Coach Diego Morine is the S&C Coach from both the Olympic and Paralympic Taekwondo Teams in Brazil. He has experience in both fields of Taekwondo and Sports Science.
In this episode, Coaches César Valentim and Diego Morine talk about the differences and similarities in building an S&C program for Taekwondo and Para Taekwondo.
Listen to his insights on the importance of Strength and Conditioning for both Taekwondo and Para Taekwondo athletes.
This podcast is supported by Hawkin Dynamics, Firstbeat Sports and Athlete Analyzer!
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Have you been looking for a Taekwondo Podcast with qualified people, who know what they're talking about, who help you keep up with everything going on in the Taekwondo World? Well you found it. This is the Taekwondo Podcast. Taekwondo news, competitions and other events, training and sports science, keeping the fans, coaches and high performance athletes up to date with the latest news and trends in Olympic Taekwondo. Let’s do this! This is the Taekwondo Podcast. And now your hosts Coach César Valentim and Peter Nestler.
Coach César Valentim (00:41):
Hello and welcome to the Taekwondo Podcast. We are a Podcast based out of Austria in English language for everyone out there who likes Taekwondo. In this episode we talk with Diego Morine from Brazil, Taekwondo Trainer and S& C coach for the Brazilian Paralympic team. Welcome to the Podcast I am coach César Valentim and with me is coach Diego Morine. Hi Diego, how are you?
Coach Diego Morine(01:14):
Hello, how are you doing?
Coach César Valentim (01:16):
Yes,very nicely. Spring is coming. How are things in Brazil?
Coach Diego Morine (01:22):
I imagine that you are happy with this spring.
Coach César Valentim (01:26):
<laugh> In Brazil you don’t really have a winter so you don’t have to worry too much.
Coach Diego Morine (01:31):
Yeah, actually I’m happy when it’s winter here. Because when it’s summer sometimes if you are not in Rio at the beach it’s not so nice.
Coach César Valentim (01.41)
Well for those who are listening and don’t know you are, could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
Coach Diego Morine (01:50):
Yes sure. Nowadays I’m the S&C coach for the Brazilian national team, for juniors, seniors and Parataekwondo. I have a background in Taekwondo. I am a blackbelt since 2007 and then I entered into the more academic field. I did my physical education undergraduate at USP which is the best university here in Brazil and during this period I always wanted to work with high level training especially in martial arts. During this period I entered a group for sports combat at USP that was led by one of the best researchers in this part of the world which is ……. Since then I started to learn more about the physiology of combat sports like Karate, jiu jitsu, Taekwondo, Judo. After I graduated I started to work as S&C coach here in ……. which is one of the best clubs here in Brazil. I worked with …… and nowadays I work at the national confederation with the Taekwondo national team.
Coach César Valentim(03:16):
With your background in Taekwondo, but also in martial arts that are not only Taekwondo, in your perspective what is the single most important physical ability for a Taekwondo athlete?
Coach Diego Morine (03:27):
In my opinion for Taekwondo and also for most of the martial arts, it’s power. When I say this there is always someone from old school who says: “Oh but nowadays do you think power is important for Taekwondo, because they keep the front leg up.” But in my opinion power has always been the most important capacity, because all these scores and all the moments that are deciding in fights depend on power. With punches or with kicks you must accelerate your kick or your punch until the end, so power is definitely one of the most important capacities and should be one of the goals of any S &C program for Taekwondo.
Coach César Valentim (04:24):
You mentioned as a goal for the S&C coaches, not everyone in the Taekwondo schools has access to S&C coaches. Most of the Taekwondo trainers have to do a little bit of everything, from administration to training to S&C. How soon do you think when we talk about the pre-competition schools and normal Taekwondo clubs, how soon should S&C be introduced into the Taekwondo program?
Coach DIego Morine (04:50):
This is a very interesting question. Sometimes people ask me this question: “What time should you start the S&C program?” I think the question should be what kind of S&C program should we apply for different ages. For me every training is physical. So for example it doesn’t matter if you are teaching someone how to kick or if the kids are playing, or running or jumping, everything is physical. And the window for different ages some capacities are more trainable in certain periods, so for example for young ages training speed seems to work very nicely and they respond very well to this kind of stimulus. If you watch the kids playing, they usually play games where they are running for like 5 minutes and then they stop. They always do these kind of high intensity activities and then they stop, so naturally they respond very well to this kind of stimulus. If you see, for example, at a young age in general everybody has the mobility to do a squat or to do any kind of movement and with time we lose this kind of mobility. So when you are thinking about a program, not just talking about the athletes, it is important to put some kind of strength exercises with your full body. When I say strength training for kids or for young age, I am not talking about, like, a clean and jerk, I am not talking about that. You should do full body activities, like a squat with your own body weight or some push ups. These kinds of exercises, or even teach the kids how to jump, teach them a lot of movements. You need to teach them how to use their bodies, to learn different skills. And when they get older we start to do a specialized program with focus on the competition and on the modality of the training. So I see this periodization, this specialization process begins in the cadets. We start with specific loads and then the specificity increases over time. For the juniors it’s very specific training and with the cadets we have general but we have a very good volume of specific loads. I don’t know if I was clear about that. I think we should put physical stimuli since the beginning but the point is what kind of stimulus, you know?
Coach César Valentim (08:01):
30, 40 years ago I don’t think most of the trainers had knowledge about all of the strength and development or long term athletic development. These days trainers are much more educated. They have access to other tools, they have resources that are freely available on the internet, in all languages that exist. Do you think Taekwondo trainers today are people that are interested in strength and conditioning?
Coach Diego Morine (08:27):
I will say a little bit about my reality here in Brazil and maybe this is not the reality in other countries in the world, but here in Brazil we are starting to change our mindset for 3-4 years until now. When I entered in the national team, that was in 2018, and for you to have an idea: half of the senior national team didn’t do any kind of strength training. I’m talking about 2018, I am not talking about 20 years ago. And people say: “Oh no, If I do any kind of strength training we will get a higher mass and we will go up a weight category.” And, you know, they talk about these things and it’s not true. We have knowledge now about this to understand that strength training is important, that any kind of athlete should do strength training and power training specifically. And we are talking 2018 in Brazil here, half the national team just didn’t do any kind of strength training. And when you talk with the coaches, for example I did a specialization course here in Brazil with the national Olympic committee and it was a course just for Judo, Taekondo and Wrestling. It was a two year specialization course and many of my partners from Taekwondo, they go: “You are just theoretical. This thing of periodization, I don’t think it’s useful, because what’s important is the feeling, our experience in Taekwondo is important and we don’t see how this low distribution can help us in anything.”
I did this course in 2015/16, so it’s not so long ago. Many people in Taekwondo, they just don’t have any kind of interest in that. I think from 2018 until now many people have started to change their mindset. For example nowadays in the senior national team everyone trains, everyone has a S&C coach and are doing some kind of strength program and maybe many people here in Brazil are starting to get more interested in this kind of topic. My course in S&C for Taekwondo we sold the course for every state here in Brazil, we had coaches that bought our course in every state. This shows some interest of the Taekwondo community in this kind of topic and this shows how they sometimes don’t have access to which information is more specific for them.
Coach César Valentim (11:48):
The reality in Brazil is a little bit different from the one in Europe. Here in Europe we do have basics to S&C and periodization in the beginning of a trainer career with the mandatory federation courses or national institute courses. We do hear about it, we do learn about it. The question is even if you learn about periodization, do you do it? Do you put it into practice in your club and with your athletes? Do you think they do that in Brazil?
Coach Diego Morine (12:14):
I think we do have clubs, for example I work with some clubs here in Brazil lutas which is my company. We offer this kind of service of physical training for people around the country and I have some clubs where the coach can work with me and together we can do the periodization properly and that considers the specific training, the S&C training and we use tools to monitor it, but to be fully honest this is the minority of the clubs here. Some of them are doing some kind of training or don’t have any kind of indicators of load control, but most of the clubs don’t even have the knowledge of how to do it. So I think at least here in Brazil most of them do not apply this knowledge. I don’t know if in Europe you have more people that can apply or if you have people that only understand the theoretical concept, but don’t know how to apply. I talked to many coaches here in Brazil that have a degree in physical education and most of them told me: “ Oh, I had a periodization talk in the university, but I had a lot of difficulty putting it into practice. “ You know, putting my context or in general this approach that we have at university, it’s very theoretical. People in general have difficulties to transfer this theoretical knowledge to their modality and their reality. This is a lack that we usually have in our physical education degrees.
Coach César Valentim (14:27):
The reality in Europe is not much different, but the clubs that do want to invest in the competition team tend to work with at least some kind of planning and have some key performance indicators. But as you said, that’s the minority and I guess in Brazil it’s not much different. But Taekwondo is a martial artt that has existed for 40 years, WT Taekwondo, and Olympic for the last 22 years. We do have some old school members and we do have some modern, up to date, data driven coaches, on the other hand Para-Taekwondo is a quite modern combat sport, people are fresh into the sport, usually a younger generation of coaches getting involved, you think in Para-taekwondo it’s the same?
Coach Diego Morine (15:12):
Para Taekwondo, it’s still less competitive. The amount of athletes we have in Para-Taekwondo it's much less competitive. It is a lesser number than in traditional Taekwondo. In general if you see here in Brazil the athletes that are in the national team now, they come from very different clubs. It’s different, if you see our senior national team, they will come from mainly three clubs, but if you look at Para Taekwondo it’s very different. Each athlete comes from a different club and we have a very heterogeneous profile of coaches, like we have coaches that are very active with the modern Taekwondo and with their approach of teaching a modern style Taekwondo, but we have other coaches that are not so updated. They are not so updated in the rules of Para Taekwondo. Sometimes we had coaches and even athletes that came to the national team, sometimes they don’t know some differences that we have from Para Taekwondo to conventional Taekwondo.and I say that because I’m not just only S&C coach of the Para Taekwondo national team, I was also the coach of one of the many athletes that we have here, of Debora Muniz.When I was in my gym I trained her. When she came she didn’t have a gold medal in international events. During this period that I worked with her she won the world championships, she qualified for Tokyo as second in the ranking, the only Brazilian to qualify by the ranking, and then with the pandemic we closed our gym, then we stopped to work with her. But I know what I am talking about with Para Taekwondo. This changes in the approach to work with a Para Taekwondo athlete and a conventional Taekwondo athlete and we have many coaches that don’t understand some difference in the rules, in the style and sometimes even in the psychological approach. They have a specific profile.
Coach César Valentim (17:55):
So you mean that, yes, for Para Taekwondo we have to have different training. Do you have to pay closer attention to, when creating an S&C program and what do you have to pay closer attention to?
Coach Diego Morine (18:07):
Well I think the first thing that we must pay attention to is: First is what kind of disability does your athlete have, because in the Paralympic Taekwondo we have people who are amputees but we also have people with neural disorders. So we have different kinds of approaches. Especially with people that are amputees or don’t have a part of the limbs, in general they have different strength problems in their back especially. Because imagine having one side that is heavier than the other side. This affects all your posture and this actually affects the performance of their kicks. Because if you have one side much stronger than the other side this impairs your balance, for example. And sometimes the coach can go: “ In Para Taekwondo and Taekwondo we just need to do a leg strength program and it’s ok.” The point is you should do, for example, a very good arm strength program because it will impact the back, the chest and this kind of balance will influence their performance in the fight. So this is the first thing, thinking about the balance of strength in the back and in the posture. This is very important and should be put in the S&C program. Second point for Para Taekwondo we should do a higher volume of proprioception and balance exercise. In our sport we do these kinds of exercises for a preventive purpose, but I think for Para Taekwondo we should increase the volume a little bit, because I think the balance is one of the things that most influences the quality of their kicks. So because they don’t have a limb they have difficulty to balance with their arms during a kick. Work with balance and proprioception normally influences their performance. So looking at these things sometimes we think:”Oh that’s a simple thing.” and we don’t care, in the long term it makes a big difference.
Coach César Valentim (20:55):
In terms of able body Taekwondo having some kind of asymmetry and some kind of tolerable muscular disbalance, it’s actually an advantage. Especially if you are very unilateral going for the longer reach, for the head kicks. In case of Para Taekwondo when the head kicks aren’t there and the combats are much more dynamic and, because you can’t kick to the head much more action to the body shots, how do you compensate for those asymmetries? A little bit more of a technical question: when you look at the unilateral amputees, what kind of strength training exercises are like gold for you?
Coach Diego Morine (21:44):
That is a quite important question, how we decrease this kind of asymmetry and how we use unilateral exercise, for example, for the arms exercises in general to do some kinds of adaptation for an amputee arm. In general they can do almost all kinds of movements, for example, the bench press we can adapt the weight, I don’t know the name in english, but we can put a kind of prosthesis. In Brazil we do, like, very general adaptations, we can do most parts of the exercises. With Debora we did even pull ups.
Coach César Valentim (22:47):
For the people who are listening to us, we are actually having a video chat so I can see Diego moving on the video, so I can understand what kind of exercises he wants to do.
Coach Diego Morine (22:57):
Yeah, sometimes I forget the names in English. For Debora for example we did some adaptations with bands and with these prosthesis that she could do even pull ups. So when we start to think about which kind of adaptation we can do for that limb, basically we can do all kinds of exercises and their progressions. In general for arms I prefer to do bilateral exercises, because sometimes for them it is more difficult to coordinate both arms, because of the difference of this asymmetry, than to do one arm and then to do the other. So for arms I like to do this kind of bilateral exercise but with different adaptations for the limb and then the proper weight for the other limb. And then for the legs we do the normal progressions, starting with bilateral exercise, progressing with unipodal, unilateral exercises that require strength and balance. And then we progress our training, like for legs it is usually the same progression you do, with the difference that I like to put a little more balance and proprioception at the beginning of the training. I think we have a very positive transference for kicks in the long term, but for the arms it’s this kind of progression and adaptation that we do.
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You're listening to the Taekwondo podcast. Now back to your hosts, coach César, Valentim, and Peter Nestler.
Coach César Valentim (18:22):
Welcome back. We have been here talkin to Diego Morine, S&C coach, Taekwondo and Para Taekwondo trainer and we have been talking a lot about the development of athletes both in Olympic and Paralympic Taekwondo. talking about S&C is interesting, but in your opinion, from your perspective as a coach who did both Olympic and Paralympic Taekowndo, what is the main difference between the two sports and what excites you more about the one or the other?
Coach Diego Morine (28:49):
Well, I think the first difference is the profile of the athletes, like, in traditional Taekwondo to be more competitive. It is more difficult to achieve national team level. You must beat more people, you must train more. At least here in Brazil in Para taekwondo there are some categories that have very few people playing in that category, so it is less competitive, it is less difficult to achieve the national team for example. When you have less competitiveness you have some implications, for example in general in traditional Taekwondo when you come to the national team they tend to be more hard working and they have a more competitive mentality. In Para Taekwondo we have some people that want to enter the national team, but sometimes they don’t know that well what this sport is. That’s why, for example, we had an innovation this year, to enter into the national team we did a draft here in Brazil for the Para Taekwondo team. And that was very different, I have never seen drafts like in this sports modality. And for people who got medals in the Brazilian championship, they were invited to this draft. We did three days of inaugurations. One was physical evaluation, the second technical evaluation and the third tactical evaluations. Based on their grade we invited people to enter or not. They were approved or not and we had like a cut grade for them to enter the national team. This was interesting, because maybe you can have some categories with more than one athlete, but maybe you have some categories that maybe you did not have athletes. But what’s the logic of doing this? In general it’s better for you -think as a manager- if you have money to invest in a team, sometimes it is better to have less people, but you can lead these people that have more potential to more championships, than you spend all this money with all these weight categories. Sometimes not everybody has a great chance of success or you don’t see a good future. That’s the first thing with this kind of attitude we can invest more in people who have more potential and the second part is that people understand that if their category is not so competitive you must have a minimum level to enter in the national team. I think now long term we will have an increase even more because nowadays we have a very strong Para Taekwondo team, but in the long term we will have an even stronger, more technical team. Because every coach I knows, all the criteria are public. We show: these are the technical criteria, these are the tactical criteria, this is the physical evaluation, this is the score that they should achieve. So all the coaches know what the rules are, you know? So the tendency is that the coaches start to train their athletes better, the athletes become more competitive, even if in their category they don’t have as many athletes, but they must have a better level to enter the national team. I think that was a very smart decision that Rodrigo made, he is the manager of the Para Taekwondo team. We had this kind of discussion not just evaluating and selecting the athletes just for the national competition for the categories, but trying to have a deeper look into all of them and trying to select who has better potential, even in the long term for having better results for Brazil. So this is one thing that I find is different between taekwondo and Para Taekwondo. In Taekwondo we have, like, a higher competitivity. Sometimes we don’t need to do this, we just do the trials and then we select. In Para Taekwondo we do not have so much competitivity so we must have other tools to raise the bar of the athlete’s level. So I think that is a point. I enjoy both sports. I worked for a long time with Para Taekwondo and in the beginning I didn’t understand too much. This is the same thing as the sportive Taekwondo nowadays. people from old school don’t understand so much, the small things, the technical aspects, how smart and how tricky the game is and they say: “ Oh this is a ……. game” and actually it’s a very complex game and I learned to understand Para Taekwondo so I learned how to enjoy both styles.
Coach César Valentim (34:52):
A little bit on your personal side. You’ve been involved in Taekwondo for quite a while. You are well known for your conditioning programs in the Portuguese speaking community, both in Brazil and Portugal. Are you planning on developing any projects outside of Brazil?
Coach Diego Morine (35:27):
Yes, actually this year we are working to do courses and ebooks not just for Taekwondo but for many modalities. This year is a year of extension for our company with focus on the brazilian market, but increasing the modalities. So we were working just with Taekwondo, nowadays we are achieving a lot of people from Muay Thai, from Karate, from Jiu Jitsu so we are extending the modalities, but here in Brazil. For the next year our goal is to start to expand to other languages. So for example nowadays even with the physical training prescriptions we have people from Panama, from Peru, from Angola. We had a surge from people from other countries and we see this as a potential. So the idea in the next year is to start and produce content in English or maybe with subtitles in different languages. We don’t know the format yet, but our goal is to increase and extend for other countries. Besides that, actually after the Paris cycle, I really think I might work with another team. I like this experience of working with other countries or something like this. I think these are real opportunities. Maybe after the Paris cycle this is something I will search or invest more in this possibility.
Coach César Valentim (36:47):
This is probably one of the hardest questions of all: what is your recipe that other S&C don’t have?
Coach Diego Morine (36:57):
Ok, first of all not just from my book, but in my course I have a very clear vision of what you need, which is a cycle for strength training. So I have three pillars that are called planning, execution and control. This is a cycle that makes us commit less errors in the process, because we plan how we must be on that goal and then we execute this and we have tools to control and see how the athlete is responding to the training and then correct the training. And even for the planning we have some directions, for example,to understand the physiology of the modality and how we understand the main points of the modality and how we transfer this to the planning. I think this is very clear in my methodology. What I think that people most like is, at least what I receive from feedback, is the approach that I do. In general the courses that we have on the market have two kinds of approaches. We have courses that are very academic and the public has difficulties understanding that information, adapting it to their reality and then applying that. They have difficulties with this kind of transition. Or on the other hand we have courses and books that are very practical, but sometimes have a lack of theoretical concept there. So it’s just an exercise, an exercise, but you have a lack of theory to support this kind of exercise or how we do this in the planning. And I think my approach joins these two approaches, you know, we have an academic background, but the approach we use to teach the coaches we try to use simple language. Not just using technical words and when we use technical words we explain which kind of context and why that context is important and we bring many things that are from practical exercises. So in general the coaches that buy our books or our course it is easier for them to understand the concepts and to apply it in practice.
Coach César Valentim (39:34):
Thank you Diego. It was a pleasure being here with you and with everyone who is listening.This was the Taekwondo Podcast. If you haven’t already listened to our other episodes, they are available online, wherever you listen to your podcasts. We are releasing new episodes every tuesday. Stay tuned, subscribe to our podcast, leave us a positive review and share it with your friends. See you next time!
You've been listening to the Taekwondo podcast, keeping the fans, coaches, and high performance athletes up to date with the latest news and trends on Olympic Taekwondo your host coach César Valentim has all almost 20 years of experience with high performance Taekwondo and has worked all around the world. As a Taekwondo trainer. Peter Nestler has been teaching Taekwondo for more than 20 years, and he's currently one of the top referees in Europe. We hope you enjoyed the show, make sure to like, rate and review and we'll be back soon. But in the meantime, find us on instagram @taekwondopodcast on Facebook @taekwondocast and the website taekwondopodcast.com. See you next time.