CEO blog – July 2022.

As ever there is a huge amount of Taekwondo activity going on up and down the country, and I’d like to give a big thank you to you, our members and volunteers for making it a memorable few months.

We have had the amazing European Championships in Manchester.

It was great to see our GB Taekwondo athletes back in action on home soil again.

Equally fantastic was seeing our Para athletes competing alongside Olympic athletes for the first time anywhere in the world at a major international – this was long overdue!

For those of you that travelled to Manchester to support the team, you may also have noticed how closely British Taekwondo and GB Taekwondo are working together and it was great to see so many instructors at the British Taekwondo stand over the four days, many catching up for the first time in years after the pandemic layoff.

Since then, we’ve had several domestic competitions, national cadet team selections, squad training for Sport and Poomsae, camps, Dan gradings, development activities and self-defence seminars – all made possible by the selfless teamwork of our technical departments.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all our technical department members and remind our membership that these people are all volunteers doing a significant effort for the benefit of our athletes and students, mostly without recognition.

It’s wonderful to see so much Taekwondo going on, especially after what we’ve all been through with Covid, but this success brings its own challenges and demands on people’s time and passion. This is particularly acute for our family of Sport and Poomsae referees who are flogging their guts out and travelling mile after mile, week in and week out to service the ever-growing demands of club competitions.

We need to support our judges and referees, who are volunteers themselves!

We lost some good people during Covid, with many others re-evaluating their time commitments, so we have a lot more events – and are stretching our officials far more than we used to!

Our referee departments are delivering top class education with new referee courses all the time and I would urge our clubs to get people involved and onto these courses and put some “skin in the game” to support their own and other events.

British Taekwondo National Championships

We have had an amazing response for this years’ much anticipated National Sport Championships in Sheffield, with a thousand entries coming in rapidly when the entry portal opened.

This is the biggest entry we have ever had and demonstrates the strong bounce back after the pandemic and last years’ limited return.

We need to celebrate this and it’s going to be a magnificent event in September – so a big thank you to everyone supporting this event!

For those not lucky enough to get initial places, a waiting list has been started.

In the coming weeks, we will be asking all athletes and clubs to confirm and pay for their entries, with a deadline of 1st August.

After this date, all unpaid entries and those failing a British Taekwondo membership audit will be removed from the entry system and available places released to those athletes next on the waiting list (in the order they were received).

We are taking this firm line to be fair on all athletes and teams.

Events Strategy

For the future, this great response – and breaking the thousand entries barrier – does mean we will need to restructure our national events next year to manage this growth sustainably.

That includes our domestic and regional club run events calendar, which has also had a huge return since Covid, particularly in the combat sport, with events happening literally every weekend.

This is all excellent to see, and a nice problem to have when you think back over recent years, but as we are all seeing, it’s difficult to sustain with pressures on local hosts competing for the same audience, referees as mentioned earlier and the logistical support teams struggling to meet demand.

We do have a new events strategy working its way through committee stage at the moment and will be going out to consultation with event hosts and the wider membership soon to try to resolve some of these pressures so we can all grow together.

We would ask event hosts and clubs with great ideas to please get involved with this process in the coming period and help make things even better for all of us.

World Taekwondo Grand Prix III

GB are hosting a second major international event in Manchester this year and we’re now just 14-weeks away from the World Taekwondo Grand Prix III.

Let’s get behind our Olympic & Paralympic stars again as they start their qualification journey to Paris 2024.

Over 250 athletes representing 50 global nations will compete at the Manchester Regional Arena across three thrilling days of action from the 21st to 23rd October.

Book tickets using EARLY20 as the promo code to receive 20% off. Find out more on the ticket booking website.

Upcoming events and Taekwondo activity to look forward to

Sport Performance Youth Development Camps

Following the success of the first Youth Development Camp the Sport Performance Department will be in Durham on the 23rd July and in London on the 3rd September.

Poomsae Performance Official Open Seminars

The Poomsae Performance Department ‘s latest round of Official Open Seminars has seen an excellent response from members in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland and the next events are coming up this month.

Poomsae Referee Courses

The next two Poomsae referee courses will be held in Basingstoke next month and are the latest refresher and qualification courses the Poomsae Referee Department will be delivering across the home nations. Find out more and sign-up.

Martial Art Seminar on Practical Self Defence

Almost 70 members attended the recent Martial Art Seminar on Self Defence in Birmingham. And we have received lots of superb feedback from attendees and instructors alike. We’re looking forward to hosting similar events in the future.

Keep an eye across our social media channels for details of the next set of Martial Art events.

New staff joining British Taekwondo

Finally, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce new members of the British Taekwondo team.

Neil Burton joins us as Education Officer.

Neil is hard at work developing the new club coach education pathway and qualification. Building on the success of the Assistant Coach Award, and we will be launching the club coach modules later this year.

Neil will also be working with our technical departments and looking at updating our syllabuses’ support, pathways for Sport coaches and advanced qualifications – exciting times ahead!

Annie Rogan joins us as Disability Officer

Annie will be working with our development team to help clubs make their classes more accessible and support the rolling out of adaptive training methods. Annie will also be supporting the development of Para pathways for the combat sport and Para Poomsae, making Taekwondo as inclusive as possible.

Both Neil and Annie will be getting in touch with members in the coming weeks and months to tap into specialist knowledge and experience in these fields

British Taekwondo are also currently recruiting for an Events Officer to support our events programme. If you feel you have the necessary skills and drive, then take a look at the job description and get your application in.

I wish everyone good luck in upcoming events, and I hope you all continue to enjoy your training, grading and supporting each other.


Ian Leafe

Chief Executive