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One for One Sparring and Free Sparring


‘One for One Sparring’ is literally the two opponents facing each other and taking it in turns to attack legal targets. ‘One for One Sparing’ is used to improve Sparring techniques by encouraging the development of fast responsive blocks and counters which can be used in sparring. ‘One for One Sparring’ is performed without protective equipment and as such the students are expected to exercise control, avoiding excessive contact. Accidental contact is inevitable but the severity should be minimal if both students remain alert to their partners’ movement at all times. In ‘One for One’ you have the opportunity to practice any technique you like against a moving target safe in the knowledge that whilst you are attacking your partner will be defending. You should always aim to deliver your techniques to a legal target. Consider the most appropriate stance for the technique being used and consider the stances and distances of your opponent to see if the use of the technique is appropriate. Avoid excessive dodging and moving out of the way when performing ‘One for One Sparring’. One of the aims of ‘One for One Sparring’ is to develop fast, effective blocking and counter attacks. You will not achieve this if you constantly move out of range. You should aim to develop a rapport with you partner which enables fast continuous movement from you both.  ‘One for One Sparring’ will also help with your aerobic fitness.


‘One for One’ is introduced to students progressively.


1.   White Belt - ‘One for One’ Hands only

2.   Yellow Tag - ‘One for One’ Feet only

3.   Yellow Belt -  ‘One for One’ Hands and Feet


Free Sparring


Free Sparring as with ‘One for One’ is introduced to students progressively through the grading syllabus. Whilst it is not essential for a student to have Sparring Equipment before grading to Green Belt they may chose to purchase their Sparring Kit from White Belt. Those who are confident and have Sparring Equipment will be encouraged to develop their skills at a much earlier grade.

For the purposes of grading the following is performed;

1.   Green Tags perform Free Sparring without equipment but with no contact

2.   Green Belts perform Free Sparring with Full Protective Equipment

Green Tag Free Sparring is based on the 'Right of Way' principle. You and your partner will take it in turns attacking performing three or four techniques before returning to a guard. When one person has completed their attack they resume their normal guard position indicating that it is their partner's turn to attack. Whilst it is considered non-contact you are expected to block techniques effectively. The non-contact term refers to the attacker who should deliver an attack which will injure the opponent.

Green Belt and over Free Sparring is the sport side of Taekwon-do. It is performed using full protective equipment. When students first try Free Sparring they tend to be of two types;


a.   the individual who attacks with little thought for their own tight defences

b.   the individual who is extremely cautious and spends all their time trying not to get hit


Free sparring needs a combination of both personalities. When Free Sparring at your school remember there are no medals to be won. Show respect to your opponent and allow them to develop their technique as you are developing yours.


In competition sparring you will be facing up to someone who also wants to win that Gold medal. It should be remembered that it only takes one point to win a sparring match. If you don’t get hit you cannot lose however you do need to be able to score at least one point to win. It is not within the scope of this document to explain how to ‘Free Spar’. Your Instructor will be responsible for developing your skills in Free Sparring. As with all your TKD skills the more you practice the better you should become. Fitness plays a huge role in sparring and a sparring match has often been won by a lesser opponent simply because they were fitter and better able to keep going longer. Don’t let this happen to you. Heart of England offer regular sparring and fitness sessions; take advantage of them.

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