What is Taekwondo sparring called in Korean?

Different styles of Taekwondo prefer different Korean terms for sparring. Depending on the style, sparring can be called 겨루기 kyoroogi, 맞서기 matsogi, or 대련 daeryon.

If you train in Kukki-won Taekwondo (also called WTF Taekwondo or WT Taekwondo), then the preferred term for sparring is 겨루기 kyoroogi.

If you train in Changheon-yu Taekwondo (also called ITF Taekwondo), which is the style of Taekwondo promulgated by Choi Hong-hi, then the preferred term for sparring is 맞서기 matsogi. 맞서기 matsogi literally means ‘standing in opposition’ or ‘standing opposite each other’.

대련 daeryon is a term used by some Tangsudo schools. It was also used early on in Changheon-yu Taekwondo, and is occasionally still used today in some schools (though this is rare).

What should you not say?

Sparring in Taekwondo should not be referred to as kumite. This is a Japanese word that’s used to describe sparring in Karate. Korean is the proper language of Taekwondo, therefore Korean words should be used.

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Want to learn more?

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.

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