You can use the diagram below to find out more about the different pieces of equipment you need for World Taekwondo style sparring. This covers all the basic equipment that is normally required for competition sparring. Please note high level competitions use similar equipment, however it is designed for electronic scoring and has sensors placed to score points. This is called the PSS Electronic Scoring System.
1 – Head Guard
Usually made of a foam material, this is used to protect your head during sparring and fastens securely under the chin.
2 – Gum Shield
These aren’t normally supplied by clubs, but they are necessary for full contact sparring. Find one that fits you well.
3 – Chest Protector (Hogu)
These are usually red on one side and blue on the other. The chest protector should absorb the impact of most kicks and is the primary target during sparring aside from the head. Clubs may have chest protectors available to borrow. They are also available in a range of sizes, usually from 0 to 5. Size 4 and 5 are normally for adults or taller people, while size 0 and 1 are aimed at small children.
4 – Arm Guards
Quite often arm pads are pulled slightly over the elbows, particularly when training in a club. This is mostly to protect your opponents foot as well as your elbow. Like shin pads, arm protectors can be a foam or hard material, and they primarily protect your arms from incoming attacks.
5 – Gloves
Gloves aren’t always required during sparring but they can offer some protection to your fingers and hands, particularly if your are punching a chest protector. Rules around wearing gloves may vary between organisations and competitions so make sure you check. These are also available in a range of sizes.
6 – Groin Guard
This is normally required in all competition, particularly for male competitors. Male and female groin guards are different so ensure you get the correct type.
7 – Shin Guards
These can vary quite a lot in size and material. Generally there are foam ones or hard ones available. These are needed to protect your shins in case of a clash. Some shin guards may also come with a foot protector attached, generally these are the foam ones.
8 – Foot Guards
These aren’t always required in competition, however high level competitions require them as they can contain foot sensors used in electronic scoring systems. Foot protectors can offer some protection for your feet, and you can also get shin pads that have foot guards attached.