- Page 2
- Basic Duties
- Page 4
- Page 6
- What makes a good one
- Page 8
- Page 9
- Page 11
- Hand Signals
- Page 13
- Page 15
- Medical Examination
- Page 19
- Page 21
- Page 22
- Ring Position
- Page 24
- Page 25
- Page 28
- Computerized Scoring
- Digital Recording
- All Pages
Although the rules Taekwondo competition continues to develop, the principals behind the rules are constant. By understanding the reasons behind the rules, referees will be able to understand and remember the rules, and be able to apply the rules fairly. Referees who understand scoring and reasons for warnings and deductions will be able to quickly react to unusual situations properly.
The rules of tournament competition restrict or prohibit many techniques of Taekwondo for the safety of the competitors and to promote the use of the more difficult techniques. Because kicking techniques are central to Taekwondo and exemplify the technical skill Taekwondo develops, the rules of competition foster kicking techniques. Hand strikes, while also important in Taekwondo, are restricted for safety and to promote the use of more difficult kicking techniques. Since hand strikes are more easily learned and delivered than kicks, competitors would tend to use hand strikes more than the more difficult kicking techniques if the full array of hand strikes were allowed to score. This would result in an imbalance of hand techniques over kicking techniques. Additionally, because hand strikes are easily delivered to the head and may cause injury to the competitor, hand strikes to the head have been eliminated for safety.
Only techniques that result in accurate and powerful contact will score. The rules of competition require the use of sparring protective equipment to protect the competitor from injury and allow some level of contact to be required.
Referees are responsible for the opening and closing of a match. The referee’s demeanor and actions directly affect the match that follows. Referees should maintain an attitude of respect and sporting enthusiasm for the match and emphasize that this is a sporting event and not a "fight." Referees should never attempt to dominate a match by arrogance. Referees actions should always be reserved and controlled when directing the competitors and enthusiastic during the competition.
Consistency in judgment and perception is a qualification necessary to obtain high refereeing skills. If a person is sharp and able, but not consistent, then he is not an observer. Referees should not be creative. Using personal opinion and forming and adjusting actions as valid or non-valid points in their minds in not acceptable. Referees should simply be observers and moderators of the action. Whether the technique is a point or not should not depend on the referee's imagination.
Referees should not read body language, neither that of competitors nor spectators. Body language is a major factor in bad calls. Just as person understands the language that he personally speaks, referees understand and give context to the body language that they are most familiar with. They may misread body language and misinterpret the actions of competitors.
Referees are not players in the competition and should only act to regulate the match and insure that each competitor gets what he or she earns. Winning or not winning should not depend on which referee was in control of the match. The match is won by the contestant's actions and should only be judged according to the rules.
The primary duty of a referee is to prevent injuries to competitors. Other duties are to ensure that competitors participate in a sportsmanlike manner, enforce the rules fairly and impartially, interpret the rules insofar as to their applicability to the action while respecting the honor and traditions of Taekwondo, and to control their assigned ring in such a way as to be transparent to the competitors, allowing them the freedom of action within the rules. This requires a person of strong personality and mind, humble but confident without appearing arrogant or overbearing. Referees never allow themselves to be influenced by anyone or anything other than the actions of the competitors. Referees must evaluate the techniques used and assess penalties for prohibited acts, being firm, humane, impartial, and at no time abuse the powers as delegated.
- Giving all commands and all announcements
- Awarding points
- Imposing penalties and issuing warnings
- Obtaining opinions of judges
- Announcing extensions of time on a match
- Halting a match when necessary
- When awarding a point, insuring all criteria for scoring are met. When referee withholds a point because one of the criteria has not been met, referee should inform the competitor of this.
- A good Referee will not halt the smooth flow of the bout unless it is necessary to do so.
- Authority of the referee is not confined solely to the competition area, but also to its entire immediate perimeter.
- Carefully watch the fighters for injury or distress
- Avoid giving commands out of position
- Be alert and patient
- Resolutely stop the bout with a proper command
- Consider carefully imposing an official warning
- Do not argue with the fighters
- Strive for the best position
- Strive to continually improve skills
Decisions in refereeing must be without hesitation to maintain authority. This skill needs continual reinforcement that can only be achieved through actual in the ring refereeing. Head referees also need time in the ring to keep their skills sharp and should not miss the opportunity to referee.
Referees are the central authority, the "expert," of the ring. The judges, technical officials, competitors, and coaches look to the referee to direct the contest, maintain control, and enforce rules. Authority does not come automatically with the position of referee. It is a quality of the individual person that is developed over time. Authority is measurable and the presence of a strong authority creates respect, confidence, and credibility. The ability to establish authority requires a proficiency in all the necessary qualities of a referee. A weakness in any single area can quickly undermine authority.
In establishing authority, a referee must remain calm, confident, and rational even under the most difficult of situations. An expert knowledge of Taekwondo protocols and the rules are required. Most importantly, a rapport must be developed with the two judges so the group may work effectively as a team.
Authority requires confidence. When a call is made, the referee should not make direct visual contact with the judges to determine whether they agree to disagree. This direct checking indicates a lack of confidence in the call that was made. A referee who continually looks at both judges after a call or who looks to the judges before making a call demonstrates a clear lack of confidence, knowledge, and ability.
Any corrections to be made to the score fall under the authority of the referee. If a judge sees an error on the score, the judge must bring it to the attention of the referee. In most cases, a discussion between the referee and judges should not be required. The referee may stop the contest, if necessary, and correct the error. At no time should judges interact directly with timekeepers or scorekeepers. This task is under the authority of the referee.
The referee and judges have complete jurisdiction over the competition area. Any photographers, spectators, additional coaches, or other competitors must be removed from the immediate competition area. Failure by a referees to do so shows a lack of control over their domain. Competitors should never be allowed to adjust their uniform without the referee's permission. A competitor who does so is infringing on the referee's authority. Referees should avoid any conversation with the competitors unless it is to explain a penalty or to establish whether an injury exists.
Only the referee can stop a bout. The referee may terminate or temporarily stop a match:
- If one of the fighters has sustained an injury rendering him or her unable to continue
- To admonish, administer a warning or disqualify a fighter who fails to follow or violates the rules.
- In the event of a knockdown, to suspend a count if a fighter refuses to go to or deliberately fails to remain in the neutral corner indicated by the referee.
- To consult with the ringside physician.
- To adjust equipment.
- To seek advice.
What makes a good one
Refereeing is an art that takes many years of practice and training to achieve. To excel at refereeing, one must develop a "feel for the match" so he or she may participate both mentally and spiritually in the development of the match.
A sound mind and body are necessary for optimal performance. Intense concentration is required to make immediate, accurate evaluations and decisions. Consistency is paramount. This high level of performance must be maintained from the first match of the day until through the last match of the day.
The referee is a current or former competitor or school owner who has very seriously studied and practiced Taekwondo for years. The transition to refereeing is a natural progression in the life of a competitor, providing the opportunity to achieve the principles of Taekwondo that were once provided by being a competitor. The pressures of refereeing bring back their competitive spirit. However, the pressures of refereeing are not self imposed, but evolve from the event, the competitors, spectators, and the critical eye of high ranking officials. These feelings must be controlled and put aside so the mind is clear of extraneous thoughts and feelings.
Referees must approach a competition in much the same manner as contestants, paying attention to such factors as jet lag, physical fitness, and rest so as to be alert, calm, and energetic. Prior to the start of competition, referees should familiarize themselves with familiar with the competition layout, location officials table, location of event organizers, and the position of the medical team. In top-level competitions, a full dress rehearsal may be necessary to ensure all referees and officials are aware of their duties.
Movement and positioning and knowledge of the rules are important qualities of a referee, but the single most important trait in a good referee is good judgment. Good judgment is the innate ability that allows a referee to interpret what is seen and translate it into proper fair action. To an extent, good judgment may be developed, but basically, either you have it or you do not.
Development is also paramount. Referees must develop their skills over time. Referees cannot be refereeing at the same level today that they were years prior, especially at the championship level. Prime examples of development are consistency, smooth movement and positioning, good verbal commands, patience, and sound decision making in stopping matches, deducting points, etc. Working high profile or title matches does not automatically make you a great referee as geography denies us the opportunity of seeing many of today’s great referees in action. For example, the USA does not have the market cornered on great referees.
There are many great referees throughout the world. However, high profile matches do give a referee an opportunity to demonstrate those skills that eventually transcend one from being an average referee to a truly great one. Good referees referee every chance they get, they keep up-to-date on rules changes, they attend seminars and clinics, they watch videos of matches, they seek feedback and advice of more experienced veterans, they strive for smoothness and consistency in their actions, and they welcome friendly, discreet, sincere discussions from colleagues on ways to improve. Rules should be reviewed on a regular basis and certainly just prior to a major competition. Hand gestures, body movements, and verbal commands should be rehearsed in front of a mirror. There is no end to learning or improvement. Perfection can never be fully attained, but must always be pursued.
Referees should lead a clean lifestyle similar to the athletes. Overeating and drinking should be avoided. Drugs or stimulants are prohibited. If in civilian clothes, referees should wear clothes that are suitable for a professional businessperson. When in uniform, the uniform should be clean, pressed, in good repair, and have all required patches and striping.
- I will study the rules and mechanics of the tournament; observe the work of other officials; actively seek constructive criticism from my colleagues; and will, at all times, attempt to improve myself as an official.
- I will endeavor to have and keep my body in sound physical condition. I well have regular physical examinations to assure myself and my associates of my physical capabilities.
- I will remember that while my work as an official is important, I must conduct myself in such a way that attention is drawn, not to me, but to the competitors. I will keep in mind that the sport is more important than the wishes of any individual player, coach, instructor, school owner, or the ambitions of an individual official.
- I will report in a timely fashion for all meetings and assignments, be prepared to participate fully until the last match; and attend all debriefing sessions prior to dismissal.
- I will dress and maintain my appearance in a manner befitting the dignity and importance of the officiating profession.
- I will render fair and impartial rulings.
- I will shape my character and conduct so as to be a worthy example to competitors
- I will be fair and unbiased in my decisions, rendering them without regard to the score.
- I will give my complete cooperation to the organization that I serve and of which I am a member.
- I will cooperate with my fellow officials and will do nothing to cause them public embarrassment.
- I will be firm but not overbearing, but not ingratiating; positive but never rude; dignified but never “cocky”; friendly but not companionable; calm but always alert.
- I will work in a collaborative, harmonious fashion with colleagues, accepting freely comments for personal betterment, and when appropriate, provide advice to others in a discreet and constructive manner.
- I will not officiate after having any alcoholic drink on the day I am scheduled to officiate.
- I will not make a request to officiate a specific match.
- I will not criticize or attempt to explain a fellow official’s judgment.
- I will honor all assignments in spite of possible inconvenience or financial loss.
- I will become familiar with and abide by my organization's media policy.
- I will pursue any concerns or complaints I may have related to officiating through the appropriate officials.
Hand signals are used to reinforce the verbal commands. The precise hand signals to use are determined by the rules. They are used mainly to communicate between the referee team, contestants, timekeepers, and scorekeepers, but also they serve to let the spectators know the calls made during the contest. Many hand signals have a verbal counterpart that is initiated at the same time. The hand signal must be precise, vigorous, and held for 2 to 3 seconds. The signal must appear relaxed, without being tight, artificial, or over emphatic. Theatrics are uncalled for, tend to distract the spectators, and take away from the match itself.
When the referee makes a judgmental call, he or she must display the signal such that it is clearly seen by the judges and contestants. Every hand signal should be locked into position with slight turns in both directions to allow everyone to see. The turns allow the referee to observe the corner judges without being direct or obvious. During the delivery of hand signals the referee must maintain visual contact with the competitors. On the call of Break or Goman, the voice should be directed to the competitors while the hand signal is directed towards the timekeeper. This is the only signal that does not include turns. As Goman has no relevance to the outcome, the priority is to ensure that the competitors and the time keeper know that time has stopped. In quick action, it may be difficult for the hand signals to keep up with the verbal commands. It is more important that the verbal command is correct rather than the hand signal.
Judges uses the same hand signals as the referee but without the voice. If a judge determines a call should be different than the referee, he or she must indicate so with the appropriate hand signal. The signal should not be weak, half hearted, or modified since this would indicate a lack of confidence. The judge must hold the signal until it is acknowledged by the referee. A judge that fails to hold a signal long enough for acknowledgement demonstrates a lack of confidence and determination.
For actions that occur on the edge of the ring, a judge must be ready to indicate whether the action was in or out and hold this signal until the referee announces a score or calls Break. On all techniques ending outside, the judge must make an immediate signal, either in or out, so the referee can take the judge's opinion into consideration before awarding a score. A judge who makes no gesture is failing to support the referee and would be questioned about this lack of participation. If a judge fails to make a gesture as to whether the throw was in or out the referee must make the evaluation and indicate either a score (in) or that the technique was invalid (out).
On the command "Judges Score" by the referee, judges must raise their flags immediately and with conviction. The judge who raises the flag slowly or waits to see what the other judge has raised shows a lack of determination, presence, and appreciation. This makes the team appear indecisive and subjects the decision to possible criticism by the coaches and competitors.
Two judges are in each ring to assist the referee. The two judges are there to support the referee by providing an independent evaluation, often from a different vantage point than the referee. Judges are an important member of the refereeing team, with an equal voice but with different responsibilities than the referee. Should a consultation be necessary, it should be short, but long enough to fully understand and weigh the point of view of the others. The referee must accept the support of the team without argument. As a team, the final decision, by a majority of two, will provide the competitors with a decision that is fair and just. Referee team members may rotate between the judge and referee duties.
Judges independently evaluate the progress of the contest and must be prepared to give an opinion for any actions executed. The tasks of judges require the same knowledge, concentration and qualities as those of the referee. Judges must anticipate the actions of the competitors to be prepared to move out of the way so as not to interfere. Judges must not lose visual contact with the competitors. Like the referee, judges are also responsible for monitoring the scoreboard to ensure that the results registered by the timekeepers and scorekeepers are correct. From time to time, and especially after a call has been announced, the scoreboard should be checked for correctness.
Judges are there in a supporting role, not in a lead role. Any attempt by a judge to exert too much influence on the referee will compromise the overall authority of the team. Judges must allow time for the referee to make calls. Only in situations where the judge disagrees with the call of the referee or where the referee fails to make any call at all should a judge indicate an opinion. Any judge who makes a call on a score, before or at the same time as the referee, is infringing on the jurisdiction of the referee. This is detrimental to the team's integrity.
Teamwork and effective communication, both verbal and visual, are required when working with other officials. The referee has the responsibility, once various decisions are announced, to ensure that these commands are clearly understood by the timekeepers and scorekeepers who are a part of the overall support team. Referees and judges must be impartial; their attitude must be attentive, dignified, and calm, while their behavior must neither be detached nor theatrical. The judgment and integrity of the referees and judges must not be influenced by sentimental or exterior factors.
A medical examination is called only under the authority of the referee. The referee must ensure that only a properly accredited medical attendant is allowed onto the competition area. During the time out, the judges should approach the referee since, as a team, they are responsible for ensuring that the authorized medical attendant is acting within rules. Once the medical attendant is at the side of the competitor, the referee must determine whether the injury was the result of a prohibited act or accidental and act accordingly.
All experienced referees have a duty to the profession to support the development of potential and up and coming referees. By attending local and regional tournaments, senior referees may better understand the problems and common errors encountered by referees at lower levels and assist in their correction. Guidance and supervision at lower levels will nurture the development system and ensure a succession of top quality referees.
Mentorship and the ability to instill confidence in others take special qualities. Experienced referees must provide guidance to others without direct interference or domination. Interference may cause a referee to become embarrassed, insulted, and tense and spectators may get the impression that the referee team does not know what they are doing. Only if there is a great miscarriage of justice, such as a grave technical error, should direct interference be used to ensure the competitors are treated fairly.
Skills of observation and position are complementary. Proper positioning will ensure that the referee's eyes are fixed on the right location at the right time. Observation is a skill that determines how well and how quickly this information is processed. Referees must observe everything near and in the ring before the competitors arrive, during the match, and as the competitors leave.
Referees with a "trained eye" and effective peripheral vision have learned to process key visual information from the competitors in the foreground, while other information from the periphery is monitored in a background. This takes intense concentration. When a pattern of information from the background deserves more attention, the experienced referee will take it into consideration without losing track of the central task. Viewing the background at the appropriate times allows the referee to effectively monitor the match. The less experienced referee only watches one facet of the mach while the experienced referee observes multiple facets. The less experienced referee tends to watch only what he or she has been told to watch.
Referees should observe the ring layout. Are the mats tightly fitted together and free of moisture? Is the scoreboard cleared to zero? Are the timekeepers and scorekeepers in place? As each competitor arrives, referees should look for jewelry, inspect the uniform, and ensure long hair is tied back properly. This should be a visual inspection only. Physical inspection would be unprofessional.
The foreground focus is always on the competitors from the moment they step onto the ring and until they step out. Some referees have a tendency to take their eyes off the competitors after a call. When an action has been scored, the referee must maintain visual contact with the competitors to determine the color of their side indicators so as not to award a point or a win to the wrong contestant.
The background focus must shift to different aspects in the periphery and depends on the immediate circumstances of the match. For example, after a call has just been made, the focus must change to the judges and then to the scoreboard while maintaining the competitors in the foreground focus at all times. Using this method, a mistake on the scoreboard should be discovered and corrected within 5 seconds after the initial call was made. An error should never go unnoticed for more than 5 seconds. The complications caused by an error that goes unnoticed for a significant amount time often makes a correction more difficult.
As the competitors move toward the edge of the ring, the referee must begin to locate the edge to be in a position to determine in or out. Anytime a competitor steps out, goman must be called to maintain consistency.
Observations regarding the uniform and personal appearance of the competitors are critical during the contest. It is the referee's duty to ensure that decorum is maintained and no advantage is created. As long as both competitors have an equal amount of disarrangement or there is no advantage or disadvantage to either contestant then the contest should continue. A referee who continually stops the fight and orders the competitors to arrange their uniforms is obstructing the natural momentum of the match.
The presence surrounding a referee team is directly linked to their appearance, mannerisms, and behavior. Any single flaw may detract significantly from the team's presence.
A Professional appearance starts with properly tailored clothing. Civilian clothing and uniforms should be in good condition, clean, and freshly pressed. A competition lasting several days will require a fresh uniform each day and attention to personal grooming.
Posture, movements, and gestures should always appear natural. If a referee, by personal mannerisms, is attracting attention it may take away from the match and create a forced presence. Referees should adopt a basic standing posture with hands and arms relaxed down by the sides and may lean forward on a leg to show interest. Leaning on the back leg with the front leg relaxed should be avoided since this stance denotes a lack of interest and is not considered professional. The arms should swing naturally but not excessively when walking. Arms should be held in a relaxed position close to the body.
Referees should not flinch or turn their body or head when a forceful technique lands. These quirks tend to detract from the match. Referees must flow with the action, anticipating the direction and moving with the competitors, but they must not get subconsciously drawn in to the match itself to the extent that body movements begin to imitate a competitor's actions.
Referees must give appropriate gesture with the arms, not with the entire body. Making facial expressions or head movements that may give the impression that the action was "almost" a point or a warning must be avoided. Referees should remain consistent, composed, and calm. Calmness is essential to establishing and maintaining presence. Clenching the fists, arms out and away from the body, wrinkling of the forehead, jerky movements, and constantly adjusting attire are a signs of nervousness that should be avoided. The arms must never be folded across the chest. This implies arrogance, superiority, and a closed mind.
Maintaining composure in difficult situations is essential. A referee normally develops a certain style with a rhythm for moving, making gestures, and handling situations. Whether the action is slow or very fast the referee should remain calm and composed. Any change in rhythm may indicate a loss of composure.
Even the most seasoned referee may have a call changed. This should never be taken personally. If a referee's emotions are not controlled, performance will suffer. Making facial expressions or hand signals that may depict disagreement with the judges weakens the cohesiveness of the team. It is important that the three referees work as one, complementing and assisting each other's actions.
In the event of a serious injury to a contestant or an unconscious competitor, it is imperative that the referee remain composed to control the situation for the safety and welfare of the competitor.
No member of the team should say or make any action which might dilute the unity of the team. Referees should demonstrate respect for competitors at all times, showing courtesy when directing the contestants back to the starting position and avoid touching them.
Nothing will detract faster from one's presence than a demonstrated lack of interest. A referee that is more interested in the activities on the next contest area or looks around the competition area demonstrates weakness and a lack of presence.
An experienced referee always seems to be at the right position at the right time to have a clear view of the action. This is not accidental. It is an acquired quality that is developed over time with practice.
When a referee takes a stationary position, he or she must be aware of the location of the judges and careful not to block their line of sight to the contestants or to the edge of the ring. Whenever possible, the referee should not block visual contact with the timekeepers and scorekeepers.
At the starting position, the referee forms a triangle with the contestants. Referees should try to maintain this triangular relationship whenever possible. Referees must stay close enough to the competitors to maintain control but far enough away so as not to interfere with the action. Referees must continually evaluate and anticipate competitor actions to move to the best location to observe the match.
Movements by the referee should be fluid, smooth, and dignified. Maintaining good posture with the weight on the balls of the feet allows the feet to glide. All steps should be short, balanced, and at a relaxed pace. Fast movement may denote nervousness or elevated emotions and detracts from the competitors. Referees must learn to limit their movements, generally by taking less steps than those taken by the competitors. A common error with less experienced referees is continual shuffling of the feet in a small area. This unnecessary movement is distracting and takes away from the match. The referee should remain in one place when competitors are fighting in the one spot, but may need to change position slightly after a certain amount of time has elapsed to indicate interest and remain involved with the match. More experienced referees generally plan their steps and when they make a move it is completed to a standstill. Less experienced referees tend to start moving in one direction, then change direction, and often cover unnecessary ground.
When the competitors move toward the edge of the ring, the referee must gain a position to evaluate any potential actions, relying on the judges to watch the line and determine in or out. This requires that the referee be aware of the location of the judges to stay clear of their line of sight along the edges of the ring.
When the competitors move toward a corner without a judge, the referee should follow but stay inside the out of bounds area to give both judges an unhampered view of the competitors and the edge of the ring. When the competitors move towards a corner with a judge, the referee should take a position just slightly inside either edge and on the opposite side of the contestants to that of the closest corner judge. As the competitors approach, the judge should begin moving while maintaining visual contact with the contestants. He or she should move away from the action in such a way as to maintain a direct sight line along the edge of the contest area that the contestants are approaching to be in a position to determine in or out if necessary. When the competitors move towards a side of the ring, the referee should take a position just slightly inside the edge with his or her back towards the corner without a judge. Referees must recognize when they are in danger of being boxed into a corner and circle one way or the other to avoid the competitors' charge. Once the safety area is reached, the referee should circle opposite the movement of the competitors.
From a theoretical point of view, as a referee gets further away from the contestants the angle that the eyes make in relation to the impact point becomes less steep and the view is more favorable. This is one of the reasons that studies have shown an increase in the number of correct calls when they are made from a greater distance from the competitors.
The referee's delivery of commands should portray determination, confidence, and control. This helps to establish the amount of authority and presence the referee exerts in the ring. The tone, inflection, and explosiveness of voice will aid in controlling the match, particularly during a match with heated action. Air is needed to give the voice force. Proper inhalation should become an automatic process. With experience, taking the breath happens subconsciously. Commands must be voiced in such a way that they are heard and understood by the competitors, coaches, timekeepers, scorekeepers, and spectators. This is accomplished with clarity, volume, and projection.
Clarity in enunciation is assisted by accent. In general, the last syllable of a command should be accented and vowels should be short. The following should be used as a guide for vowels:
- "a" as in around, about
- "e" as in egg, edit
- "i" as in police, machine, ski
- "o" as in so, go, open
- "u" as in suit, you
Volume and projection work together. A louder voice can travel further and is projected in the same direction as the head faces. The easiest way to be heard is to face the target. The referee must always face the competitors when giving a command as the competitors rely exclusively on voice and not gestures to know what call has been made. Whenever, possible the referee should face the timekeepers and scorekeepers as well.
Conferences should be kept to a minimum as they take away from the momentum of the match. However, there are times when a conference is necessary to discuss a penalty or a circumstance that is not covered by the rules. A conference is initiated and directed under the authority of the referee and held within the ring. The referee invites both judges to approach a location just out of hearing range of the contestants. The referee stands facing the competitors with a judge on either side facing inward at 45 degree angles. This formation allows the judges to see each other during their conversations while allowing the referee to remain in visual contact with both contestants and each judge.
During the brief discussion, the referee invites the opinions of the judges, one at a time. A judge who visually or verbally dominates the conversation is infringing on the referee's domain. Judges should not speak to each other. The referee should never approach an individual judge for a discussion and must never hold a discussion with only one judge. Doing so would lessen the integrity and unity of the team.
On reaching a consensus, the judges should indicate their agreement with a nod of the head. The referee must make sure that all discussion is finished and that he or she has a complete understanding of the decision before the judges return to their corners.
Referees must be confident in the calls they make. However, there will be times that the two judges may overrule the referee. Based on position, the judges may have a better view of the action and therefore better able to make a evaluation. Accepting the decision of the judges does not undermine the referee's authority, and must be done without argument. Judges must respect the authority of the referee and allow for an acceptable degree of latitude on calls and decisions. A judge must refrain from differing on every call unless grave errors are continually made. Disagreeing on every call reflects very poorly on the judge and diminishes the team's integrity. A referee in this case may begin to have concern over the judge's continual interference and the strain that this is placing on the team's cohesiveness.
In regional events, less experienced referees are often "teamed up" with veterans to create an overall strong team. This allows the less seasoned referee the opportunity to gain ring experience under the supervision and guidance of more experienced judges. In these situations, the assistance and intervention of the judges may be more prevalent and is acceptable.
Determination is the ability to express one's opinions with conviction. When a technique scores, the referee must indicate the call without hesitation. Any hesitation shows a lack of determination. Novice referees will probably be slow in making calls, but with experience, the speed of calls improves. It is important that the calls be right rather than fast, but it is even better if they are both right and fast. All scores should be called on impact and not before.
The referee must not give in to intimidation by the spectators or coach on the calls being made. Calls must always be made as the referee sees them. The referee should not be persuaded to be lenient for a questionable warning because the other competitor almost scored a warning earlier or a penalty was overlooked.
There is no such thing as compensating for an earlier call. Never compensate for a change of mind by calling the next point higher than it actually is. One incorrect call is enough. Once the mistake has been made, it is not in anyone's interest to try to make up for it. Compounding errors dilute the authority, control, and presence that have been established.
Consistency in a referee's qualities is important. A referee should not try to adjust calls up or down during an actual contest to compensate for calls that have been changed by the judges. Trying to make calls "match" the judges is a recipe for disaster. The calls should continue to be made as the referee sees them. Once the team is out of the ring, the referee should speak with the judges to determine the problem and work out a solution.
Researchers from Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Stanford University, and Impact Measurement are testing (June 2004) a computerized scoring system in Taekwondo matches. Information from the sensors, combined with the judges' calls makes for more accurate scoring, according to the researchers.
Since sport Taekwondo competitors earn points for accurate, powerful kicks delivered to a scoring region of a competitor's body, the system uses wireless piezoelectric pressure sensors planted in the hogu (body protector) worn by competitors. Piezoelectric materials transfer vibration into electricity and vice versa. The sensors transfer the force of impact into a readable electrical signal that is wirelessly transmitted to a laptop base station.
The system includes wireless handsets for the three judges, and each sensor score has to be confirmed in real-time by a least two of the judges. The sensor and handset data is processed by the laptop, which also controls a score display.
With the prevalence of digital cameras and video recorders among parents and spectators, any miscall or misjudgment may immediately brought to the attention of referees and other officials. Referees must remember this may happen but not be overly concerned. Mistakes will happen. As long as the mistake is not blatant or does not show any partiality, referees must just accept instant recording as something that must be tolerated.
The ability to understand and appreciate the actions of the competitors comes from an in-depth knowledge of the principles and techniques of Taekwondo. While practical refereeing is needed to enhance and fine tune the skills of appreciation, the foundation must be established by practicing and studying Taekwondo on a regular basis. Techniques continue to change over time and referees must keep pace with these changes or appreciation will suffer. Appreciation includes: understanding when an action deserves a score, understanding when actions are prohibited and a penalty should be awarded, and when to call Break.