International Taekwon-Do is a martial art with a dynamic and challenging sport aspect – both as a competitor and as a spectator. The sport includes four individual events, a team event, and a sixth event for pairs. We enjoy regular tournaments to give you the opportunity to play sport competitively or socially.
In New Zealand, we punch far above our weight on the international circuit. We hosted the 2011 World Championships in Wellington, and we won best overall country, as we did in 2015. Our ranking has steadily climbed since we appeared to come out of nowhere to place third in Poland in 2003. Our performance is testament to the endless dedication of our pioneers and masters, our coaches and athletes, and our instructors and students.
When most people think of the sport aspect of martial arts, they think of free sparring. When we free spar, we wear safety equipment (gloves and feet, mouth guard, head gear, and groin guard for males), and score points against an opponent by punching or kicking their head or torso. A point is scored if an umpire sees an excellent Taekwon-Do technique hit the opponent’s scoring area at the correct distance and angle, with power, focussed to connect with a controlled touch. We do not spar full contact, because full contact Taekwon-Do techniques are created to damage an opponent, and we aim to maintain a safe environment in our tournaments.
Patterns are sometimes considered the Art of martial arts. You may hear them called tul (Korean), forms, or kata (in Japanese martial arts). Patterns are pre-arranged sequences of Taekwon-Do movements against one or more imaginary opponents. Good patterns are beautiful to watch. They are dynamic, powerful, and graceful. There are 24 patterns in International Taekwon-Do, and competitors up to sixth degree black belt will perform many of the first 21 of them.
In the special technique event, our athletes perform five flying kicks against targets high in the air. They must hit the target with accuracy and power to score points, and the person with the most points over all five techniques wins the event.
Power works in the same way. Our athletes smash their way through boards in two hand and three foot techniques. The winner is the person who breaks the most boards overall.
In team event, a group of athletes from each region compete in all four individual events in groups of five. Patterns are choreographed so the five athletes add to the beauty of the sequence. In sparring, each athlete in turn spars a member of the other team, and the team who wins the most bouts wins the round. In power and special technique, one athlete performs each of the five techniques.
Prearranged sparring involves two athletes choreographing a pre-arranged fighting sequence. It’s a relatively new event, and it’s amazing to watch.