What is the best technique or strategy for wining a point scoring fight.

  • 2
    This question is too broad, even restricting it to one specific rule set of one martial art. You can expect hints, thoughts and references; not a full answer. Feb 9, 2015 at 11:28
  • 1
    It would depend on the rules of the tournament, so no answer is possible. Feb 17, 2015 at 14:21
  • Welcome to MartialArts.SE! Your question is a little too broad to reasonably answer, so I have put it on hold. If it can be edited to make it more focused, than it can be easily reopened. Feb 26, 2015 at 5:40

4 Answers 4


The funny thing is, this is a great question!

It's a great question, because most people wouldn't ask it. Instead, they'd presume that all this point sparring business is so complex and filled with an infinite number of possible techniques and strategies, so why should there be any particular "best" strategy or technique? And how could anyone possibly determine it?

Well, yes. It's maybe a little silly to talk about "the" best strategy and technique. If there was one, everyone would be doing that. And if everyone was doing that, it wouldn't be long before someone realized they could just do something else to win, because it would have become predictable.

So let's not talk about "the" best strategy and technique. Let's talk about the more general class of "high percentage" strategies and techniques. And by "high percentage", I mean things that have a high ratio of scores over attempts in actual competition sparring. As opposed to "low percentage" techniques and strategies which have a low ratio of scores over attempts.

The question referred to point sparring, but actually this comes up in all kinds of competitive martial arts: Judo, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiujtsu, Karate, Taekwondo, Muay Thai, American Kickboxing, Boxing, Fencing, Escrima, etc. All of these martial arts usually have statistics regarding which techniques were attempted, how many times, and how often it scored.

In Judo, for example, there's this popular 1971 document which attempts to quantify which throws scored the most:


And so, as you can see from the article, the top 3 throws of 1971 were: Uchimata, Seoinage, and Osotogari. These three throws and a handful of others are used the most. Why? Because they apply in the greatest number of situations, and they seem to be the quickest, easiest, and safest to do.

Of course, time marches on. Rules change. New ideas and discoveries happen and spread like wildfire. The London Olympics of 2014 shows these throws winning the most: Uchimata, Seoinage, Kouchigari, Haraigoshi, Taiotoshi, and Ouchigari. Where did Osotogari go? Hmmm.

Source: http://www.kokakids.co.uk/the-top-scoring-judo-techniques-for-olympic-judo

As a side note, Judo also arranges its throws in a taxonomy known as the "Go Kyo No Waza" (the "5 Levels of Technique"). The first level contains the most widely useful throws in Judo, the ones that can be used in the most number of situations. Level 1 and level 2 includes all of the "most winning" throws mentioned above. The rest of the levels (3 through 5) contain throws that are for very specific situations and don't come up as often. Very logically then, Judo students learn starting with the first level and work their way up to the higher levels. This way, they become proficient in the most useful throws as quickly as possible.

Now as for point sparring, this is going to depend highly on which martial art and which scoring system we're talking about. There are many styles which forbid punches to the face, for example. So of course in those styles, you won't see punches to the face at all. But in boxing, the jab punch is probably the highest percentage technique. It's done the most, and it scores the most.

As a general rule, striking techniques which can be used in the most situations and are fast, direct, and simple to perform will be the highest percentage ones. For hand techniques: jab punch for boxing or reverse punch for karate and Taekwondo. For foot techniques: low/mid-section round kick and front kick. I would also add side kick if you're talking about Taekwondo in particular, but not for most other kicking arts (Taekwondo really likes to use that kick).

These techniques are done the most, because they can be used safely, effectively, quickly, and in the most number of situations. Not coincidentally, that's exactly the same rationale behind why Judo practitioners use the throws that they do.

My advice is to use Google and search for "high percentage Taekwondo techniques" for example. Replace "Taekwondo" with whatever martial art you're interested in.

For Taekwondo, this nice article popped up for me:


It shows the round kick is by far the leader in terms of wins. Following far behind are: cut kick (like a side kick), push kick (like a front kick), spinning side kick, and side kick. The lowest percentages are for "tricky" techniques such as the 360 degree twisting round kick. And reflecting Taekwondo's preference for foot techniques (because kicks are worth more points than punches are), hand techniques are also low percentage.

Also in that article, you'll read that the best overall winning strategy in Olympic Taekwondo is to be very aggressive. Note that in Olympic Taekwondo, sparring is continuous and just depends on how many points you can get within the time limit. It doesn't stop when you get 3 points as in the "3-point-win" style of sparring. That tends to cause players to forgo defense and become more aggressive to try to get as many points as they can. The more aggressive you are, the more likely you are to score a point, which makes sense for continuous sparring. But in 3-point-win sparring, you'll see a lot more attention devoted to defensive strategy, footwork, decoying, timing, and combos. Getting hit counts a lot more to you in 3-point-win sparring, so you tend to be more defensive.

In conclusion:

Each martial art generally has some statistics available about which techniques and strategies are most winning (the "high percentage" ones). In general the highest percentage techniques and strategies are the ones that can be done safely, effectively, quickly, and in the most number of situations. Differences in rules and scoring will create a bias which can be seen in these statistics.

Hope that helps.

  • O soto gari variant and Tai otoshi are another ones with high percentage to go for Ippon.
    – George Geo
    May 25, 2021 at 6:54

The technique that hits the opponent in a valid area of his or her body. Or, the strategy that lets you use those techniques, while keeping you from getting hit.

You know, if we could answer that question, we'd be putting a lot of coaches out of a job.

Train hard. Practice sparring, specifically the games of distance and rhythm. Lose a lot. Learn from your mistakes.

  • The other part of your answer should be don't get hit. It's easier to win that way :)
    – slugster
    Feb 4, 2015 at 20:30

From my exp in karate tournaments, the best point scoring techniques would be the basic 'lunge-punch' or Oizuki. This is very idea for smaller and lighter competitors. I have had successes in scoring points with this.

  1. Be light on your feet, bouncing off your toes, keeping your heel of the ground.
  2. When the opponent moves forward or back, immediately lunge and strike.
  3. after strike quickly lunge backwards to avoid any counters.

The key is to wait for the opponent to move, then enter in as quick as you can and strike the torso.


The best strategy for winning a points-based fight is to stay far away from your opponent until he makes a mistake, then swoop in, make contact and retreat.

As for the techniques to use, well, whichever one is the shortest, most direct route to your target. In Karate, this is usually a straight punch to the chest (or face if the rules allow). In Taekwondo, it's usually an axe kick, jumping back kick or spinning back kick. In boxing it's a hook or straight punch.

Just be aware that most of the fight is actually maneuvering yourself in such a way that you can create/exploit openings in your opponent's defenses. Taekwondo fights are great examples of this. The two fighters bounce around for excruciating amounts of time, and then just as one of them drops his guard, even if only for an instant, the other lands a devastating kick to the head.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.