The Current State of Taekwondo; How the Sport Needs to Evolve...Through the Eyes of a World Champion

Written By: Yvette Yong- 20/20 Armor’s Athlete Ambassador. Canadian Olympic Team Hopeful and 12x National Team Member, #1 World Ranking WTF Taekwondo, and 2x World Military Champion.

Where Has the Fight in Fighting Gone?

Let’s go back to 1999 when I first set foot into my Taekwondo club and watched in awe as two fighters went head to head exchanging fast and powerful combinations of kicks and punches each with their signature yell. All the intense movements and fast twitch reactions made it so captivating to watch and to anticipate their next move. This was the exact moment that I first fell in love with this sport.

Now let’s fast forward to present day Taekwondo with the current electronic systems in use. (The rules are: 3pts to the head +1 including a spin motion, 2 pts to the body +1 with a spin motion, 1pt punch).

Since the introduction of the sensor scoring, many athletes have had to adapt to a safer fighting style which does not allow them to show the extent of their capabilities. They are restricted from a range of techniques in order not to open themselves up and be left vulnerable to light touches to the head and body. This has shown to be most accommodating to certain body types –the tall and long legged.

The old style which constitutes of high energy, agility and power is no longer needed as whatever kicks touch the sensor first would score, hence creating new kicks (monkey/scorpion kick) that took away years of history, respect and interest for the sport of Taekwondo. That brings me to my original question: Where has the fight gone in fighting? Is there a way to bring back the respected Taekwondo and fights where not only one specific body type can dominate?
The answer is yes.

We live in a world that is constantly progressing and looking for ways to improve our day to day lives. The development of technology in the last few years have shown great success, which brings me to the solution of how to bring back the Taekwondo that captivated me in the first place, using the innovative technology of 20/20 Armor!

As the new Athlete Ambassador for 20/20 Armor, I am not contributing to a shameless plug, rather; WE as athletes have been waiting for a scoring system just like this!  Not only have adjustments in fighting styles been detrimental to the sport and our training, but audience engagement has suffered significantly.
Constant confusion and negative feedback have been heard from the crowd over the course of the new electronic systems.  The scoring of the current Taekwondo system is unnatural and hard to follow to the general public.  20/20 Armor approached me years ago about their venture in solving this issue, and I have been a supporter ever since.  What we couldn’t have expected was the overwhelming response and success they have been achieving.  I am not only excited about the functions their technology will bring back to Taekwondo competitions, but the training utilities built within their technology, such as one of the game modes called “heartbeat”.  It’s a great way to get your cardio and speed training while repeatedly hitting the electronic chest guard.

Overall, it’s innovation that is truly prominent in today’s society, especially in regards to youth and self defence. There is no better way to get young children involved in our traditional sport, by implementing a bit of fun and engagement into the practice.  If it’s practical enough for myself, as a World Champion to utilize, I have no doubt that it can do the same for our sport.
– Yvette Yong