Vail Taekwon-Do Tournament Rules

It is the responsibility of the competitor to know the rules and be ready for competition when called.

All competitors must wear a complete traditional uniform and belt.

A competitor must compete at the highest belt level they have earned in martial arts. If a competitor has just received a new belt within 30 days before the tournament they can choose to compete at their previous rank.

Competitors will be broken into different divisions based on rank, age and gender.
When the divisions are being grouped the day of the tournament they can be: divisions can be split into separate divisions or merged with other division. The goal is to have divisions with no fewer than 3 competitors but no more the 8. It depends on participation for a given tournament. It is up to the head judges and tournament coordinator to do quick adjustment to divisions the day of the tournament.

The following sparring gear is required: headgear; hand and foot pads; mouthpiece and groin cups (for male competitors only). The following are optional: shin guards, forearm guard and chest guards.

Once a division has started (the first competitor has started his/her form routine or the first sparring match has started) no competitor/s can be added to that division. BE ON TIME!

The size of the sparring and form rings shall be approximately 16' x 16'. Starting lines should be marked approximately four feet apart in the middle of the ring.

The following is a sample for a competition order. The tournament coordinator can modify the order of events, add events or remove them entirely. The following is just a suggest order of events.

1. Ring Assignment:

2. Opening Ceremony:

3. Demonstrations:

4. Board Breaking:

5. Colored Belt Forms:

6. Colored Belt Sparring:

7. Black Belt Forms:

8. Black Belt Sparring:


Competitors will be given 6 boards to set up 3 stations (2 boards per station recommended). Breaks will be scored on difficulty of technique, full breaks and transition between breaks.

Competitors will then be drawn randomly for the order of competition. Competitors are called individually to perform their form:
All competitors will use a formal forms introduction.

  1. Enter ring when called and introduce themselves
  2. Perform their entire form.
  3. When the form is complete the competitor may hold the last technique.
  4. Score keeper will call for "Judge's Scores" and tally the final score.
  5. When "Final Score" is called the competitor will snap to attention, bow, say "Thank you Sir" and step out of the ring.

1. Correctness of Techniques: correct order of movement, location of techniques, etc.

2. Stance: correct stance for the technique and the stance is correct

3. Attitude: respectful to judges and competitors and shows confidence and energy

4.  Power: techniques performed with power strong breath control and or yell.

Judges will show their score by holding up 6 to 10 fingers. If the judge’s fingers are 'blinking' it signifies a half a point. Holding up seven fingers that are blinking designate a 7.5.

The score keeper will then announce "Final Score" then the score the competitor received.

If still tied the competitors will perform a "form off". The competitors will be called up in front of the judges and they will perform A DIFFERENT form at the same time. When competitors are finished the scorekeeper will call "Judges Call". At this point the judges point toward the winner.

Competitors get one restart to their form. 1 point is deducted from final score, unless restart is due to outside interference.



When a corner judge believes there has been a point scored or a foul has occurred they will call out "POINT" in a loud voice. At this point the Head Judge will call out "STOP!" in a loud voice. The head judge shall then return the competitors to their starting marks and addresses the judges by saying "JUDGES CALL!" All judges cast their votes simultaneously and in the following manner.

1. Point - The judge will hold up the corresponding flag to the color of the competitor that scored the point. If a competitor scores a two point head kick, the officials should hold up two fingers (index and middle fingers) with the other hand. If only one point is being called, the judge should only hold up the flag.

2. No Point Scored – The judge crosses his/her wrist at waist level to indicate that he/she believes that a point was not scored. Either due to a block, did not contact legal target area, etc. A no point call negates a point call.

3. No See - The judge holds his/her hand over his/her eyes indicating that he/she could not see whether a point was scored or not. (It is not the same effect as saying "No Point". A "No See" does not negate a good point).

4. Clash – The judge makes a motion as though they are hitting both fists together, indicating that both competitors scored at the same time. A Clash does not add or take away a good point.

5. Foul - The judge holds the color of the offending competitor down to his side. The head judge may request the judge describe the foul the judge observed. An additional call on the foul may be called by the head judge by saying "JUDGES CALL", if the other judges will either agree, disagree or No See.

6. Disqualification – There are two ways for a competitor to be disqualified. 1) Upon receiving a 3rd warning. 2) A severe rules infraction (deliberate illegal technique, ignoring the head judge, excessive use of force, etc.)

All officials should make their calls at the same time. If, in the opinion of the head judge, the corner judges are making a late call intentionally, the head judge can disqualify the call and/or judge (noise not allowing the judges to hear the head judge and the honest mistake of raising the wrong color should be taken into consideration not to disqualify the call or judge).

There are two main ways to determine the length of the match. Either a set time, usually 2 minutes or a race to a point number (usually 3 or 5) with a time limit. The type of match will be determined before the tournament starts by the Tournament Coordinator. All rings will use the same match length and it must be explained to the spectators and competitors. If a match is tied at the end of two minutes, sudden victory (first person to score a point) overtime period will determine the match.

All legal hand techniques that score will be awarded one (1) point. All legal kicking techniques to the body that score will be awarded one (1) point. All legal kicking techniques to the head that score will be awarded two (2) points.

A point is a controlled legal technique scored by a competitor in-bounds and up-right (not considered down) that strikes a competitor with the allowable amount of force to a legal target area. Attacks to the head can follow the “Halo Rule”.

  • One point for all legal hand techniques
  • One Point for legal kicks to the body
  • Two Points for legal head kicks.


If an attack is to the head but does not touch and the defender makes no movement to block or avoid the technique a point can be awarded.  Halo rule is used to reward control by the attacker. The distance of the attack counting is dependent on the division.

Rank    Kick Hand
Beginners Within 12 inches No techniques allowed
Intermediate Within 6 inches Within 3 inches
Advanced Within 3 inches Within 1 inch
Black Belt Touch Touch


Sides and top of the head, ribs, chest (below the collarbone), abdomen (above the belt).

A downed opponent, back of the head (4” wide stripe down the back of the head), back, neck, throat, legs and groin.

Hips, buttocks, shoulders, arms, hands and feet. No point can be scored to these locations.

LEGAL TECHNIQUES: All controlled techniques, except those listed as illegal with light to medium contact only.

  • Beginners (white through yellow): The only legal hand technique is straight punch to the body. No hand techniques to the head.
  • Intermediate (green through blue): Back fist to the head is added to list of legal techniques.
  • Advanced (red through recommended black): Ridge hand to head for ages 10+.
  • Black belt: Ridge hand and straight punch to the head added to the list of legal techniques.  Front of head added to legal target area.


  • Hard contact (head judge makes the call if a technique is thrown with too much force)
  • open hand techniques or hammer fist
  • attacks below the belt 
  • spinning hand techniques 
  • "Piston Punching" (throwing more then 3 punches in a row)
  • head butting, biting or scratching
  • elbows or knees
  • eye attacks of any kind 
  • take downs or sweeps
  • grabbing or holding
  • falling down or fleeing the ring to avoid sparring 
  • uncontrolled blind techniques and any other uncontrolled dangerous techniques that are deemed unsafe by the Head Judge.
  • Attacking a downed competitor or attacking while being downed 

The following is a list of techniques that are legal but will NOT score points:

  • hooking punch or upper cut: scoring punches must be straight punches
  • short jabs (front hand straight punches will score if it travels at least 1 foot)
  • back fist to the body
  • block kicks: it is legal for a competitor to use their legs to block attacks, or block an arm out of the way. These do not score points but can be used

A foul occurs when a competitor uses an illegal technique or attacks an illegal target area.  Fouls are in total not just of a single time.  Any three fouls disqualifies a competitor. 

  • 1st foul is a warning
  • 2nd foul competitor loses one point
  • 3rd foul competitor is Disqualified

If an injury occurs have the other competitor return to their starting spot face away from the injured competitor and take a knee.
The Head Judge will determine if the injured contestant can or cannot continue.
If an injured contestant cannot continue:

  • From a legal technique they forfeit the match.
  • From a non-scoring or illegal technique the injured competitor wins the match.

For Beginner divisions the option to do no contact sparring is available. This can also be used for young competitors as well.

  • A ring for no contact sparring will have a head judge and an even number of other judges.
  • The competitors are lined up similar to sparring.
  • When start is called the competitors will take turns doing two kicks followed by a yell. They will NOT make any contact. They will go back and forth doing two kick combos until the head judge calls for stop (about 30 seconds).
  • At this point the head judge will call "Judges Call" then each judge and the head judge will point to which competitor won the match.
  • The competitors are judge on: Kicking technique, variety of kicks, strong yell, keeping hands up, movement when backing up.

FAIRNESS RULE: If a question arises that is not completely covered by this rule book, the Tournament Coordinator may at his/her discretion, overrule, modify or change a delineated rule if he/she believes that enforcing such a rule would result in an inherent unfair outcome to a competitor. However, the tournament coordinator should do this only in extreme or rare cases.