The scoring system is:

    • 1 Point for: Punch to the body or head.

    • 2 Points for: A kick to the body.

    • 3 Points for: A kick to the head.

  • The competition area is typically a 10×10 meter square in international championships. Circular rings are also used, although generally not under competitive circumstances.


Competitors do not wear the hogu (although they are required to wear approved foot and hand protection equipment, as well as head guards). This scoring system varies between the different ITF organisations.

A continuous point system is utilized in ITF competition, where the fighters are allowed to continue after scoring a technique. Full-force blows are not allowed, and knockouts result in a disqualification of the attacker; although these rules vary between ITF organizations. At the end of two minutes (or some other specified time) the competitor with more scoring techniques wins.

Fouls in ITF sparring include heavy contact, attacking a fallen opponent, leg sweeping, holding/grabbing, intentional attack to a target other than allowed (for example below the belt, attacks to the back).

ITF competitions also feature performances of patterns, breaking, and 'special techniques' (where competitors perform prescribed board breaks at great heights).

ITF competition sparring rounds are 2 minutes, and, in national and international levels of competition, they hold two rounds each 2 minutes with a one-minute rest in between. Certain rules are no strikes below the belt, no elbow strikes, brawling, no falling down, no going outside of the ring, hit to the groin and knee strike are not allowed. The ring is a 9 metre by 9 metre (8 × 8 metre optional) ring marked by square mats or tape instead of a traditional style kickboxing rings with ropes. It has no sides allowing the fighter to move out of bounds. Whenever a fighter creates an infraction of the rules the centre referee will issue a warning to the fighter who created the infraction. 3 warnings equals a minus point. If a fighter uses excessive contact, he or she will be given a foul, which is an automatic minus point; three fouls in a bout results in disqualification. ITF taekwon-do is fought in continuous point sparring. Four judges score the fights in each of the corners in the square ring. After the fight, a judge votes for which ever fighter has the most points and a winner is declared. In the case of a draw the fighters go to a one-minute overtime round. If there is another draw the fighters go to a sudden death round where the fighter who scores first is declared the winner.

The official rules for ITF sparring competition are available at the ITF website.