The Sport of Tae Kwon Do
Tae Kwon Do is an exciting Olympic Sport,
which is played in almost every country in the World.
These are the official rules:
World Taekwondo Federation
Article 1. Purpose
The Purpose of the competition rules is to manage fairly and smoothly
all matters pertaining to competitions of all levels to be promoted
and/or organized by the WTF, Regional Unions and any member National
Associations ensuring the application of standarzed rules.
Interpretation: The objective of Article 1 is to ensure the
standardization of all Taekwondo competitions
worldwide. Any competitions not following the
fundamental principles of these rules cannot be
recognized as Taekwondo competition.
Article 2. Application
The Competition Rules shall apply to all the competitions to be promoted
and/or organized by the WTF, each Regional Union and member National
However, any member National Association wishing to modify some part
of the Competition Rules must first gain the approval of the WTF.
Explanation(1) : First gain the approval. Any organization desiring to
make a change in some portion of the existing rules must
submit to the WTF the contents of the desired amendment
along with the reasons for the desired change. Approval
for any changes in these rules must be received from the
WTF one month prior to the scheduled competition.
Explanation(2) : a) Change of weight category,
b) Increase of decrease of the number of IR's,
c) Change of positions for the Head of Court Inspector,
and Commission Doctor etc., and
d) duration of contest etc. are subjects to be included
in the category of subjects which may be modified after
first gaining the approval of the WTF; however, such
matters as valid points, warnings and deductions and
the competition area are not to be changed under any
Article 3. Competition Area
The competition area shall measure 12m X 12m in the metric system and have
a flat surface without any obstructing projections. The competition area
shall be covered with an elastic mat.
However, the competition area may be installed on a platform 50cm - 60cm
high from the base, if necessary, and the outer part of the Boundary Line
shall be inclined with a gradient of less than 30 degrees for the safety
of the safety of the contestants.
1. Demarcation of the Competition Area
i) The 8m X 8m area in the inner part of the Competition Area of
12m X 12m shall be called the Contest Area and the outer part of
the Contest Area shall be called the Alert Area.
ii) The demarcation of the Contest Area and the Alert Area shall be
distinguished by the different colors of indicated by a while
line 5cm wide when the entire surface is one color.
iii) The demarcation line between the Contest Area and the Alert Area
shall be called the Alert Line and the marginal line of the
Competition Area shall be called the Boundary line.
2. Indication of positions
i) Position of the Referee
The position of the Referee shall be marked at a point 150 cm
back from the center point of the Competition Area to the opposite
side of the Head of Court's seat, and designated as the Referee's
ii) Position of the Judges
The position of the Judges shall be marked at a point 50 cm outwards
from each corner of the Boundary Line facing towards the center point
of the Competition Area.
iii) Position of the Head of Court
The position of the Head of Court shall be marked at least 100 cm
away from the Boundary Line facing the Referee's Mark.
iv) Position of the Recorder
The position of the Recorder shall be marked at a point 300 cm
to the right and 100 cm back from the position of the Head of
v) Position of the Commission Doctor
The position of the Commission Doctor shall be marked at a point
600 cm to the right side of the position of the Recorder.
vi) Position of the Contestants Position of the contestants shall be
marked at a point 100 cm to the left and right sides of the
center point of the Contest Area facing towards the position of
the Head of Court. The left side shall be the Red Contest's
Mark and the right side shall be the Blue Contestant's Mark.
vii) Position of the Coaches
The position of the coaches shall be marked at a point at least
100 cm away from the Boundary Line of each contestant's side.
viii) Position of the Inspection Desk
The position of the inspection desk shall be near the entrance
of the Competition Area for inspection of the contestant's
Explanation (3) : Color
The color scheme of the mat's surface must avoid
giving a harsh reflection, or tiring the contetant's
or spectator's eyesight. The color scheme must also
be appropriately matched to the competitor's equipment,
uniform and the competition surface.
Explanation (4) : The Alert Line
In principle, the Alert Line should be a white color,
however, according to the prevailing circumstances,
another color may be used as long as it is not an
impediment to the competition.
Explanation (5) : Inspection Desk
At the Inspection Desk, the inspector checks if all the
materials worn by the contestant are WTF approved and fit
the contestant properly. In case they are found to be
inappropriate, the contestant shall be kept from entering
Guidelines for Officiating (1) :
Judgement of the validity of techniques is related to the boundaries
of the Competition Area and is dependent on the timing of the
Referee's declaration of Kalyeo. Any actions occurring before the
declaration of kalyeo are, in principle, valid without consideration
to the location in which the actions occur.
The Referee bases the declaration of Kalyeo partially on the relative
position of the contestants to the Alert Line, and the contestants
and Judges base their respective actions and decisions partially on
the Referee's declaration of Kalyeo.
The Referee's criterion for the declaration of Kalyeo is the point
at which one foot of either contestant crosses the Alert Line. To
declare Kalyeo in the absence of violations or safety considerations,
or before one foot of either contestant crosses the Alert Line is
irregular, however, dependent on the circumstances of the match,
these instantaneous decisions follow the judgement of the Referee.
When the Referee deems it appropriate to allow the match to continue
uninterrupted until that instant when both contestants have completely
crossed over the Alert Line, the Referee may do so and can declare
Kalyeo at his/her discretion.
Guidelines for Officiating (2):
A. The Referee must have a full understanding of the Competition
Area's dimensions and of the application of these dimensions
B. The Referee must utilize the full limits of the Competition
Area in order to avoid excessive interruption of the match.
However, when a contestant leaves the Alert Area for the purpose
of negative game management or to avoid the exchange of techniques,
the Referee must declare Kalyeo and assess a penalty.
C. When both feet or both contestants have crossed the Alert Line the
Referee must declare Kalyeo and, if there is any hesitation on the
part of the Referee to declare Kalyeo in this situation,
responsibility for any occurrence must be borne by the Referee.
Article 4. Contestants
1. Qualification of contestants
i) Holder of the Nationality of the participating team.
ii) One recommended by the National Taekwondo Federation.
iii) Holder of Taekwondo dan certificate issued by the Kukkiwon/WTF.
2. The costume for contestants
i) The contestant shall wear a Taekwondo uniform (Dobok) and
protectors recognized by the WTF.
ii) The contestant shall wear the trunk protector, head protector,
groin guard, forearm and shin guards before entering the
contest area and the groin guards, forearm and shin guards
shall be worn inside the Taekwondo uniform.
iii) The contestant shall wear the contestant's number on the back
of the uniform.
3. Medical control
i) The use or administration of drugs or chemical substances
described in the IOC doping by-laws is prohibited.
ii) The WTF may carry out any medical testing deemed necessary
to ascertain if a contestant has committed a breach of this
rule, and any winner who refuses to undergo this testing or
who proves to have committed such a breach shall be removed
=from the final standings.
Interpretation : A contestant's eligibility is established by meeting
all three requirements listed above in Section 1
"Qualification of contestants"
Explanation (1) : Holder of the nationality of the participating team
When a contestant is a representative of a national
team, the criterion of nationality is holder of
citizenship of the country he/she is representing before
submission of the application to participate. Verification
of citizenship is done by inspection of the passport.
In the event that a competitor holds more than one
citizenship, the choice of participation is the decision
of the competitor.
Explanation (2) : Constestant's number
For adults, the size of the number patch shall be 25cm X 25cm
and be made of cloth, worn on the ack of the uniform.
Explanation (3) : Forfeiture of standings
The record shall be transferred to the contestants next in
line in the competition standings according to the procedure
established in these by - laws.
Article 5. Weight Divisions
1. Weights are divided into male and female divisions.
2. Weight divisions are divided as follows.
Interpretation : A Taekwondo tournament is a competition which is
decided, within the rules, by direct physical contact
and forceful physical collisions between contestants.
In order to reduce the impact of the inequality in
relative factors between contestants and ensure safety as
well as create equal conditions for the exchange of techniques,
the weight division system was established.
The division of men and women into separate categories, men
competing against men and women competing only against women,
is a fundamental rule.
Explanation (1) : Not exceeding
The weight limit is defined by the criterion of two decimal
places away from the stated limit (in hundreths). For
example, not exceeding 50 kg is established as up to with
50.00 kg inclusive of 50.009 with 50.01 being over the limit.
Explanation (2) : Over
Over the 50.00 kg mark occurs at the 50.01 kg reading and
49.99 kg is regarded as insufficient with both readings
resulting in disqualification.
Article 6. Classification and Methods of Competitions
1. Competitions are divided as follows:
i) Individual competition shall normally be between contestants
in the same weight class. When necessary, adjoining weight
classes may be combined to create a single classification.
ii) Team competition;
Systems of Competition
(a) Five (5) contestants with no weight limit.
(b) Eight (8) contestants by weight classification.
(c) Four (4) contestants by weight classification (consolidation
of the eight weight classifications into four weight categories
by combining two adjoining weight classes).
2. Systems of competition are divided as follows:
i) Single elimination tournament system.
ii) Round Robin system.
3. All internation-level competitions recognized by the WTF shall be formed
with participation of at least 3 countries with no less than 3 contestants
cannot recognized in the official results.
A. In the tournament system, competition is founded on an individual
basis. However, the team standings can also be determined by the
results of the individual standings according to the overall
B. In the team competition system, the outcome of each team competition
is determined by the individual team results.
Explanation (1) : Consolidation of the weight divisions
The method of consolidation and the names of the consolidated
divisions are as follow :
Explanation (2) : Five person team match
In the five person team match format there exists no
designated weight classifications. The winning team
is the one which records three or more victories. The
order of matches by the names of the contestants must
be submitted in writing before the competition begins.
Up to two people may be designated as substitutes, however,
their names and substitution order must be submitted in
writing before the match.
However, the system of five contestants with no weight limit
may be applied by modifying the consolidated weight
classification plus one contestant with no weight limit as
Explanation (3) : Eight weight class format
According to competition in eight weight classes, the
team winning five or more divisions is victorious. In
the event that the team match cannot be decided to due
a tied score (four or four), each team shall designate a
representative to fight a tie-break match.
In this format a contestant may not be substituted from
outside the original eight members.
C. In the above format, if before all matches have been conducted, one
team achieves a majority of victories, the remaining matches should,
in principle, also be conducted. If the losing team wishes to
forfeit the remaining matches, the result shall be recorded as a
loss due to disqualification without consideration for the
Article 7. Duration of Contest
The duration of the contest shall be three rounds of three minutes with
one minute of rest between rounds in male and female divisions. However,
the duration of the contest may be shortened to three rounds of two
minutes with one minute of rest between rounds.
Article 8. Drawing Lots
1. The drawing of lots shall be conducted one day prior to the first
competition in the presence of WTF officials and the representative
of the participating nations, and the drawing of lots shall be done
from Fin weight up in the English alphabetical order of the official
names of the participating nations.
2. Officials shall be designated to draw lots on behalf of the officials
of participating nations not present at the drawing.
3. The order of the draw may be changed according to the decision of the
Head of Team meeting.
Article 9. Weigh-In
1. Weigh-in of the contestants on the day of competition shall be
completed one hour prior to the competition.
2. Weigh-in shall be conducted in the nude.
3. Weigh-in shall be made once, however, one more weigh-in is granted
within the time limit for official weigh-in to the contestant who
did not qualify the first time.
4. So as not to be disqualified during official weigh-in, a scale, the
same as the official one, shall be provided at the contestants place
of accommodation or at the arena for preweigh-in.
Explanation (1): The contestants on the day of competition
This is defined as those contestants who are listed to
compete on a scheduled day by the competition Organizing
Committee or the WTF.
One hour prior to competition -
The time for weigh-in will be previously decided and
announced by the Organizing Committee prior to the competition.
The weigh-in must be completed, without exception, one hour
prior to the start of the competition.
Explanation (2): A separate site for the weigh-in shall be installed for the
female contestants whose weigh-in must be conducted by a female
official in charge.
Explanation (3): Disqualification during official weigh-in
The practice scale must be of the same type and calibrations as
that of the official scale and these facts must be verified prior
to the competition by the Organizing Committee.
Article 10. Procedure of the Contest
1. Call for contestants
The name of the contestants shall be announced three times beginning
three minutes prior to the scheduled start of the contest.
The contestants who fails to appear in the contest area within one
minute after the scheduled start of the competition shall be regarded
2. Physical and costume inspection.
After being called, the contestants shall undergo physical and costume
inspection at the designated inspection desk, and the contestant shall
not show any signs of aversion, and also shall not bear any materials
which could cause harm to the other contestant.
3. Entering the competition area
After inspection, the contestant shall enter into the waiting position
with one coach.
4. Start and end of the contest
The contest in each round shall begin with the declaration of Shijak (start)
by the Referee and shall end with the declaration of Keuman (stop) by the
5. Procedures before the beginning and after the end of the contest
a) The contestants shall turn to the Head of Court and make a standing
bow at the Referee's command of Charyeot (attention) and Kyeong-rye (bow).
A standing bow shall be made from the natural standing posture of Charyeot
by inclining forward at the waist to an angle of more than 30 degrees
with the head inclined to an angle of more than 45 degrees and the
fists clenched at the sides of the legs.
b) The contestants shall face each other and exchange a standing bow at the
Referee's command of Jwawoohyangwoo (face each other), Kyeong-rye (bow).
c) The Referee shall start the contest by commanding Joonbi (ready), and
d) After the end of the last round, the contestants shall stand at their
respective positions facing each other and exchange a standing bow at
the Referee's command of Charyeot, Kyeong-rye, and then shall turn to
the Head of Court and make a standing bow at the Referee's command of
Jwawoohyangwoo, Kyeongrye, and then wait for the Referee's declaration
of the decision in a standing posture.
e) The Referee shall declare the winner by raising the winner's hand
according to the result of the contest. However, when the winner is
unable to stand at his/her position due to injury, the Referee shall
declare the winner by raising his/her own hand to the winner's side.
f) Retirement of the contestant.
6. Contest procedure in team competition
a) Both teams shall ilne up in column in the submitted team order
facing the Head of Court.
b) Procedures before the beginning and after the end of the contest shall
be conducted as in item 5, of this Article.
c) both teams shall leave the Contest Area and stand by at the designated
area for each contestant's match.
d) Both teams shall line up in the Contest area immediately after the end
of the final match facing each other.
e) The Referee shall declare the winning team by raising his/her own hand
to the winning team's side.
Article 11. Permitted Techniques and Areas
1. Permitted techniques
a) Fist techniques: Delivering techniques by using the front parts of
the forefinger and middle finger of the tightly
b) Foot techniques: Delivering techniques by using the part of the foot
below the ankle bone.
2. Permitted areas
Within the limits of the area from a horizontal line at the base of
the Acromion down to a horizontal line at the iliac crest, attack by
fist and foot techniques are permitted.
However, such attacks shall not be made on the part of the back not
covered by the trunk protector.
This area is the front part of the face on the basis of a coronal
line at both ears and attack by foot technique only is permitted.
Explanation (1): Fist techniques
In the original Korean terminology of techniques, the
term "Parun-ju-mok" can be interpreted as a correctly
clenched fist. Therefore, striking with the front
part of the middle and forefinger knuckles of the
correctly clenched fist is permitted without consideration
of the angle, trajectory, or fist placement of the strike.
Explanation (2): Foot techniques
Any striking techniques using the part of the foot below
the ankle bone are legal, whereas any others using the
part of the leg above that bone, i.e. part of the shin or
knee, etc. are not permitted. However, any attack against
the face which involves inadvertent use of the lower part
of the leg is permitted.
Explanation (3): Trunk
As depicted in the following illustration, the area between
the Acromion and the lliac crest of the pelvis is the legal
attacking area. This legal atacking area is demarcated during
the actual competition by the area of the body covered by the
In accordance with the weight class and body type of the
competitor, use of the proper size body protector must be
strictly checked by the officials.
Explanation (4): Face
As depicted in the following illustration, this is the part
of the face forward of a vertical line at both ears. This
includes the throat above the collar bone as part of the face.
Artlcle 12. Valid Points
1. Legal scoring areas
a) Mid-section of the trunk:
The abdomen and both sides of the flank.
b) Face : The permitted parts of the face.
2. Points shall be awarded when permitted techniques are delivered
accurately and powerfully to the legal scoring areas of the body.
However, when a contestant is knocked down as a result of the opponent's
attack on a part of the trunk protector which is not part of a legal
scoring area, such a technique shall be regarded as a point.
3. Each scoring technique shall earn 1 (plus one) point.
4. Match score shall be the sum of points of the three rounds.
5. Invalidation of points. When the following are committed, the delivered
technique will not be scored.
a) Intentionally falling, immediately after delivery of the legitimate
b) Comitting an illegal act after delivery of the legitimate technique.
c) Use of any of the prohibited actions.
Explanation(1) : Legal scoring areas:
Trunk - The valid scoring areas of the trunk are divided into
A. The abdomen
B. Both flanks
The size of each scoring area is depicted in the following
Face -The same as the permitted parts of the face.
Explanation(2) : Accuracy
This means the proper aspect of a legal attacking technique, fully
contacting within the designated limits of a legal target area.
Explanation(3) : Power
A. In the use of electronic scoring body protector:
Criterion for the face of impact which must be registered by
the electronic scoring method in order to record a point, is
determined by weight division and sex of the competitor.
B. Trunk protector not equipped with electronics:
Suficient power is demonstrated when the opponent's body is
abruptly displaced by the impact of the strike.
Explanation(4) : Such a technique shall be regarded as a point
When a contestant loses the functional ability to pursue the
match according to one of the following conditions, the Referee
must start a count and the Judges must award a point.
A. The contestant is knocked down by the power of the technique's
B. The contestant is staggered by the power of the technique's
C. The contestant falls heavily as a result of the technique's
Guidelines for officiating: In the situation where a contestant
falls heavily as a result of the impact of a technique, if that
fall is due in part to the contestant having lost his/her
balance, or been entangled with the other competitor in a
technical exchange, a point cannot be awarded.
Explanation(5) : Invalidation of a point
It is a rule that points gained through illegal techniques
or actions cannot be valid. In this situation the Referee
must indicate invalidation of the point by hand signal and
declare the appropriate penalty.
A. Intentional falling after delivery of an attack;
If a competitor, after delivery of a scoring technique,
seeks to avoid the opponent's counterattack by intentional
falling, the point shall be invalidated.
B. Committing a violation after delivery of a legitimate
If a contestant, after delivery of a scoring technique,
seeks to avoid or impede the opponent's retaliatory
technique by holding, clinching, stepping on or kicking
the opponent's leg, etc. the point is invalid.
However, if the violations occur independently of the
scoring technique, the point remains valid after
declaration of the penalty.
C. Use of any of the prohibited actions:
If a point is gained by utilizing an illegal action or in
combination with an illegal action, the point must be
Guidelines for officiating: In the above situation the Referee
shall immediately declare Kalyeo and shall first
invalidate the point by hand signal, and then declare the
If the situation does not war rant invalidation of the
point, then only the penalty is declared.
Article 13. Scoring and Publication
1. Valid points shall be immediately recorded and publicized.
2. In the use of body protectors not equipped with electronics, valid points
shall be immediately marked by each Judge by using an electronic scoring
instrument or Judge's scoring sheet.
3. In the use of electronic protectors
a) Valid points scored on the midsection of the trunk shall be recorded
automatically by the transmitter the electronic protectors.
b) Valid points scored to the face shall be marked by each Judge by using
the electronic scoring instrument or Judge's scoring sheet.
Interpretation : It is a principle of these rules that points shall be
awarded immediately. This principle must be followed
regardless of the scoring method used.
Explanation(1) : Points shall be immediately recorded
Immediate scoring means awarding the point immediately
after delivery of the scoring technique. Points awarded
after a period of time has elapsed cannot be considered
Expianatlon(2) : Immediately recorded and publicized
A point having been awarded by the Judges shall be
immediately publicized on the scoreboard.
Expianatlon(3) : Use of body protectors not eouiped with electronics
All scoring must be done according to the Judge's own
decision. There must be equipment available which is
capable of immediately conveying the recorded point to
the scoreboard. However, when electronic publication
equipment is not available, the points shall be
immediately recorded on the judge's scoring sheet and
publicized at the end of the round.
Expianatlon(4) : The use of electronic protectors
Scoring techniques striking the body protector will be
Judges will award points resulting from face attacks or
scoring attacks on areas outside of the scoring targets
on the body protector.
Guidelines for Officiating: The Judges will abide by the principle of
immediate scoring regardless of the scoring system. Awarding
a point at the end of the round is a violation of this regulation.
Article 14. Prohibited Acts
1. Penalties on any prohibited acts shall be declared by the Referee.
2. In the case of multiple penalties being committed simultaneously, the
heavier penalty shall be declared.
3. Penalties are divided into Kyong-go(warning penalty) and Gamjeom
(deduction pen- alty).
4. Two Kyong-gos shall be counted as a deduction of one (1) point. However,
the last odd Kyong-go shall not be counted in the grand total.
5. A Gam-jeom shall be counted as a minus one(-1) point.
6. Prohibited acts : Kyong-go penalty.
a) Grabbing the opponent
b) Pushing the opponent with the shoulder, body, hands, or arms.
c) Holding the opponent with the hands or arms
d) Intentionally crossing the Alert Line
e) Evading by turning the back to the opponent
f) Intentionally falling down
g) Pretending injury
h) Attacking with the knee
i) Attacking the groin intentionally
j) Intentionally stomping or kicking any part of the leg or foot
k) Hitting the opponent's face with the hand or fist
l) Gesturing to indicate scoring or deduction by raising hand, etc.
m) Uttering undesirable remarks or any misconduct on the part of the
contestant or the coach
7. Prohibited acts : Gam-jeom penalty.
a) Attacking the fallen opponent
b) Intentional attack after the Referee's declaration of Kalyeo (break)
c) Attacking the back and the back of the head intentionally
d) Attacking the opponent's face severely with the hand or fist
f) Crossing the Boundary Line
g) Throwing the opponent
h) Violent or extreme remarks or behavior on the part of the contestant
or the coach
8. When a contestant refuses to comply with the Competition Rules or the
Referee's order intentionally, the Referee may declare the contestant
the loser by penalties.
9. When a contestant receives minus three(-3)points, the Referee shall
declare him/her the loser by penalties.
10. Kyong-go and Gam-jeom shall be counted in the total score of the three
Interpretation : Objectives in establishing the prohibited acts :
1. To protect the competitors
2. To ensure fair competition management
3. To encourage appropriate or ideal technique
Explanation(1) : Multiple penalties being commited simultaneously
In this instance, only the severer penalty may be
assessed. For instance, if a Kyong-go penalty and
a Gam-jeom penalty occur simultaneously, the
Gam-jeom must be assessed.
If both violations are of equal severity, the Referee
will use his/her own discretion in choosing which penalty
Explanation(2) : Two Kyong-gos shall be counted ps a deduction of
one(1) point-However, the final odd Kyong-go shall have
no value in the total score.
Every two Kyong-gos shall count as a minus one point
regardless of whether the committed violations are the
same or different acts, and regardless of the round in
which they occur.
Explanation(3) : Kyong-go
3-(1) Grabbing the opponent
This includes grabbing any part of the opponent's body uniform
or body protector with the hands. Also included is the act
of grabbing the foot or leg or hocking either one on top of
the forearm. This sub-article shall be applied in punishing
3-(2) Pushing with the shoulder, body and hand
a. Pushing to displace the opponent's balance for the purpose
of gaining an advantage in attacking.
b. Pushing to hinder the opponent's attack or hinder the normal
execution of technique.
c. Pushing the opponent's leg after that leg has been hocked by
the arm or caught by the shoulder.
d. Pushing with the fist, shoulder or head, etc.
3-(3) Holding the opponent with the hand or arm
Pressing the opponent's shoulder with the hand or arm hooking
the opponent's body with the arm with the intention of
hindering the opponent's motion.
If, during the competition the arm is passed beyond the
opponent's shoulder or arm for the above mentioned purpose, a
penalty must be declared.
Guidelines for Officiating: The above three items (the acts of grabbing,
pushing, holding) are the main reasons to denigrate the Taekwondo
competition. It must be recognized that these acts are the primary
means of concealing the discrepancy in technical ability between two
contestants. The contestants must, in principle, maintain an attitude
of sportsmanship with the spirit of fair play, and the Referee must
play a role in managing a competition in which the contestants can
exert their best performance under fair match conditions.
When any of these above mentioned acts occur, a penalty must be
declared immediately upon recognition of a violation regardless of
the severity of the violation. However, if both contestants commit one
of the acts simultaneously, the Referee must be alert to determine
which contestant instigated the violation.
The importance of determining which contestant instigated the
violation is necessary to avoid the ineffective and unjtJst act of
declaring penalties against both contestants. For instance, a
contestant may be holding asa result of being pushed. Under these
circumstances, the Referee must identify the contestant initiating
the illegal action and declare the appropriate penalty against him/
3-(4) Intentionally crossing the alert Line
The purpose of this sub-article is to punish the act of crossing
the Alert Line with the intention of avoiding the attack of the
opponent, or for the purpose of negative match management. Apart from
this, crossing the line without relation to the progress of the
match must also be seen as a violation. However, if the Alert Line is
crossed unintentionally in the course of a technical exchange or, one
contestant is pushed over the line by the opponent's technique,
no penalty is assessed. In this case, determining the intent of
the contestant crossing the line is done by assessment of performance
at the time of crossing the line.
With the exception of the following three cases, crossing the line
must be regarded as intentional and a penalty must be assessed;
A. Crossing the line in the process of executing techniques.
B. Being pushed over the line by the opponent's technique.
C. Unwillingly losing the capability to stay inside the line.
3-(5) Evading by turning the back to the opponent
This act involves turning the, back to avoid the opponent's attack
and the reasons for punishing this action are the lack of a correct
competition attitude and the fact that this act carries inherent
dangers which could result in serious injury. Included in this act is
evading the opponent's attack by ducking or bending actions which
could forfeit the ability to maintain eye contact with the opponent.
3-(6) Intentionally falling
This penalty applies only to the act of fatling with the intention
of avoid the opponent's technique. Therefore, the pena1ty is assessed
when intentional evasion is obvious.
3-(7) Pretending injury
Punishing the absence of the spirit of fair play is the intention
of this sub-article. This means exaggerating injury or indicating pain
in a body part not subjected to a blow for the purpose of demonstrating
the opponent's action as a violation. Also, exaggerating pain for the
purpose of elapsing the game time.
3-(8) Attacking with the knee.
This article relates to an intentional attack with the knee when in
close proximity to the opponent. However, actions such as the following
cannot be punished by this article:
a. when the opponent rushes in abrubtly to initiate a kicking attack.
b. As the result of a discrepancy in gauging distance a blow occurs
3-(9) Attacking the groin
This article applies to an intentional attack to the groin. When a
blow to the groin is caused by the recipient of the blow or occurs in
the course of an exchange of techniques, no penalty is assessed.
3-(10) Intentionally kicking or stomping any part of the leg.
This article applies to strong kicking or stomping actions to any
part of the thigh, knee or shin for the purpose of interfering with
the opponent's technique, or if these actions occur outside the
inadvertent contact of normal technical exchanges.
Contact which is made in the course of connected, progressive
technical actions in the air, which does not give a strong impact to
the opponent can be permitted.
3-(11) Hitting the face with the hand or fist.
This action includes hitting the opponent's face with the hand
(fist), wrist, arm, or elbow.
3-(12) Gesturing to indicate scoring or deduction by raising the hand,
Gesturing means the act of waving the hand or fist in an excessive
manner in relation to the competition content during the match.
Contestants may not express their personal judgements or will regarding
the technical action except by the technique itself.
3-(13) Uttering undersirable remarks or any misconduct on the part of
the contestant or the coach.
In this instance, the undesirable behavior includes physical actions
or attitudes which cannot be accepted from the competitor or coach as
amateur sportsmen or taekwondoists.
Details of these actions:
a. Any actions interfering with the pogress of the competition.
b. Any action or behavior severely criticizing the Referee's decision
or any match officiating by using an irregular method.
c. Physical or verbal behavior insulting the opposing competitor or
d. Loud or excessive coaching.
e. When the contestant does not return to the Competitor's Mark from
the coaching chair immediately upon the command of the Referee or
leaves the competition area for the purpose of advantaging
themselves in the match.
f. When the competitor delays immediate resumption of the match after
the declaration of Kalyeo by taking a delaying or circuitous route
to the point of resumption in spite of the Referee's order.
g. When any unnecessary or undesirable act with regard to the contest
or any behaviour regarding the contest itself which is not within
normally accepted limits is committed.
This article must be understood in relation to Gam-jeom
sub-article 4.8 regarding the degree of illegality and intensity of
In severe cases, sub-article 4.8 is applied and in less severe
cases this sub-article is used, however, if the less severe cases
are repeatedly seen, sub-article 4.8 may be used to penalize them.
In distinguishing the above cases, the authority to do so is the
Referee's alone and cannot be contested. When misconduct is
committed by a contestant or coach during the rest period, the
Referee can immediately declare the penalty and that penalty shall
be recorded on the next round's results.
Explanation(4) : GAM-JEOM
4-(1) Attacking the fallen opponent
This action is extremely dangerous due to the high probability of
injury to the opponent.
The danger arises from;
a. The fallen opponent is in an immediate state of unprotectedness.
b. The impact of any technique which strikes a fallen contestant will
be greater due to the contestant's position. These types of
aggressive actions toward a fallen opponent are not in accordance
with the spirit of Taekwondo and so are not appropriate in
4-(2) Intentional attack after declaration of kalyeo Intentional attack
after declaration of kalyeo must definitely be punished with
Gam-Jeom. However, unavoidable contact is not penalized.
The intentionality of the action is the judgement of the Referee
and the criterion of this judgement is whether or not the
competitor could have halted the action upon hearing the Referee's
declaration of Kalyeo.
Visually recorded data cannot be used in argument of the
Referee's decision in this circumstance.
4-(3) Attacking the back and the back of the head intentionally
The part of the back not covered by the body protector and the back
of the head and prohibited attacking areas. If an attack is
initially directed towards either of these prohibited areas it is
deemed intentional and the competitor must be penalized. Decision
of intentionlity is the judgement of the Referee.
4-(4) Severely attacking the opponent's face with the hands or fist.
Judgement of this violation is made on two-basis;
a. Apparent lack of caution and/or intentionality of the attacker.
b. Impact of the blow and severity of the injury received by the
opponent as well as the opponent's ability to resume the match.
The decision must be made after careful consideration of the
above two factors by the Referee. If the action was deemed
intentional by the Referee, the penalty must be Gam-jeom even
if the impact or injury are slight.
In the case of a lack of caution on the part of the attacker;
a. If the injury is slight the penalty is Kyong-go.
b. If the injury is severe the penalty is Garn-jeom.
An accidental strike to the face shall be penalized by Kyong-go
without regard to the degree of impact or injury.
This sub-article must be applied only on the basis of intentionality.
This action, if accidental, cannot be punished. However, intentional
butting must be penalized with Gam-jeom without exception.
4-(6) Crossing the boundary line.
In principle, ' the competitors must not cross the boundary line at
any time during the course of the match. If a contestant crosses the
Boundary Line for any reason other than inevitable or as the result of
the opponent's techniques, this shall be punished by Gam-jeom.
In particular, crossing the Boundary Line directly after the
declaration of Kolyeo for unwarranted reasons shall be strictly
4-(7) Throwing the opponent.
This action includes the throwing action as a result of grappling
with the hands or legs.
4-(8) Violent or extreme remarks on the part of the contestant or coach.
Refer to Sub-article 13 of the Kyong-go penalties.
Explanation(5): When a competitor refuses may declare the competitor the
loser by penalty;
The Referee can declare a competitor a loser without the
accumulation of minus three(-3) penalty points when the competitor or
coach ignores or violates the inherent prindples of conduct or
fundamental principles of the Competition Rules or the Referee's
Particularly, if the competitor shows the intention to injure or
commit a flagrant violation in spite of the Referee's cautionary
directives, such a competitor must immediately be declared the
loser by penalties.
If the Referee does not declare a competitor loser by penalties in
the above situation where there is the clear potential for danger;
the Head of Court can order the Referee to end the competition
the Referee must obey.
Explanation(6): When the contestant receives -3 points the Referee shall
declare him/her the loser by penalties:
Minus three points means a total accumulation of -3 points without
regard to the classification as to Kyong-go or Gam-jeom. When a
contestant accumulates -3 points, that contestant is automatically the
loser. In this instance, the Referee must declare the other contestant
the winner unconditionally.
Article 15. Decision of Superiority
1. In the case of a tied score by deduction of points, the winner shall be
the contestant awarded any point or more points through the three rounds.
2. In the case of a tied score other than case 1. above(both contestants
received the same number of points and/or deductions), the winner shall
be decided by the Referee based on superiority throughout all three
3. Decision of superiority shall be based on the initiative shown during
Explanation(1): In the case of a tied score by deduction of points
In the scoring procedure the valid point has the highest priority.
Explanatlon(2) : Throughout all three rounds
Assessment of superiority is made on the basis of the overall results
of the match without comparison on a round to round basis and the
decision of superiority is made at the end of the final round.
Explanatlon(3) : The decision of superiority shall be made on the basis of
the initiative shown:
3-(1) The meaning of "initiative" is technical dominance of an opponent
through aggressive match management.
3-(2) If the technical dominance of one competitor or the other cannot
be clearly determined, the Referee may then decide superiority on the
basis of the greater number of techniques executed.
3-(3) If there is no clear difference in the number of techniques
executed, superiority is based on the use of the more advanced
techniques both in difficulty and complexity. For example, the face
kick, spinning kick, or jump kick.
3-(4) If superiority cannot be decided by any of the above criterion,
then it shall be awarded to the competitor displaying the best
Article 16. Decisions
1. Win by K.O.
2. Win by Referee stopping the contest(RSC).
3. Win by score or superiority.
4. Win by withdrawal.
5. Win by disqualification.
6. Win by Referee's punitive declaration.
Explanation(1): Win by K.O.
The Referee declares this result when a competitor cannot resume
competition within 10 seconds after being knocked down by a legitimate
technique. When, as a result of a blow, the Referee determines that a
competitor is not fit to resume competition, this result may be declared
before 10 seconds has elapsed.
Explanatlon(2): Referee stops contest
If it is determined by the judgement of the Referee or Commissioned
Doctor that a contestant cannot continue, even after a one minute recovery
period or, when a contestant disregards the Referee's command to continue,
the Referee shall declare the contest stopped and the other contestant the
Expianation(3): Win by score or superiority
In this case the winner is deterrnined by the final score or the decision
Explanation(4): Win by withdrawal
The winner is determined by the withdrawal of the opponent.
4-(1) When a contestant withdraws from the match due to injury or other
4-(2) When a contestant does not resume the match after the rest period
or fails to respond to the call to begin the match.
4-(3) When the coach throws in a towel to signify forfeiture of the match.
Explanation(5):Win by disqualification
This is the result determined by the contestant's failure in the weigh-in
or when a contestant loses competitor status before the competition begins.
Exianatlon(6):Win by the Referee's punitive declarations
This is the result declared by the Referee after the accumulation of
three minus (-3) points or by the Referee's dedsion according to item #8,
Article 14 of the Competition Rules.
Article 17. Knock Down
1. When any part of the body other than the sole of the foot touches the
floor due to the force of the opponent's delivered technique.
2. When a contestant is staggering and showing no intention or ability to
pursue the match.
3. When the Referee judges that the contestant cannot continue as the result
of any powerful technique having been delivered.
Explanation : Knock - down
A knock-down is defined as a situation in which a contestant is knocked
to the floor or is staggered or unable to respond adequately to the
requirements of the match due to a blow. Even in the absence of these
indications, the Referee may interpret as a knock down, the situation
where, as the result of contact, it would be dangerous to continue or
when there is any question about the safety of a contestant
Article 18. Procedures In the Event Of a Knock-Down
1. When a contestant is knocked down as the result of an opponent's
legitimate attack, the Referee shall take the following measures:
a) The Referee shall keep the attacker away from the downed contestant
by declaration of Kalyeo.
b) The Referee shall count aloud from Hanah (one) up to Yeol (ten) at one
second intervals towards the downed contestant, making hand signals
indicating the passage of time.
c) If the downed contestant stands up during the Referee's count and
desires to continue the fight, the Referee shall continue the count up
to Yeodul(eight), for the recovery of the downed contestant. The
Referee shall then determine if the contestant is fully recovered and,
if so, continue the contest by declaration of Kyesck (continue).
d) When a contestant who has been knocked down cannot demonstrate the
will to resume the contest by the count of Yeodul (eight), the Referee
shall declare the other contestant winner by K.O.
e) The count shall be continued even after the end of the round or the
expiration of the match time.
f) In the event both contestants are knocked down, the Referee shall
continue counting as long as one of the contestants has not
g) When both contestants fail to recover by the count of Yeol, the winner
shall be dedded upon the match score before the occurence of the knock
h) When it is judged by the Referee that a contestant is unable to
continue, the Referee may decide the winner either without counting or
during the counting.
2. Procedures to be followed after the contest.
Any contestant suffering a knockout as the result of a blow to the head,
will not be allowed to compete for the next 30 days. Before entering
a new contest after 30 days, the contestant must be examined by a
physician designated by the national Taekwondo Federation, who must
certify that the contestant is recovered and able to compete.
Explanation(1) : Keep the attacker away
In this situation the standing opponent shall return to the
respective Contestant's Atark, however, if the downed contestant is on
or near the opponents contestants mark, the opponent shall wait at the
Alert Line in front of hisiher coach's chair.
Guidelines for Officiating: The Referee must be constantly prepared for
the sudden occurence of a knock down situation which is usually
characterized by a powerful blow accompanied by dangerous impact. In
this situation, the Referee must declare Kalyeo and begin the count
without any hesitation. The Referee must be particularly careful in
determining when an opponent has been stunned or merely stumbles and
also in differentiating between an opponent who has been knocked down
by the powerful impact of a blow and one who has been pushed or bumped
to the floor while in an unbalanced position.
In the above situations, the Referee must have the ability to
immediately determine if a situation is a knock-down or stunned
condition and must immediately declare Kalyeo and begin the count.
The Referee must have clarity and decisiveness in determining
what constitutes a knock down and in administering the count.
Explanation(2) : In case the downed contestant stands up during the
Referee's count and desires to continue the fight
The primary purpose of counting to protect the contestant. Even if
the contestant desires to continue the match before the count of eight
is reached, the Referee must count until Yeodul (eight) before
resuming the match. Counting to Yeodul is compulsory and cannot be
altered by the Referee.
*Count from one to ten : Hanah, Duhl, Seht, Neht, Daseot, Yeoseot,
Ilgop, Yeodul, Ahop, Yeol
Explanation(3) : The Referee shall then determine if the contestant is
recovered and, if so, continue the contest by the declaration of Kyesok
The Referee must ascertain the ability of the contestant to continue
simultaneously to administering the count. Final confirmation of the
contestant's condition after the count of eight is only procedural
and the Referee must not needlessly pass time before resuming
Expianatlon(4) : When a contestant who has been knocked down cannot
express the will to resume by the count of Yeodul, the Referee shall
announce the other contestant the winner by K.O. after counting to Yeol
The contestant expresses the will to continue the match by gesturing
several times in a fighting position with clenched fists. If the
contestant cannot display this gesture by the count of Yeodul, the
Referee must declare the other contestant the winner after first
counting Ahop and Yeol. Expressing the will to continue after the count
of Yeodul cannot be considered valid.
Even if the contestant expresses the will to resume by the count of
Yeodul, the Referee can continue counting and may declare the contest
over if he/she determines the contestant is incapable of resuming the
Explanation(5) : When it is judged by the Referee that a contestant is
unable to continue:
When a contestant has received an apparently dangerous blow and
has fallen in an urgent condition the Referee can suspend the
count and call for first aid or do so in conjuction with the count.
Guidelines for officiating:
1. The Referee must not spend additional time confirming the
competitor's recovery after counting to Yeodul as a result of
failing to observe the contestant's condition during the
administration of the count.
2. When the contestant clearly recovers before the count of Yeodul and
expresses the will to resume and the Referee can clearly discern the
contestant's condition yet resumption is hampered by the requirement
of medical treatment, the Referee must, first resume the match with
the declaration of Kyesok followed immediately by the declarations
of Kalyeo and Kyeshi and the procedures of Article 19 must then be
Article 19. Procedures for Suspending the Match
1. When a contest is to be stopped due to injury to one or both contestants,
the Referee shall take the following measures:
1) The Referee shall suspend the contest by declaration of Kalyeo and
order the Time-keeper to suspend the time-keeping by declaration of
2) The Referee shall allow the contestant to receive first aid within
3) The contestant who does not demonstrate the will to continue the
contest after one minute, even in the case of a slight injury,
shall be declared the loser by the Referee.
4) In case resumption of the contest is impossible after one minute, the
contestant causing the injury by a prohibited act shall be declared
5) In case both contestants are knocked down and are unable to continue
the contest after one minute, the contest shall be decided upon the
score of the match before the injuries occurred.
6) When if is judged that a contestant's health is at risk due to losing
consciousness or falling in an apparently dangerous condition, the
Referee shall suspend the contest immediately and order first aid to
The Referee shall declare as loser, the contestant causing the injury if
it is deemed to have resulted from a prohibited attack or not. In the
case of the attack being deemed prohibited, shall decide the winner on
the basis of the match score before suspension of the time.
Explanation(1):When the Referee determines that the competition cannot be
continued due to injury or any other emergency situation, the Referee
may take the following measures :
A. If the situation is critical such as a competitor losing
consciousness or suffering a severe injury and time is crucial,
first-aid must immediately be directed and the match closed. In
this case the result of the match will be decided as follows :
i) The causer shall be declared the loser if the outcome was the
result of a prohibited act.
ii) The incapacitated contestant shall be declared the loser if the
outcome was the result of a legal action or accidental,
iii) If the outcome was unrelated to the match contents, the winner
shall be decided by the match score before suspension of the
If the suspension occurs before the end of the first round, the match
shall be invalidated.
B. When the severity of the injury is not serious, the competitor has
one minute after the declaration of Kyeshi in which to receive
i) Permission for medical treatment
When the Referee determines that medical treatment is
necessary, he/she can direct treatment from the Commissioned
ii) Order to resume the match
It is the decision of the Referee whether or not it is
possible for the contestant to resume the match The Referee
at anytime, order the contestant to resume the match within
one minute. The Referee can declare as loser any contestant
who does not follow the order to resume the match.
iii) while the contestant is receiving medical treatment or is in
the process of recovering, 40 seconds after the declaration
of Kyeshi, the Referee begins to loudly announce the passage
of time in five second intervals. When the competitor cannot
return to the Contestant's Mark by the end of the one minute
period, the match results must be declared.
iv) After the declaration of Kyeshi, the one minute time interval
is strictly observed regardless of the commissioned Doctor's
availability. However, when the Doctor's treatment is required
and the Doctor is absent or additional treatment is necessary,
the one minute time limit can be suspended by the judgement
of the Head of Court.
v) If resumption of the match is impossible after one minute,
the decision of the match will be determined according to
Sub article #1. item 1 of this Article.
C. If both contestants become incapacitated and are unable to resume
the match after one minute or urgent conditions arise, the match
result is decided according to the following criteria:
i) If the outcome is the result of a prohibited act by one
contestant, that person shall be the loser.
ii) If the outcome is the result of prohibited acts by both
contestants, both contestants shall lose.
iii) If the outcome was not related to any prohibited act the
result of the match shall be determined by the match score
at the time of suspension of the match. However, if the
suspension occurs before the end of the first round, the
match shall be invalidated and the Organizing Committe will
determine an appropriate time to recontest the match. If, by
the determined rematch time, a contestant is still unable
to compete, that contestant shall be considered withdrawn.
Explanadon(2) : The situations which warrant suspending the match
beyond the above prescribed procedures shall be treated as
A. When uncontrollable circumstances require suspension of the match,
the Head of Court shall suspend the match and follow the directives
of the competition Organizing Committee.
B. If the match is suspended after the completion of the second round
the match shall be determined according to the match score at the
time of suspension if the match cannot be concluded.
C. If the match is suspended before the conclusion of the second
round, a rematch shall, in prindple, be conducted and shall be
held in three full rounds.
Article 20. Referees and Judges
Holders of international Referees Certificate registered by the WTF.
i) The Referee shall have control over the match.
ii) The Referee shall declare Shijak, Keurnan, Kalyei, Kyesok, and
Kyeshi, winner and loser; deduction of points, warnings and
retiring. All the Referee's declarations shall be made when the
results are confirmed.
iii) The Referee shall have the right to make decisions independently
in accordance with the prescribed rules.
iv) The Referee shall not award points.
v) In the case or a tied of scoreless match, the decision of
superiority shall be made by the Referee after the end of
i) The Judges shall mark the valid points immediately.
ii) The Judges shall state their opinions forthrightly when requested
by the Referee.
3. Responsibility for judgement
Decisions made by the Referee and Judges shall be conclusive and they
shall be responsible to the Board of Arbitration for those decisions.
4. Uniform of the Referees and Judges
1) The Referees and Judges shall wear the uniform designated by the WTF.
2) The Referees and Judges shall not carry or take any materials to the
Arena which might interfere with the contest.
Article 21. Head of Court
Holder of the International Referees Certificate with years of experience
in competition management.
1) Overall control and supervision of the pertinent Competition Area.
2) Confirmation of the decision.
3) Evaluation of the Referee's and Judge's performance.
4) Giving a report at any meeting of the Board of Arbitration.
Article 22. Recorder
The Recorder shall time the contest and periods of time-out, suspension, and
also shall record and publicize the awarded points, and/or deduction of
Article 23. Assignment of officials
1. Composition of officials
i) In the use of non-electronical trunk protectors
The officials are composed of one Head of Court, one Referee and
ii) In the use of electronic trunk protectors
The offidals are composed of one Head of Court, one Referee and two
2. Assignment of officials
i) The assignment of the Head of Court, Referee and Judges shall be
made after the contest schedule is fixed.
ii) Referees and Judges with the same nationality as that of either
contestant shall not be assigned to such a contest.
However, an exception shall be made for the Judges when the absolute
number of Referees and Judges is wholly insufficient.
Explanation: The details of the qualifications, duties, organization, etc.,
shall follow the R.Administration Regulations of the WTF.
Article 24. Other Matters not Specified in the Rules
In the case of any matters not specified in the Rules occurring they shall
be dealt with as follows :
1) Matters related to the competition shall be decided through concensus
of the Head of Court and the refereeing officials of the pertinent
2) AIatters which are not related to a specific contest shall be decided
by the Executive Council or its proxy.
Article 25. Arbitration
1. Composition of Board of Arbitration
i) Qualifications : Members of Executive Coundl of the WTF or person of
sufficient Taekwondo experience recommended by WTF President or
ii) Composition : One chairman and less than six members.
iii) Procedures of appointment: The Chairman and members of the Board of
Arbitration will be appointed by the WTF President on the
recommendation of the WTF Secretary General.
2. Responsibility: The Board of Arbitration shall make corrections of
misjudgements according to their decisions regarding protests and take
disciplinary action against the offidals committing misjudgements or any
illegal behavior, the recults of which shall be sent to the Secretariate
of the WTF.
3. Procedures of the protest
i) In the event of an objection to a judgement, a delegate must submit
an application for re-evaluation of the decision (protest application)
together with the prescribed fee to the Board of Arbitration within
10 minutes after the pertinent contest.
ii) Deliberation of re-evaluation shall be carried excluding those members
with the same nationality as that of either contestant concerned, and
resolution on deliberation shall be made by majority.
iii) The members of the Board of Arbitration may summon the Head of Court,
and refereeing officials for confirmation of events.
iv) The resolution made by the Board of Arbitration shall be final and no
further means or appeal will be applied.
4. Other provisions
A video tape recorder shall be set up at each court for deliberation of
Explanation(1) : Excluding those members with the same nationality...; If
there are officials with the same nationality as either
contestant involved. on the Board of Arbitration, those
members must be excluded from the arbitration. In all cases,
the number of Board members must be an odd number. If the
Chairman is the one who is ineligible, a temporary Chairman
must be elected by the remaining members.
Explanation(2) : Deliberation procedures-
1. After reviewing the protest applications, the content of the protest
must be arranged according to the criterion of "acceptable" or
2. If necessary, the Board can hear opinions from the Referee, Judges, or
the Head of Court.
3. If necessary, the Board can review the material evidence of the
decision, such as the written or visual recorded data.
4. After deliberation, the Board holds a ballot to determine a majority
5. The Chairman will make a report documenting the outcome of the
deliberations and shall make this outcome publicly known.
6. Treatment of the decision:
a) Errors in determining the match results, mistakes in calculating the
match score or misidentifying a contestant shall result in the
decision being reversed.
b) Error in application of the rules-When it is determined by the Board
that the Referee made a clear error in applying the competition
rules, the outcome of the error shall be corrected and the Referee
c) Errors in factual judgement-When the Board decides that there was
clearly an error in judging the facts such as impact of striking,
severity of action or conduct, intentionality, timing of an act in
relation to a declaration or area, the decision shall not be changed
and the officials seen to have made the error shall be reprimanded.
These Competition Rules came into effect October 7, 1990.
[ Return to The Tae Kwon Do Network ] [ E-mail ]