Taekwondo brings combat action back—with no fighting involved
Social distancing is a bane to taekwondo’s “kyorugi” (combat) discipline. But the sport has found a way to get back in the game.
Philippine taekwondo is pioneering the speed-kicking championship to gauge the athletes’ level of fighting skills. It’s like the skills challenge in basketball all-star events. There’s no actual fighting involved.
The event aims to shine the spotlight on the skills required for kyorugi—and doing so online.
The rules call for jins to execute as many kicks as he can in one minute, with judges grading them based on the level of difficulty and how they were executed.
The tournament will be held on July 11 and 12, and will serve as a testing ground for the planned world championships in October, according to Philippine Taekwondo Association (PTA) executive vice president Sung Chon Hong.
Adapting to times
“Everything is done online these days. We have to adapt to the times,” Hong told the Inquirer. “We thought poomsae (form) already had its online event so we thought of having combat discipline its own event, too.”
Speed-kicking is the brainchild of the PTA officials and coaches, according to Hong, and aims to determine the “fastest, highest and best kicks.”
Hong said he estimates a blackbelt jin can make 70 to 80 kicks a minute. All members of the national team will be required to compete in the first national speed-kicking championships.
Judges and referees who were out of work due to the coronavirus are undergoing seminars on how to officiate the groundbreaking tournament.
“They will judge based on technical aspects or if the kicks are done in proper form, and also based on performance like timing, balance, turns and execution,” PTA secretary general Rocky Samson said.
Some 3,000 participants are expected to join in 50 categories from white to black belts. They will submit videos of their performance.
“We just want [to keep] athletes, coaches and officials busy. The important thing is to be physically fit in these times,” Hong said.
The taekwondo grand master said they have lined up at least 120 activities for the year which are tailor-made for the pandemic.
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