WTF Sparring: why it is the way that it is.

Discussion in 'Tae-Kwon-Do' started by Daniel Sullivan, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    The question of why fighters in WTF tournaments and the Olympics utilize a particular stance and guard was asked in another thread. Rather than derail that thread, I started this one. I have not competed in many several years and have never competed with electronic hogu, so my information may not be the most up to date, though the essentials haven't changed.

    World Taekwondo Federation sparring rules mandate that participants wear a hogu and homyun. The hogu protect the torso and are reversible; one side red, the other blue, which allows participants to be easily distinguished by color. The primary reason for the hogu, however, is to allow kicks to the torso above the belt and below the chest without undue injury to the person receiving the kick. The homyun protects the head. Electric hogu to facilitate scoring is utilized at the national and international levels in order to facilitate consistent scoring. The benefits of electric scoring have been a source of debate and is outside of the context of this thread.

    Kicks are the primary technical element used for scoring and the rule set is set up to both emphasize kicks and to make use of the extended range kicking allows over hand techniques. Kicks to the head or face score three points and punches are not allowed above the torso area. Blows to the body, be they punches or kicks, are worth one point, but spinning kicks, including the back kick, are worth two. Strikes must be delivered with "trembling shock" in order to score. Matches are continuous, meaning that after a score is tallied, the match is not stopped to reset the opponents.

    Because blows to the head are worth more points, high kicking is encouraged. Because spinning kicks to the body are worth more points than non-spinning kicks, these are encouraged. While punches to the body are worth one point, it is difficult to score with punches. Punches tend to be used more to off balance an opponent and/or to set him/her up for a kicking attack, or to create some space. Only straight punches to the body are scored.

    Because the body is both closer and much larger than the head, it is still the most obvious target. The midsection of the torso is the scoring area, and it valid around the body excepting the spine, so there are a lot of opportunities to score on the body. Because kicks naturally have more power than punches avoidance of kicks, particularly head kicks, is the preferred method of defense. Because blocking a punch means potentially opening up one's self more for a kicking attack, punches are avoided as well. Blocking kicks also carries greater risk of injury to arm/wrist/hand due to the greater force delivered by the kicking limb.

    For these reasons, participants tend to maintain a low guard. This keeps the body perpetually protected. Athletes also "bounce," allowing for rapid movement in any direction without taking a step and for rapid changes of left/right stance. This facilitates fakes with the legs and prevents you from having to cross your feet as you move. It also means fewer changes in stance and fewer chances for an opponent to take advantage of those changes.

    At the conclusion of the match, the player with the most points wins.

    This is hardly detailed description of the rules; if you want that, you can find it here: http://www.wtf.org/wtf_eng/site/rules/competition.html.

    Obviously, the rule set is not designed to emulate a "real fight" but was designed to offer a martial sport with a flavor and feel different from that of karate, kickboxing, or boxing, and which would also pay homage to Taekkyeon, a Korean kicking game. WTF rules provide a distinctly Korean game that emphasizes high, full contact kicking.

    For those who have questions about the rule set, I hope that this is helpful to you. For those who are more directly involved in WTF competition than I am, please feel free to enrich this topic with your knowledge.
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    I would like to request that the mods sticky this. That way, people don't need to hunt through pages and pages of threads and often pages and pages within those threads to find the answers.
     
  3. Manny

    Manny Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Veracruz,Mexico
    Exelent!!!!!!!

    Manny
     
  4. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,378
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    0
    This is what GM LEE Chong Woo said about the development of taekwondo competition emphasizing kicking:

    "“I thought Taekwondo should become a sport for competition from the beginning stage, if we wanted to upgrade the value of Taekwondo. I was criticized a lot when the competitors were injured, but the rate of injury was minimal. On the contrary, we must emphasize the improvement of skills that are enhanced every day when contestants fight. When you look at all the sports, boxing employs hand techniques using the fist, and therefore I decided we should develop Taekwondo as a sport emphasizing foot techniques. We restricted hand techniques and we developed competition rules for Taekwondo mainly emphasizing kicking techniques . . .”

    “In any sport, there should be a unique factor to develop. In other words, soccer is a sport in which you kick with your feet. In basketball, you throw with your hands. These are the unique factors. Therefore, we decided to go with the focus on the feet."
     
  5. ETinCYQX

    ETinCYQX Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2009
    Messages:
    1,313
    Likes Received:
    19
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Gander
    Nice writeup, Daniel
     
  6. MAist25

    MAist25 Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Very well done!
     
  7. d1jinx

    d1jinx Master Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2009
    Messages:
    1,390
    Likes Received:
    17
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    all-ova
    I am only sad we didnt do this a long time ago.

    Thanks Daniel for taking the time to explain what we have all been telling people for a while.

    :asian:
     
  8. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    Hopefully, it will cut down on some of the repeated asking and answering of the same questions over and over.

    I tried to hit all of the contentious elements; low guard, bouncing, predominance of kicking, and the difficulty of scoring with punches.
     
  9. Manny

    Manny Senior Master

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,553
    Likes Received:
    121
    Trophy Points:
    123
    Location:
    Veracruz,Mexico
    I liked this post a lot, is short and consistent, even I use it to explain to my students and will do for my martial arts budies why TKD makes emphasis on kicking, why we use a low guard, why we use safety equipment, etc,etc.

    For me TKD is a kicking martial art.... take it or leave it! as judo is a trowing art, as karate is mainly a hand striking art, etc,ect, TKD is what is it and period. We use a low guard because trying to block a kick can be to risky and because it's better to be out side of the kicks of our enemy but we need to be relax (something dificult with both arms up) to do the kicks low or high, static or jumping, straight or spining. We use full pads because a kick can be demolishing to our body so we look for safety and health. We do a lot of silly footwork, boun cing and feinting cause this is what I cal strategy.

    Our game is kicking however we are very capable if need it to use hands to set our enemy to kikcing distance where we are stronger than other martial arts.

    mANNY
     
  10. 40th Alabama

    40th Alabama Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Loganville, GA
    I started practicing TKD back in the late 60's. About that time Safety-Punch and Safety-Kicks began to be used in the sport. Control was practiced. Watching the Olympic Gold Medal match this afternoon, I couldn't help but think that the fighting was not as good (not meaning the fighters wern't as good) as it was back then. Two things that didn't appeal to me are the prohibition of punches to the head and the warning against fighters for not fighting. Hands and strikes are TKD weapons. Defensive and counter-offensive fighting has its place and a timed match with sudden death can take care of the time element. Use that rule after the first overtime. It just wasn't as good to watch with the new rules-jmho.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    141
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Seoul, Korea
    This is a silly complaint to me, because the rules concerning punches to the head were set up that way for a particular reason, which is in puunui's post earlier in this thread. The whole point was/is to differentiate taekwondo from other "fight" sports. It's supposed to be different and unique. Like in basketball you have to dribble, but in American football you can run with the ball.

    Yes, hand strikes are taekwondo weapons. There are also many different ways to advance a ball that are not allowed in different ball sports. Sports are not meant to, nor do they need to include every possibility. The taekwond seniors and pioneers who created the rule set did not overlook punching; they chose to focus on kicking and the development of kicking through sport competition.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
  12. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    The fighting was not as good or it was not as enjoyable for you to watch?

    The first is explained in the OP and has been explained many, many times before in this section. The second was to make it more enjoyable to viewers who complained about lack of action. You cannot make everyone happy.

    As for the rest, I'm sure that some boxing fans had similar complaints when boxing went from whatever it was before to Queensbury rules. Sports change and evolve, and not everyone is going to like the direction that it changes or evolves in.

    For people like yourself who like a more hand/foot ballanced style, there are so many options available, including another TKD federation and a Korean karate style (TSD), that I see no reason for complaint. If Kukkiwon/WTF taekwondo isn't for you, I can understand and respect that.

    But find a style that offers what you like and embrace it, while allowing others to do the same with regards to styles that you may not like or embrace.

    While I get the context of what you're saying, calling anything that has been in place for roughly forty years, "new," is really stretching it.
     
  13. Dobbelsteen

    Dobbelsteen White Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2012
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I had the impression that the low guard and the bouncing are done because of the range, not to reduce injury and move faster...
    >> Blocking kicks also carries greater risk of injury to arm/wrist/hand due to the greater force delivered by the kicking limb.
    Not blocking kicks could cause injury to your head. I'd prefer an injured arm above a concussion.

    In other martial arts, like boxing, for a lot of the time you will be in punching range of your oponent. This means you must keep your guard up. If you lower your guard, you´ll get punched in the head immediatly. In such a close range its easier to block then to dodge.
    In taekwondo, most of the time you will be just outside of the oponents kicking range. If you lower your guard, your oponent still can´t hit you without first stepping forward. In order to hit your opponent, you will first have to get into kicking range. By leaving yourself mostly open, you can draw your oponent into your attacking range, giving you the chance to dodge his attack and counter. If you don´t leave yourself open, you will make it hard for your oponent to hit you, so he´ll just stay out of your range.

    As for the bouncing, I´m not so sure it really makes you much faster. But it does disguise your movements. If you stand still and attack, your oponent will immediatly react when he sees your movement. With the bouncing, your always moving, so it takes just a little bit longer for your oponent to see when your actually moving for an attack.

    Could be wrong about these things, just the impression i got while doing tkd sparring.
     
  14. 40th Alabama

    40th Alabama Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2012
    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Loganville, GA
    My comments were not a complaint, it was my observation of what my thoughts were as I watched the matches. There were occasions during the match where the fighters were standing chest to chest with their hands down-just didn't seem right. Also, I stated in my post that it was just my opinion. I dropped out of TKD for over 30 years because of school, work, and family-I have renewed my interest in the last 6 months-thus, it is all new to me. Taigues are new to me.

    I'll throw out another soft ball-why would the olympics restrict the style to TKD? Why would they not make the competition open to all styles? I keep coming back to the feeling that the Olympic Committee has issues. After all, they eliminated baseball as an olympic sport and put in trampolines, synchronized diving and swimming, etc.
     
  15. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    Because the Olympics tends to want specific sports rather than just general categories so as to highlight the international flavor. Taekwondo is in the Olympics as the national sport of Korea, not as a striking art.

    Also, because the WTF and powers that be on Korea's Olympic committee pushed to have taekwondo specifically added to the Olympics.
     
  16. Daniel Sullivan

    Daniel Sullivan Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,472
    Likes Received:
    266
    Trophy Points:
    193
    Location:
    Olney, Maryland
    You're simply phrasing it differently. Staying just outside of kicking range avoids kicks and keeping your arms low guards your sides. The reasons for most of the tactics in any sport are usually multifaceted. This is not a comprehensive write up; just something to aid people in knowing what they're looking at.
     
  17. andyjeffries

    andyjeffries Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2006
    Messages:
    1,690
    Likes Received:
    124
    Trophy Points:
    103
    Location:
    Stevenage, Herts, UK
    As an interesting point, having just watched Coach Kim, Sae-hyuk's Guide to Kyorugi first video this lunch time - he says that he teaches all his athletes to hold their guard up not to have them down by their sides (I can post the exact timepoint and quote the English version if anyone needs it or is interested). Coach Kim is one of the most successful WTF sparring competition coaches in history.

    I see the logic for having the hands by the side, and Coach Kim may have changed his opinion since that video set was produced, but it's what was said (while it's fresh in my mind).
     
  18. puunui

    puunui Senior Master

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2010
    Messages:
    4,378
    Likes Received:
    22
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Taekwondo prohibited face punches in the 1960s. What you are describing is not taekwondo competition, but rather American point competition, using safety punch and chops, which I don't believe came onto the scene until the early 70s. Also taekwondo competition has always been full contact, not controlled, which again sounds like american point. Not the same thing. If you want point fighting, it is still around.
     
  19. miguksaram

    miguksaram Master of Arts

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,971
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    108
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Yes, GM Rhee, Jhoon developed Safe-T gear back in 1972. Before then it was "controlled" contact, which pretty much meant you didn't break the nose, just bloody it a bit. :)
     
  20. Jaeimseu

    Jaeimseu 2nd Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2011
    Messages:
    704
    Likes Received:
    141
    Trophy Points:
    58
    Location:
    Seoul, Korea
    It's actually much easier to shut the opponent's kicks down in this position. Going chest to chest is fairly safe under the rule-set. Some players are looking for the referee to call a break. Other players are looking to kick from this position. With the hands down it is easy to cover the body against a quick round kick. At the same time, if you feel a kick going up to the head, it's fairly easy to simply extend the arm and stop the kick on the way up.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
electric hand taekwondo wtf
,
point fight sparring bounce
,

tkd korea taigues

,
why do taekwando bouncr when fighting
,
wtf fighting pag1
,

wtf taekwondo sparring bouncing

,
wtf tkd emphasizes sparring