Just few days after the World Taekwondo Championships held in Chelyabinsk, Russia has been finished, it is time to make an analysis. Watching the matches, we have observed that the “Taekwondo-Fencing”, as well as distorted techniques such as the “Monkey Kick”, have dominated the matches making imperative to modify the sensors in the e-foot gear.
So we must make it clear that the action that limits Taekwondo to be a much more dynamic sport is the “miro chagui”, in other words, the kick on the protector using the sole of the foot, as if to push the rival. Derived from this, and with some cunning tricks used by some athletes who know that e-foot gears have sensors in that area and in the inner edge of the foot, they have taken advantage creating distorted techniques such as the famous “Monkey Kick”.
WTF, with the objective of eliminating subjectivity which is closely related to human mistakes, betted on technology to score the points, excluding the fist and technical points given by turning kicks; so far the WTF has not found a way to remove this responsibility from the referees.
It is important to highlight that the WTF Referee Committee, through its Chairman Chakir Chelbat, has implemented a specialized and individualized educational program for the international referees, selecting them based on their demonstrated skills in seminars and refresher courses for the task they do the best: corner judge, referee or review jury. The Referee Committee has maintained a sustainable progress in the referee educational program with constant growth and effectiveness, plus the inclusion of referees from all over the world in the international events that usually have previous training days to improve their skills and update their knowledge.
After all, the idea of including too much technology in a sport of appreciation may seem not to be the best alternative, although it is clear that the implementation of video replay and the protector scoring system has been a breakthrough and has been a cornerstone in making Taekwondo a core sport in the Olympic program.
In the first instance, perhaps the best thing to do at this time, and in order to bring back the excitement to Taekwondo again, is to remove the heel sock, an accessory that was included some time ago, with the intention to make it easier to record the points of kicks to the electronic headgears. In the second instance, the headgears should be removed because although many improvements have been done in this tool, the results have not been as expected. To support this argument, we can bring up a situation seen during the Semifinal match between Saul Gutierrez (Mexico) and Joel Gonzalez (Spain) in the Men Under 63kg category. During the match the Mexican completed a clear kick to Joel´s headgear, however the system did not record the corresponding points, and additionally because the kick was not made to the face, the video replay request could not be applied. This is just one case among many during the competition.
And last but most important, the sensors located in the sole of the foot and in the inner edge of the foot should be removed because the simplicity required to put the sole of the foot on the electronic protector diminishes the showiness in the match. Regarding this situation, we can recall the Semifinal match in the Men Under 80kg category in the last World Championships between Aaron Cook (Moldova) and the British Damon Sansum; it was during the fourth round trying to get the Golden point to win the match. Cook attacked with his left leg and what Sansum did, was just lift his leg and put his foot on Cook´s protector and got the golden point that gave him the victory.
In short, the three accessories that should be removed according to our analysis are:
- Electronic headgears
- Heel socks
- Sensors located in the sole of the foot and in the inner edge of the foot
After a thorough analysis of the matches in the last World Championships, and taking into account the opinion of our readers all over the world about this specific subject, we think this proposal would give back Taekwondo its attractiveness. We reiterate that this is possible considering the high level of training and education the international referees have through the intensive and constant educational program lead by Chakir Chelbat. All referees would be fully capable of scoring the points to the head and the “Twit chagui” (turning kick) because there would not be sensors in those areas.
This would force athletes to seek scoring points by hitting the protector with the instep because the “miro chagui” and “monkey kick” would not get scoring points. Therefore, the dynamism of Taekwondo would return supported, of course, by technology. What do you think?