A Tae Kwon Do competition gives students from different dojangs the opportunity to come together and hone their skills. As a competitor you can learn new points of technique just from watching the other participants. You find that the sparring matches help you improve your form and response time. However, you need a bit of preparation for your first Tae Kwon Do if you hope to win – and there is nothing wrong with wanting to win. Having a specific goal to work toward to brings focus to your training.
Generally, a tournament can include different division from sparring matches, forms competitions, weapons and breaking. You can compete in any of the categories that interest you. During the tournament you will be competing with other students around your age and belt rank.
Know the Rules
Each tournament is a bit different, depending on who is hosting. All division have judges and some can have referees to make sure everything goes accordingly. However, rules for scoring points follow certain guidelines:
- You get awarded one point for a basic attack to your opponent’s chest protector (i.e. round house kick).
- You get two points for a kick to your opponent’s head or if the kick involves a spinning or jumping technique (including a jump back kick, spin hook kick).
- Point scoring can vary per tournament*
- While looking at the score board is tempting, try not to look at it. Focus on your fight!
For the rest of the divisions, students will be judges upon performance & technique
Certain types of gear are required for sparring competitors:
- Chest Protector
- Arm Guard
- Groin Guard
- Shin & Instep Guards
Unfortunately, a Tae Kwon Do tournament involves a lot of waiting. Even though some tournaments conduct several sparring matches simultaneously, there are still a lot of them to get through. If you win a match early in the day, it may be a while before the next round takes place. This gives you an opportunity to watch the other fighters, or compete in one of the other divisions.
Training for Your First Tae Kwon Do Tournament
- The number one thing you can do to prepare for a tournament is PRACTICE.
- The second most important thing you can do is PRACTICE.
- And when you’ve done those two things – you should PRACTICE.
- Don’t wait too long to register for your first tournament, the earlier you start the more experience you gain and the better you will become.
Ask your instructor for help with your technique. Make sure you practice sparring with fellow students so you can learn to look for openings. One thing that most people don’t prepare for, is learning how to take a punch to the chest or a kick to the head. There is a good chance, you will get hit during a sparring match. The gear keeps injuries to a minimum, but a good punch can still take you by surprise. Sparring practice lets you learn how that feels so it doesn’t throw you off your rhythm.
- Make sure you label your gear. Everyone at the tournament owns similar pads and bags. It is easy to lose your gear or pick up the wrong bag.
- Make sure your uniform is clean and pressed. This is especially important if you are competing in forms.
- Bring a snack and plenty of water to drink. A Tae Kwon Do tournament is a lot of work and you will probably be there for quite a while. It’s important to stay hydrated. (please no sugary drinks or candy)
Win or Lose – Everyone Leaves a Winner
You may or may not leave the Tae Kwon Do tournament with a ribbon or trophy. If you do receive one, then “Congratulations!” You have a right to be proud.
However, keep in mind that more people actually lose than win at a Tae Kwon Do tournament. The important thing is to ask yourself these questions:
- Did I do my best?
- How did my sparring compare to my practice sessions?
- What do I need to do to improve for next time?
- Did I have fun?
There is no need to be disappointed if you lose. The experience is invaluable – and you tried something new. Competing in your first Tae Kwon Do tournament becomes a personal victory.
If you have an interest in tournament competition, tell one of the instructors at Vortexic. We can give you information on scheduled tournaments and help you develop a training plan for your first Tae Kwon Do tournament.
Stay tuned to our Facebook Page for Upcomming Tournaments