Is used as a way to develop coordination, stamina, confidence and mental toughness. Sparring is conducted
as free-flowing, with continued contact, limited only by a set of
pre-arranged rules, a time limit, and scoring system. The rules, which are governed by World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) require the practitioner to wear certain sparring gear.
Most martial-arts sparring helmets are made of relatively soft foam and vinyl; hard-shelled impact helmets could
injure your sparring partner. As with mouthpieces, helmets are an essential component of safety gear because
even though full-force blows to the head are discouraged -- and in some arts even light blows aren't allowed --
accidents and "not-so-accidental" mistakes do happen. Hopefully you'll never need the helmet, but on the one
occasion you do need it you'll be glad to have been wearing it.
CHEST PROTECTOR (HOGU)
A Chest protector (Hogu) is required equipment for TAEKWONDO
sparring. A chest protector wraps around your chest and sides and fastens or ties shut in back, offering some protection against blows to the chest and side. A good chest protector will fit snugly enough that it doesn't restrict your movement.
One of the most universal pieces of sparring equipment, a molded mouthpiece helps protect your teeth from blows.
The mouthpiece also prevents you from accidentally catching your tongue or inner cheeks between your teeth.
If you find breathing with a mouthpiece difficult, check to make sure the mouthpiece fits properly. You can also
purchase vented mouthpieces that offer better airflow.
TAEKWONDO involves at least some form of hand contact.
Gloves offer some protection to your opponent, but, most importantly for you, they also protect your hands from the
force of the punches you deal out. You might choose to wear wrist or hand wraps beneath the gloves for extra
support. Gloves range from full-coverage "mitt-like" boxing gloves to fingerless models.
TAEKWONDO foot protectors are like gloves for your feet. The padding on the top is designed to protect your foot if you accidentally kick your opponent's elbow (a very common injury).
Foot protectors are by no means essential when you start out, but they can save you some bruises!
Ideally you want your toes and the front and back part of your sole are exposed underneath so you don't slip.
Lots of taekwondo players use these in sparring training to prevent injury.
SHIN & FOREARM PROTECTOR
Much like soccer shin protectors, sparring shin protectors strap directly to your calves. The protectors should fit beneath your uniform pants legs. Some shin protectors are available as a one-piece unit attached directly to foot protectors. Like shin protectors, forearm protectors strap directly to your forearms beneath the sleeves of your uniform and offer some protection when you block blows.
Groin protectors or hard athletic cups are often required equipment for men. Women may be allowed the choice of an optional groin protector, which is much like a padded male protector without the cup.