Free sparring is basically putting what has been learnt so far into practice, with no pre-warning of attack. Therefore, not as many defending techniques can be practised as in the other forms of sparring. Free sparring can be practised with no pads and should be strictly non-contact.
Semi contact sparring is allowed only with adequate protection (i.e. safety boots and gloves etc.). This type of sparring must only be carried out under strict supervision of a qualified Instructor.
TOURNAMENT FREE SPARRING
Free sparring In Tae Kwon-Do could be said to be a combination of all the different types of sparring that a student has previously experienced e.g. 3 step sparring, semi-free sparring and so on.
To be a competent tournament sparring exponent certain skills have to be developed such as speed, timing, stamina, balance, and flexibility. All these attributes must be used together as one unit. But, probably the most important attribute for the student who wishes to enter competitions to possess is stamina. This must be worked on continuously using a variety of exercises over a long period of time, not just days or weeks, but months at a time.
Most students when they free spar see it totally as a means of attacking an opponent with certain techniques; what many students forget is that defensive movements, learnt in earlier types of sparring and basic movements should be utilised and are just as, if not more, important than attacking movements. Even when all the skills have developed it still does not guarantee success – as with most things there is no substitute for experience.
Tournament sparring in Tae kwon-Do must be seen purely as the sport side of the Art and must not be confused with self defence, it is a completely separate concept and must be learnt and approached in a totally different manner.