It’s been really great to read all the club stories on British Taekwondo’s website recently, and the different ways people get into Taekwondo in the first place, how clubs have started up and grown, and how they are returning to full strength after the pandemic… which feels such a long time ago now!
It has also reminded me of how far we’ve all come in these few years. These days almost taking for granted the vast amount of competition events, education opportunities, referee courses, squad training and various team activity, with each one taking a huge effort to organise by the club hosts, technical department volunteers and our British Taekwondo team.
Our team work across membership, safeguarding, development, events, marketing, disability, finance, research and more. You can reach Neil, Joy, Kaina, Richard, Sarah, Matt, Annie, Dafydd, Amy, Karen and Anna by email and phone.
It’s fantastic to see so many people getting opportunities and enjoying their Taekwondo and we are seeing a lot of interest from people wanting to set up clubs or join British Taekwondo in the last six months, to tap into these opportunities.
It’s so easy to take all this for granted, and it is human nature sometimes, to gripe about the little things in life, especially relationships with others – or as some like to do, take to social media and vent (which rarely achieves anything other to hurt everyone) rather than working through day-to-day problems together as a Taekwondo family.
I always think about the tenets of Taekwondo at these times and how easy it is to forget them, particularly when people’s interests sometimes conflict.
The old saying “Change is hard” is very true, and improving things bit by bit takes a lot of work, time and patience, so I would like to thank every single club instructor who puts it out there week in and week out.
A massive thank you too, to the huge number of people involved in British Taekwondo’s technical departments. We forget – these are club people like us and doing everything they do as volunteers to make things better for everyone.
Finally on this subject – I would ask all club instructors and black belts to remember and promote our tenets, Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit. These are a great founding asset for our Martial Art and Sport, and we have a responsibility to be outstanding role models for the next generation if we want our clubs and Taekwondo generally to flourish.
Speaking of events, 2023 has been a great year so far under the new event sanction policy pilot, which achieved its ambition to space out domestic events a little better and support hosts. Again, thank you to all the club hosts for putting on ever improving quality events that allow our upcoming athletes to learn the ropes.
An updated event sanction policy and the opportunity to bid for events in the next season into 2024 will be published in the coming weeks so we ask hosts to start thinking about dates and venues so as not to miss out on the limited number of event slots available.
As before, some priority will be given to events in the Home Nations and areas where event participation opportunities are limited.
On the National & International event front, we have a busy six months ahead, with the first British International Open in a decade taking place at the newly refurbished National Cycling Centre in Manchester.
It’s vital for this first G1 world level event to be successful so we can do this every year and grow it, so please urge all clubs to support the event and get as many of your advanced level athletes entered.
We also have a sold-out National Combat Sport Championships, back at Sheffield again (as it’s one of the few places big enough to hold the action!).
An audit and clean-up of the entry list will follow soon to shift some of those speculative entries and clear the waiting list – look out for that and another record event at the English Institute of Sport on the 30th September and 1st October.
This is followed by the National Poomsae Championships on the 14th and 15th October – once more in Worcester at the University Arena and we are expecting an even bigger entry than last year’s record – look out for the entry pack for this event coming soon.
Wrapping up the year, Great Britain is hosting the World Taekwondo Grand Prix Final, where the top athletes in the World will decide their ranking places for the 2024 Paris Olympic & Paralympic Games.
The UK has hosted several iterations of the Grand Prix, but this is the first time the final has come to our shores, so it’s going to be a great finale to the year on the 1st to the 3rd December at the Regional Arena in the shadow of the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. Look out for early bird ticket offers for British Taekwondo members.
Dan Gradings & Kukkiwon
Members might have noticed the new Dan grading policies and procedures recently, and the attention around a new agreement with Kukkiwon to set-up some new structures for the Martial Art side of what we do. These help to promote better collaboration between experienced Masters in our country and get us all talking about what happens in the Dojang.
For 99% of clubs and groups coming together to conduct promotion tests, not a lot has changed, and all the new stuff is designed to improve the organisation, standard and fairness of gradings.
A new “One stop shop” information section conducting Dan promotion tests with downloadable sanction and examiner application forms will be launched on the website in the coming month.
On the wider picture, we are getting a lot of people who may have left the British Taekwondo family a long while ago, coming back and wanting to be a part of a bigger Taekwondo world, so I would ask any masters interested in moving things forward to keep-in-touch as we roll out some of the Kukkiwon initiatives.
We are still on track to launch the next phase of our coach education pathway, with the introduction of the new Level 2 Club Coach qualification this Autumn.
A huge amount of work has gone into this, and our new qualification builds on the success of the Assistant Coach award which has had over 200 coaches go through that process since launch last year.
The Whyte review in gymnastics and other safeguarding initiatives, have triggered a huge cultural shift in the way sport and coaching is going to be administered in the future and the government are bringing forward several proposals and consultations that the sporting sector are trying to get ahead of.
Our level 2 will become the baseline for all coaches wishing to lead or teach unsupervised in a club at an industry standard.
Obviously, we have a complicated historical picture of coaches who have existing level 2’s and an existing cohort that will need a transition period, so want to reassure clubs and coaches that these have been thought about and factored into this, as we all move to a better, well-educated workforce of Taekwondo instructors and coaches.
A prospectus with information on the qualification is almost complete, so will be available to download soon, along with some online workshops to explain it all!
Membership Services and Development
We have a lot of activity going on behind the scenes to reshape our membership offer and offer our clubs and members more benefits and services. It is vital we modernise our membership platform (The Hub) and a project, many years in the making, is coming to a head where we will look to transition to a new platform that will help us all grow and sustain our clubs digitally – a long time coming… and we are almost there!
We are also looking to diversify our membership offer to improve value and create new products that encourage new types of Taekwondo-based classes and activity. As with the membership system project, this has been on the cards for years, but had to be paused whilst we all faced the financial and other impacts of the pandemic as clubs and organisations. But I’m glad to say we are also getting there with this project too.
A consultation piece will take place in the coming months.
Our work with Sport England has entered a new era, with a more direct funding and working relationship that help Taekwondo take its place as a core system partner to help tackle inequalities across the country.
This is a massive vote of confidence in British Taekwondo, and we are well placed to offer alternative physical activity to your usual core sports like football – with so many different elements and attributes that can be broken down into bespoke coaching content covering people with disability and social disadvantages.
We have a dedicated Disability Officer – Annie – who is working with the development team on creating coaching models and learning resources that can really improve people’s lives and levels of physical activity.
There is some great working going on out there in this area and I wanted to thank all the instructors and clubs involved in the various projects.
Finally, I just wanted to round off by thanking every club instructor and coach for your ongoing support of British Taekwondo.
Watch this space for more and more developments and other news as the year progresses.
From me and all the team, we hope you have an excellent summer of training, competing and supporting each other.
Chief Executive Officer