The Board of British Taekwondo is very different to what we have historically been used to in the Taekwondo community. As I have been part of this board for 6 months I wanted to share my observations on our activity and some of our vision.
The Board is made up of :
- Jon Smith Chairperson
- Mark Abberley CEO
- Paul Mckenzie Finance Director
- Sarah Jennings MBE, NED
- Jonny Cowan NED
- Mike Mckenzie NED
The first thing to be noted is that the majority of the board are not Taekwondo practitioners. Jon Smith is a very well respected entrepreneur, his book THE DEAL – Inside the world of a super agent, tells his exciting story of a “life less ordinary” as a football agent he was very much involved with the birth of the Premiership. Jon brings enthusiasm and excitement to the Board with an insight into the potential that British Taekwondo has.
Mark Abberley was brought in to steer British Taekwondo through a difficult transitional period. Reform and modernisation are never easy. A different perspective combined with previous experience in NGBs has put Mark in the hot seat. Mark’s focus has been providing a safe financial position and developing improved sport governance and relationship management with external bodies. His style of leadership contrasts greatly with that of his predecessors.
Paul Mckenzie (no relation) oversees the financial management and planning. Working with Mark, he has introduced financial accountability, safeguarding measures and management to British Taekwondo. He is a “safe pair of hands.”
Sarah brings a wealth of experience to the Board as GB’s first Taekwondo World Champion and first Olympic medalist Sarah speaks for the athletes, the coaches the clubs and of course champions the interests of female members.
Jonny Cowan is the unsung hero of the Board form my point of view. His enthusiasm is catching and his commitment and work has gone way beyond what is expected from him as a Board member.
British Taekwondo is growing as an organisation. We are experiencing some growth pains but I’d like to highlight some of the recent developments and achievements as positive steps in the right direction.
Restructuring of Dan grade promotions
Any club or group of clubs can register and host a British Taekwondo recognised Dan grade promotion test for candidates for 1st-3rd Dan. The criteria includes a 6th Dan minimum grade as Chief examiner assisted by two other examiners 4th Dan or above. The club can issue its own approved certificate and all successful candidates will receive Kukkiwon certification from British Taekwondo. British Taekwondo will host at least two Dan grade promotions a year as an alternative service and for higher Dan grades. This does not affect the Member Groups.
Kup grade certification
British Taekwondo clubs may issue their own British Taekwondo approved certificate for successful Kup grade candidates. British Taekwondo certificates will still be available for any clubs wishing to continue to use these. This does not affect Member Groups.
In addition to the Poomsae National Team British Taekwondo is now responsible for the National Cadet team and the Under 21 Team. The teams will receive funding from British Taekwondo to part or fully cover international competition.
Level 2 Coach qualifications
Under the direction of our former Development manager Margaret Nolan, the British Taekwondo Level 2 Coach qualification is now recognised on the national qualification framework.
Increased media awareness
Go go Power Rangers! The new movie sees a British Taekwondo promotional film featuring Olympian Lutalo Muhammad promoted nationally by Vue cinemas with a competition to win free tickets too.
Adam Chantrey is now working full time to increase British Taekwondo’s profile in social media and report on Taekwondo activities working alongside Winners agency who are producing a weekly highlights newsletter.
Improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Sport England have funded the development of a new CRM system that will improve and simplify the service to all British Taekwondo clubs, members and athletes. Great strides have been taken and the new system will fundamentally improve all aspects of membership and event administration for everyone.
Board communication and transparency
The minutes of Board meetings are now shared on the British Taekwondo website so those interested can follow the work of the board and its developments. The contact details of the Board members are also on the site. Though as a Board member were a not working operationally on a day to day basis we welcome feedback to help development.
There are many ongoing projects as well as the day to day management of the organisation.
British Taekwondo has an open door policy in which we welcome anyone practising Taekwondo to come in and be part of something bigger and something exciting. We have a framework for welcoming new clubs or groups that is a standardised and fair offer. We recognise that there are some really great Taekwondo people outside of BT and we want to share this journey of development with them. Usman Dildar is a great example of this and we recently appointed him as a Vice President to help build these bridges.
The Board is not British Taekwondo, you the members clubs and instructors are British Taekwondo.
Mike Mckenzie NED