Taekwondo is a Korean martial art known for its focus on kicking techniques. In competition, players use a range of punches and kicks, and if successful, these attacks score points. Taekwondo scoring rewards players for using more elaborate and flamboyant techniques; however, not all attacks taught in classes are legal in competition.
Two attacking techniques are permitted in taekwondo: the punch and the kick, and these attacks must be made in a specific way. Punches must be made with a tightly closed fist, with no open hand attacks allowed; with kicks, only the area below the ankle bone can make contact with the opponent. In terms of target areas, punches can be aimed at the torso, in the area covered by the chest protector, while kicks can hit here and also the head. No other attacks are permitted, including knees, kicks to the legs or grappling.
A punch or kick that lands on the opponent's chest scores one point, unless it is a spinning kick, in which case the attack scores two points. A successful kick to the opponent's head is the highest scoring attack at three points. To score, the attack must have power behind it -- light taps and quick jabs do not score. The chest protectors can contain electronic sensors to register successful hits, while judges watch from the sidelines to score head attacks.
Points are scored when the opponent commits an illegality. There are two forms: warning penalties and deduction penalties. Two warnings bring the other player one point, while only one deduction penalty is needed to award a point to the opponent. Penalties revolve around illegal attacks and defenses, not following the competition rules and disrespectful conduct. For repeat offenses or particularly strong violations, disqualification may be declared.
Three rounds are played, after which the total points and penalty points are summed and whichever player scores highest wins the match. If the match is a tie after three rounds, a sudden-death round is played. All penalties are voided, and the first player to score a single point in this round wins the match. If no points are scored, the judges decide based on initiative shown during the sudden-death round.