Monday, May 28, 2012

Scoring without Power?


   In an effort to promote safety, the committee presiding over the Olympic games for  Taekwondo has ruled that any foot contact with the head, regardless of power will be awarded full points for a headkick.

  While some argue that this is, in fact, actually promoting safety and helping to popularize the sport, others feel that it takes away from Taekwondo, which is meant to be a powerful sport and that this new rule reduces Olympic competition to a possible "foot fencing" spectacle.

  Studies done on Olympic Taekwondo have come to the conclusion that concussion rates are, indeed, quite high in the upper competitive levels. However, this same study also observed that these head injuries were often attained in situations in which the kick could have very well been blocked physically, had the rules allowed it. Perhaps, instead of simply scoring every headkick, regardless of power, with full points, blocking can be introduced. With padded forearms, neither competitor risks much injury if the shin and forearm collides. The increased difficulty of kicking the head could also give headkicks more value, as well as encouraging competitors to seek out different methods of attacking and scoring.


Anonymous said...

I grew up learning Traditional Taekwondo. There they had taught us to always make full contact with our kicks, we couldn't simply tap the targets. Also about once a week we worked solely on defense, and they would not allow us to have weak defenses.
I've taken up the martial art again but this time doing Modern Taekwondo. Now doing kicks at half strength I get scolded for trying to destroy my target.
And i couldn't help but feel it was ridiculous, when one of the Instructor's had me spar with them, that they complained and told me to stop blocking their attacks.
All these new rules are turning a respectable Martial Art that can help somebody help themselves in a dire situation on the street, the same it has for me, Into a nothing more than a Sport.
It's becoming less about being a fighter, defeating your opponent, and more about scoring points with as many body taps as possible

TaekwonPro said...

Thanks for your comment!

Yes, I've had this problem, too. Not too long ago, I went to check out a nearby Taekwondo Academy and the instructor was infuriated when I struck as hard as I could against the kicking shield with a sidekick. He told me to not attempt to strike through the target...which is laughable.

And don't we all know that kicking shields are for power drills?

Anonymous said...

"He told me to not attempt to strike through the target...which is laughable."
Totally agree here. If you aren't able to train with power, you won't be able to use power when its needed. A true martial artist will have no problem showing control in a sparring match vs going all out in a real fight. But if you aren't allowed to train at full strength, you're wasting time. Just as with a form - I see so many people "practicing" their forms by just going through the motions, using poor technique, no power, etc. Every time I run through my form, I do it as if I am testing. The first run through usually has me in a good sweat.

As far as the original post, the ATA (keep the McDojo comments down please) has the standard rule that a head kick is scored if no contact is made if the opponent made no attempt to block or avoid (and its reasonably close, of course). Not only are they promoting safety with this, but also control. Personally, when I judge a sparring match (I'm just going for L1 certification now - corner judge, color belts only), I likely won't call a "close" kick.

While I, personally, believe that contact should be necessary for a score, excessive contact shouldn't be encouraged. This is a sport, not a street fight. And while "excessive" is subjective, there's a pretty big difference between knocking someone down and causing a concussion, and anyone suitable for olympic competition should be able to control themselves accordingly.