In Taekwondo sparring, ‘gamjom’ means ‘deduction of points’ or ‘penalty’. If one of the competitors in a sparring match does an illegal technique or steps outside of the area, points will be taken away, indicated by the referee shouting ‘Gamjom!’.
A lot of people hear this as ‘gamjon’, but it’s actually ‘gamjom’.
감점 gamjom is a command that’s mainly used in World Taekwondo sparring matches. It’s not really used in International Taekwon-Do Federation sparring matches, though there are actions in ITF sparring matches that will result in points being taken away.
What do you lose points for in a sparring match?
In a World Taekwondo sparring match, you can lose points for:
- Crossing the boundary line
- Falling down
- Avoiding or delaying the match
- Grabbing or pushing the opponent
- Kicking below the waist
- Attacking the opponent after you have been told to separate
- Hitting the opponent’s head with the hand
- Attacking with the knee
- Attacking the opponent after they’ve fallen down
… and other things. This is not a complete list and it is not necessarily up-to-date. For a complete list of rules for when you lose points in WT sparring matches, look in the most recent official World Taekwondo competition rule book.
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If you'd like to learn more about the Korean terminology used in Taekwondo, consider buying this book: Taekwondo Terminology. It contains an extensive dictionary of terms used in Taekwondo, as well as explanations on how to pronounce Korean words, and aspects of Korean grammar.