More tournament information

TaeKwonDo America Tournaments

There are two Regional and two National Tournaments each year. All students are required to attend one Tournament before testing for their black belt.

All competitors should receive their competitions time and ring from their instructor before the tournament date through email and Facebook.  If you have not received the information by the Friday before the tournament please contact your instructor to receive the information.

If you read nothing else:

  • Get to the tournament site 15 minutes before your competition begins
  • Stay on the outside edges of the competition area. Do not walk between or across mats.
  • Do not call out to school owners and instructors who are currently judging. If you have questions, go to the entrance table or reach out to a Black Belt with a black stripe down their sleeves.
  • Keep children (not currently competing at the time) with you and under your supervision at all times and do not allow them to run in the gym, on the bleachers, in the hallways or parking lot.
  • Help us keep the gym, hallways and rest rooms clean, neat and free of trash
  • Competitors, parents and all visitors need to show good sportsmanship towards all competitors and judges.
  • When the competition is done please be courteous and leave the seats for the next set of parents/ competitors.
  • Relax and have a fun day!

About the Judges:

Each ring has 3 judges who score the forms and the sparring (or one-steps) as well as a timekeeper and a scorekeeper. The judges are instructors and school owners from the participating schools. Each ring typically has a mix of judges from the competing schools. They work very hard to make sure every participant is treated with respect, judged fairly and has a good time.

Once your ring is finished it is okay to ask judges for tips to help you improve your form, one-steps or sparring. It is not okay to ask questions that imply you think they treated you unfairly like “why were my scores low?” or “why didn’t I win the sparring?”.

Please thank your judges for their help in making today a fun event for everyone in your ring.

About continuous sparring:

  • A sparring round is 1 minute and judges award points continuously
  • When “break” is called, the timer stops during the “break”
  • Competitors must make contact to a legal target areas to earn points

legal contact areas: Kicks or punches above the belt and  to front of the torso. Kicks to the headgear (For safety punching to the head are illegal at tournaments)

– Punch or basic kick to the front of torso = 1 point

– Spin or Jump kick to front of torso or basic kick to headgear = 2 points

– Jump-spin or 360 to front of torso; jump or spin to headgear = 3 points

– Jump-spin or 360 to headgear = 4 points

– You must be inside the ring to score points

  • Excessive contact or contact to a non-legal target area is a warning

– At least 2 judges must agree for a warning to be issued

– First warning = 1 point for competitor (a double warning = 2 warnings)

– Second warning = 2 additional points for competitor

– Third warning or injury drawing blood = disqualification from this round

– Poor sportsmanship can result in removal from the tournament

-Judges can also call warnings for running outside of the ring, continuously turning their back, and continuously falling down.  

  • Judges only call warnings or points for contact that they see

For example, if a competitor moves in such a way that a judge cannot see the foot or hand make contact, even if they can see the arm or leg extended toward that direction, they cannot call a warning or award points 

  • If there is a tie, the competitors will spar in 15-second rounds until a winner is declared; warnings carry over, but points do not 
  • Cheering —using positive language and good sportsmanship— is encouraged, but “sideline coaching” is not; the tournament is to demonstrate the competitor’s skills to defend him/herself, not how well they are able to perform with the audience telling them what techniques to use throughout the sparring round.


  • The 3 judges are evaluating each competitor’s form based on a combination of correctness of technique, snap & power, good stances, proper kick height, correct loading of moves, snapping the hand techniques into place at the same time the foot lands, and a consistent pace throughout the form; martial arts is about self-defense so a form should be a series of explosive controlled moves rather than having a ballet-like or bouncy dance quality
  • The first 3 competitors to do their form will be from different schools (if at least 3 schools are represented in this ring) and those first 3 competitors will do their form before any scoring is done; after the first 3 do their forms and receive scores the rest of the competitors will receive scores immediately after doing their form
  • When judges are conferring, it is about whether or not mistakes were made that require the form to be done again, not about what scores they will give; each judge scores independently of the others
  • Judges scores typically fall within 1 point variances of each other; the actual scores are less important than that each judge gives their highest score to the person they feel did the best, their 2nd highest score to the person who did the 2nd best, and so on
  • When judges ask a competitor to do their form a 2nd time it means a mistake was made that would lower their scores significantly; mistakes include leaving out a move, adding a move or doing moves in the wrong order
  • When a competitor does their form a 2nd time the judges score as if the first attempt never happened and one point is deducted from the total of the 3 judges scores (if all 3 judges give the form an 8, that is a total of 24; after 1 point is deducted for the 2nd try the score is 23)
  • If there is a tie: the competitors who tied will have one chance to do their form again; the Center Judge will pre-determine what 2 scores will be used (for example the center judge may instruct the judges to use a 7 and an 8, and to give the 8 score to the person they feel did the best form in the tie-breaker and the 7 score to the other competitor; even if the competitors’ forms are better or worse than a 7 or 8, the judges must use the pre-determined numbers)
  • Once your ring is finished, everyone has been dismissed and received their medals you may go home or you can stay and watch other rings

One-steps & Sparring:

  • White – Sr Orange Belts will do their one-steps with partners
  • Orange & Sr Orange Belts wear sparring gear
  • Green Belts – Black Belts (and some Sr Orange) will free spar
  • Sparring brackets are designed for multiples of 8 competitors; if there are more or less than 8, there will be “Byes” to equal a multiple of 8
  • If a competitor continues to win their match he/she will stay in the winner’s bracket until 1st place is decided.
  • Once a competitor looses he/she will be moved down to the silver bracket where they will have a chance to win 2nd place.
  • Judges will call out 2 participants at a time (preferably from different schools) and designate one as “red” (and will wear red arm bands)
  • Each of the 3 judges has 2 clickers to keep track of the points scored by each of the competitors in each match
  • After each match at least 2 judges must agree on who is the winner
  • This continues until 1st – 4th place winners have been declared

About One-steps/Sparring Combinations:

  • Juniors ages (5 – 12) perform 3 one-steps/sparring combinations; adults/ Teens (13 yrs and older) perform 5 one-steps
  • As both competitors complete each one-step, the judges click a point for the person they feel did that one-step the best
  • Because martial arts is about self-defense, the judges are looking for the best combination of correct technique, power and snap