Their are various types of sparing safety equipment is only needed when a student reaches 5th Kup or blue tag for grading purposes which can be as long as twelve months but students are welcome to practice earlier if they wish.
The main two types of sparing that require safety equipment are point stop when a point is scored the match stops and is re started.
Continuous sparing does not stop as points are recorded constantly during a match this type of sparing is for senior grades only.In the class environment sparing is very relaxed with respect for all encouraged.
your skills can be tested at competition if you are of a competitive nature where naturally the need to win creates a different environment.
Tae Kwon-Do is a martial art - a combat sport.
Although much of our training involves performing moves and techniques towards imaginary opponents, such exercises can only teach us so much. There comes a time when we need to demonstrate that we can put these carefully practiced techniques to effective use, should the need ever arise.
While we may have acquired the skill, power and dexterity to execute the moves properly, this is no guarantee that when we are faced with a real situation, we will be able to even hit an assailant, let alone stop them from causing us harm. This is because when we are punching or kicking fresh air, we make enormous assumptions about the distance the opponent is from us, how tall they are, which direction they might move in or how they might counteract our own attacks.
Sparring is a way of mutually practicing our fighting techniques with other students in a safe manner, so that we are better equipped and experienced in the event of facing a real enemy. Going up against an actual opponent takes Tae Kwon-do to a completely new level.
Through sparring, we learn to judge distance, to dodge, counter-attack and implement strategies which ensure we maintain an advantage over our assailant. We gain the experience of going up against people who are taller or shorter than us, who are stronger, faster, or more agile. These are all things that nobody can learn without practicing sparring.
In Tae Kwon-do, we use several kinds of sparring to help a student gain this experience in a safe, progressive way
The objective is not to kill, damage or even hurt the person we are sparring against - far from it! Because we are practising a martial art, it is essential that a student has proper respect, not only for the techniques they perform, but for the other person they are sparring with. Most of the attacking techniques we are taught in Tae Kwon-do are deadly, and as such should be performed against another human being only with the utmost control. That, in itself, is a skill that can only be learned through experience in sparring.