• I have been teaching Taekwondo for more than twenty-seven years, and have been actively involved in main-stream competition for three decades, and I have never heard of a death related to Taekwondo competiton. I have been a competitor in local tournaments and state championships, a referee for both jr. and sr. national olympic games, and an International Coach for the USA at the U.S. Olympic Taekwondo Championships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While there have been many injuries, broken bones, and even deaths related to other sports such as baseball, soccer, and football, Taekwondo has maintained a relatively safe track record when it comes to injuries. One reason is because of the protective gear required when sparring (Head gear, mouthguard, chest guard, forearm, shin-instep, a groin protection is required). Also, there are different rules of contact allowed for adults as there are for children under 16 years old. In children Gyorugi (free-sparring) no contact is allowed to the head. In all cases, contact must be controlled, and not thown wild or blindly. Even a solid hit in Taekwondo competition, which could be deadly in the street, is relatively safe because of the control in the fighers ability to stop at the point of impact. A Taekwondo fighter is trained to control their power so as to apply it lightly, or firmly as needed in competiton, or deadly as needed in self defense. Beginner students of all ages are trained to use less contact than high ranks or black belts, and local and state tournaments require less contact than the National and International games where a "knock-out" can be achieved. The rules of contact, and other safety requirements in Olympic (WTF - "World Taekwondo Federation") rules are very strict. Just be sure that you are affiliated with a legitimate instructor who is properly trained in Korean Taekwondo with certification from a Korean authority (a "Kukkiwon" Black Belt certificate is one way to verify training with the WTF). A trained instructor, especially one who has coached or refereed for Olympic games, knows how to prepare the student so that they will not be outmatched and placed in a dangerous situation. Also, be sure that the tournament is properly sanctioned, and run by an official Korean Taekwondo Organization. The safer tournaments are the ones who require competitors, coaches, and officials to be members, properly trained, and certified. Open tournaments which invite outsiders often brings trouble, and undisciplined fighters who might not know the rules, or might not care to follow the rules. Taekwondo is one of the safest activities that I have been involved in during my entire life.
  • i agree completely with Master Instructor. i've only been in tkd for 3 years, but i have been in many tournaments. and never have i seen 1 person die. NEVER. the worst i've seen was someone falling and hitting their head during forms... and they got right back up. there shouldnt be any worries about it. just keep your mind set on the tournament and you;ll win.
  • I'm sure thee have been very many fatalities due to competition, considering taekwondo has been around for hundreds of years. as far as modern competitive taekwondo, there has been 1 death.
  • I'm teaching taekwondo for more than 25 years - There is once death in taekwondo competition in Indonesia. This incident happened as one contestant got hit in the head and fell down to the concrete. Yes, they are not using mattress but they worn head guard. There is also a different level of skills of the contestant - as one of the contestant is national champ and while the other is a beginner. There is no official announcement about this incident.

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