British Taekwondo’s Disability Development Blog.

A blog post from Annie Rogan, British Taekwondo’s Disability Development Officer about how we can help support you and your Taekwondo club, your members, and its events.

It’s obvious to say that 2023 was a busy year for events for British Taekwondo. We not only hosted our annual Sport and Poomsae nationals, but also delivered the last Olympic and Paralympic qualifying opportunity in Manchester at the World Taekwondo Grand Prix. We have hosted all three of these events in a calendar year before, but the 2023 events were bigger and better than ever.

Sometimes at events it can be hard to make everything accessible and inclusive, and honestly, you can’t. At our national events in both Sheffield and Worcester, we considered some easy changes which made a difference and improved the spectator and athlete experience. Below are a few simple suggestions which you can also use for your club events.

British Taekwondo Event


Make sure any signage you are creating is in a clear font, with a good contrasting background (Black on White) and is visible from all heights. It is important to have clear signage as this makes access venues, toilets and changing spaces easier and creates less stress when looking for them.

Open Attitude

Having a positive, open attitude towards everyone who attends your event creates a relaxed and welcoming environment. You never know how that person’s day has been up to the point of you interacting with them, so I always suggest being kind and supportive. These suggestions are for all attendees to an event, not just for those with disabilities. You should be considerate when supporting someone with a disability, this can help make their event experience an enjoyable one.


Having clear means of communication before, during and after an event is important for different reasons.

  • Before – so people can plan ahead and know what to expect on the day.
  • During – so athletes, coaches and parents can ensure athletes are in the right place. For spectators it means they can watch what they want and stay informed of the event.
  • After – for feedback, results and future opportunities to attend again. This can be very beneficial for development and growth of events and ensure the continuation of high standard events.

Sensory Considerations

Some events can be very overwhelming to individuals with sensory impairments. If your event is going to be loud, smelly and warm (which is most Taekwondo events), I would recommend you letting people know this information and for them to bring relevant support items if they need them. If you have the budget, maybe buying some ear defenders and advertising you have them to borrow would be a supportive mechanism for attendees who might need this aid.

Some of these things seem simple and easy to ensure they are considered, and that’s because they are. The easiest way to communicate a lot of your event information is through a Q&A section on your website or event page. We did this for the World Taekwondo Grand Prix in Manchester, and I had good feedback from attendees, the information was readily available and meant they didn’t have to email or call for this information.

The STEP process

Disability Sport Wales and other sporting organisations encourage coaches and clubs to use the STEP process when planning sessions and events for people with disabilities. This is a simple process which helps with the planning of sessions and events. STEP is a great way to breakdown activities and adapt them to suit individual and group needs.

S – Space – How can you adapt the area people are playing/training/competing in?

T – Task – How can you adapt the basics of activity so everyone can take part?

E – Equipment – What can you use so everyone can take part?

P – People – Who is taking part in the activity and how can you make it fair?

Space – this can apply to the venue and the actual training/competing surface. Is there enough space for the activity for people to safely move around, be considerate of people in wheelchairs and with frames. This also applies to the level of lighting in the space, is it bright enough for people with visual impairments? Is the space clear of distractions, obstructions and hazards?

Task – this covers the actual content of the training session or categories of the event. Are there para categories at your event which mean disabled athletes can attend and compete? This also applies for ensuring the activities within the training session are considerate of everyone attending. If there is someone in the class who has a disability, is there an adaption to the activity which means they can still be involved instead of having to sit out or not feel like they can do it? Try not to segregate or group people by ability as this can create a clear division. For example, if you’re doing a circuit of activities and one of these stations has an adapted activity on it, have all the participants do that station, not only those it is intended for.

Equipment – this is difficult for events but ensuring there are wheelchair spaces for parking and spectating is important, and having a chair in this spectator space so they can sit with a career or move onto the chair is needed. Other equipment could include the ear defenders which was previously mentioned, clear information like a schedule and a sound system for announcements are all good ideas to make sure everyone can be included.

At club sessions, having chairs in the training space can allow for people to sit more comfortably and be able to sit to watch demonstrations may help with concentration. Making sure parents and spectators are comfortable too is something that can be forgotten. Some children may be more relaxed knowing their parents/career are watching or are in the building, some of these adults may need accessible and inclusive support too, so offering them a seat can encourage them to stay at the club during the session if they wish.

A big issue I have been made aware of recently is the sensory problem around the feeling of the Dobok to some people. I would suggest letting these people wear leggings and a t-shirt underneath or, being more relaxed at sessions and allow everyone to wear sensible active clothing instead of their full Dobok. This is obviously the club/coach’s choice but if someone reaches out and expresses this sensory distress, please be understanding and try to find a compromising solution. At competition it is obviously necessary for players to wear correct clothing, but white or skin coloured base layers could always be worn under the Dobok to help.

People – it is important to make everyone feel welcome and included at events and in your club. This can be done by adding a range of sessions to your club timetable and event roster. We understand some clubs like to hold events for certain ages or belts, but maybe collaborating with another local club to spread cost and provision could help with the workload of an event. By doing this you could put on more categories to your event, including Para. British Taekwondo are always happy to help facilitate this by contributing knowledge and support if you need it. We would always rather you reach out and ask for advice on how to involve a Para category to your event, rather than not try at all.

Keeping details up-to-date

To make disability support easier for clubs and its members, British Taekwondo need to know what disabilities your club members have by keeping The Hub up-to-date. This will help us to create resources and links to courses which are relevant and needed to help the Taekwondo community grow. It will also mean we can get in touch with opportunities to enhance your club and showcase the work you do.