Suggested Scoring Changes for WTF Taekwondo

Posted on Categories Sports, Technology

While I was watching the 2015 Pan Am Games for Taekwondo and many other Taekwondo fights since electronic scoring came into effect – I always wondered how to make the sport more fun to watch, fun to compete in, and make accessible for all body types to proliferate the sport more. I am going to outline some suggestions below that can accomplish this.

Overall Goal

Change WTF (World Taekwondo Federation) scoring rules to encourage spectator friendly techniques such as multiple techniques (i.e. combinations) and power shots. This will also allow the sport to be accessible to many different body types (and not only to tall athletes as the sport currently favours).

Current challenge

The scoring system currently rewards high section (good) but because of the low chances to score mid section, athletes are reserved to open up with a variety of techniques due to the fear of getting touched lightly in the head (and thus loosing 3 points). As a result, athletes have adopted “safer” fighting tactics which make the sport less entertaining to watch, and allowing a very specific body type (tall and lean) to dominate the sport, while leaving out a majority of the population.


Change the software in the current electronic scoring system. Lets assume you need a 30 threshold to get a point.

Any technique can get you either 1, 3 or 6 points. Here is what would constitute each point range:

1 point techniques

  • Body shot at regular threshold
  • Punch

3 points techniques

  • High section kick
  • Back kick
  • If a player gets 30 threshold on the first kick, and 20 on the second (within 0.5 seconds) they should get 3 points (rewarding combinations)
  • If a player gets 40 threshold (i.e. 10 above their 30 threshold requirement), they should get 3 points (rewarding power shots)

6 point techniques

  • Spin hook kick high section
  • 360 round house kick (body or high section)
  • If a player gets 30 threshold on the first kick, and 20 on the second (within 0.5 seconds) and 10 on the third (within 0.5 seconds) (rewarding combinations)

By making these software changes (and these are only software changes, the hardware would remain the exact same), athletes can open up with a variety of techniques and get rewarded, while not worrying about getting hit high section and loosing 3 points.

To make it easier for the public to watch and understand, the scoring system should have a display that shows if the technique was 1, 3 or 6 points. Below is an image that shows how it should be displayed. The multiplier values on the bottom would light up as the system determined if a multiplier should be added (i.e. for combinations or high section, etc)

Modern TKD Scoring Display - Ali Ghafour Concept.001


Next Steps

  • Ask KP&P or Daedo to make above software changes
  • Ask a well respected national governing body to have matches with their own athletes in all weight categories, record the matches and post online
  • Share above┬ávideo to the TKD community (MAS taekwondo, etc) to get wider adoption

Other Suggestions

  • Instead of only having 6 magnets in the socks, make the whole sock a magnet to increase scoring potential

If you have any ideas that you would like to share, please leave your comments below. I will get back to all who respond.