Korea Taekwondo Association tests Tekken-style life bars in matches

2 min read
Korea Taekwondo Association tests Tekken-style life bars in matches

Way easier to keep score

Have you ever watched a Taekwondo match and wondered why the guy you thought was winning didn’t? Well I have and I admit, I should have just learned the rules, but as it turns out, I’m not the only one that couldn’t be bothered to google it.

In a bid to help simplify the scoring system for spectators, the Korea Taekwondo Association held exhibition matches that showcased the use of Tekken-styled health bars. From the videos shared by TKD News, it seemed to work almost as good as it does in your favorite fighting game. 

In Taekwondo, points are allocated to body parts when hit. These parts are mainly the body and head, as blows below the waist are against the rules and lead to penalties. You can think of these points as the damage each move inflicts on the opponent. 

It’s uncertain whether special rules will be implemented or change if the health bar is approved for use. I mention this because Taekwondo matches usually end if a fighter has a 12-point (juniors and cadets) or 20-point lead by the end of the second round or at any point in the third. The idea is, this gap is too high for a fighter to catch up to, hence their automatic loss of the round (look who finally googled the rules). That would be like your opponent getting a huge health lead in Tekken 7 and the match abruptly coming to an end right after. I believe we’ve all played and watched enough matches to know that a game isn’t won until a KO or time out. Think of all the crazy reversals and intense matches we never would have seen if this were applied to fighting games.

The technology employed by the Korea Taekwondo Association uses special gear that tracks movement and rewards points. Taekwondo is no stranger to electronic scoring though since big matches have the fighters wear padded gear equipped with similar sensors. The experimental sensors are located in the chest gear and headgear worn by fighters to calculate the points earned from each blow and subsequently subtract that from the total health of the opponent. Players start with 100 points and have to fully deplete their opponent’s health to win.

The health bars are displayed on a large main screen, alongside fighter profiles, round time, stats and even penalty notifications. The blows were also accompanied by sound effects, but these felt a little too gimmicky. However, it’s a fine example of how esports can teach traditional sports a thing or two.

In my opinion, its a great initiative that should appeal to non-gamers and gamers alike. Here’s hoping the verdict is positive and other contact sports pick it up as well. 

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