paralympics
Para Taekwondo

Iran's Hadi Saei and Russia's Alan Koev duel during the men's under 72kg medal match at the World Taekwondo Championships in Madrid, Spain, 2005. (Victor Fraile/Reuters)

What's it all about?

You’re in an action movie — you’re the star! — and the bad guy is never going to see what’s coming. A fight’s going to go down, but you’re going to win using ONLY YOUR FEET. Into it? Then para taekwondo is probably the sport for you!

How it's played

Things to watch for

one athlete kicks the other in the back of the shoulder
Chikara Ito and Shunsuke Tanaka compete during the Para Kyorugi during the Japan Taekwondo Championships in Tokyo, Japan, 2019. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Chest kicks only
  • In para taekwondo, only kicks to the torso are allowed. 
  • Points are given for three types of kicks: a plain valid kick, a 180-degree turn kick and a 360-degree spinning kick that pivots from a rear kick.
one athlete blocks the other by wrapping his leg around the other athlete's torso
Chikara Ito and Shunsuke Tanaka compete during the Para Kyorugi during the Japan Taekwondo Championships in Tokyo, Japan, 2019. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Defensive skills
  • Athletes competing in para taekwondo have different levels of impairment to their arms. 
  • They have to use unique and creative skills to defend against an opponent's attack and stop them from getting points.
one athlete kicks the other in the chest which is protected with a vest
Shota Abe delivers a kick to Kazuki Ishihara's trunk during the Japan Taekwondo Championships in Chiba, Japan, 2019. (Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)
Points and protection
  • Every time an opponent delivers a kick to their torso, points are awarded. 
  • Not only does the vest track each point per kick, but it also provides protection from the kicks as well.