World Taekwondo introduced new competition rules in February, these were tested in Belgium, Puerto Rico and Spain. What have we seen, and how has the game changed?
In this episode, Coaches César Valentim and Peter Nestler talk about the application of the new rules that were tested in a few events in the last couple of weeks.
Listen to their insights on these changes and what has changed for both coaches and players in Olympic Taekwondo.
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 on Olympic Taekwondo. Let's do this. This is the Taekwondo podcast. And now your host coach, César Valentim and Peter Nestler.Coach César Valentim:
Hello and welcome to the Taekwondo podcast. We're a podcast based out of Austria in English language for everyone out there, like Taekwondo. In this episodes we talk about the new competition rules, as these were tested at the Spanish Open. Welcome to our podcast. I'm coach César Valentim and with me, coach Peter Nestler . Hi Peter, how are you?Coach Peter Nestler:
Hi César. I'm quite fine. Nice to be back again. What is today's topic?Coach César Valentim:
Well, since we had the competition in Spain and also in Belgium with the new rules, at least some of application of the new rules, it was interesting for us to discuss them because the first episodes were about what we read. And now it's, after we've seen it, we've noticed that the writing was not exactly the most accurate one. It has been a while since we sat together, but we had some interesting guests in the previous episodes and we had a couple of busy months with many events. What do you think about the new season so far?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well , at the moment, I'm happy that we don't have too many canceled events so that the calendar stays like it is. It's quite tight, but that's good for all teams to prepare for the big events. We will still need a little practicing for the, for the referees and the coaches and the athletes as well for the new rules. But I think it was a good step to sharpen those rules and let's see how it develops in the next month .Coach César Valentim:
I'm pretty sure that the new rules will be changed again before they are introduced after June, after the continental championships. We are gonna go over the new rules a little bit later in the second part, the European championships registration is closing in the next few days, and we pretty much have seen the players who are competing in Manchester and the other continental championships, not too many newcomers yet. What do you think?Coach Peter Nestler:
I think that many of the teams don't to have any experiments. So they take the teams they always had <laugh> even some athletes are back. And so you are fully right. Not many newcomers at the moment, but I think it's just a matter of all the situation with COVID and difficult situation politically. And we will see newcomers starting next year, in my opinion.Coach César Valentim:
Yeah, COVID was a situation. Most of the tournaments had prevention concepts. Some had none, like in Belgium because the country regulation went out. And we know, even though it's not too much out there, we've known that a lot of teams had positive cases, especially after Albania, after, after Belgium. A lot of people, including officials, WT officials, and coaches and teams from all around the world got positive with these new variants , but that didn't stop the events from happening. Spain was a very big event as well. And we had a lot of good athletes competing and of course the big elephant in the room, we don't see Russia. We don't see too many Ukrainian players, except the ones who managed to get away from the country. They are not competing. That also makes the Grand Prix registrations quite interesting. We've seen the Prix registration list with 72 players to be able to register for the competitions. And when we look at them, of course, since there's only two per country and there's few countries that have three and four players in the ranking that's obvious selection of the two best, but now we see also that Russian players are suspended, not allowed to compete. That gives a lot of chances for the Rome Grand Prix to have a lot of people who are place 40 or 42 on the list, not just the 32 . Any thoughts on that?Coach Peter Nestler:
It's a real pity that Russian players who are in many divisions leading those divisions are out of race in the moment, but , well, that's sad , but it's the reality. It gives the chance, as you said to lower seeded athletes as well. So the full field just pushes upwards. This will sort out as soon as the situation gets normal again.Coach César Valentim:
We've seen the talking again about the European championships, especially because we are here in Europe, course, the same will happen for the other continental championships. We see that the players didn't get too many competitions before. It was a very rushed couple of months to qualify very hard events. The President's cup was incredibly hard with many Russians and Turkish players taking the top position, some surprises there , yes, the 49s had some interesting changes in the podium positions. We had Sofia Open, very well organized as usual and a lot of events coming back to Bulgaria this year, like the Multi Games, later on the worlds and juniors and cadets. We have a lot of players coming to Europe to test events, but we also had some smaller events around Pan-American region, especially Puerto Rico Open where just four or five countries competing a lot of medals for the same countries. We have next week, the Brazilian Open the, Rio Open together with the Para Taekwondo Pan-American Open. It's gonna be quite a stretch and registrations for the Europeans finish on the 18th of this month . So the last qualification for the countries that require qualifications is pretty much over.Coach Peter Nestler:
Yeah, that's true. It was a very tight calendar. And if you missed one chance in some of the first events in this year it's basically over, so not easy.Coach César Valentim:
Yeah . The players only being allowed to make 40 points and getting 20 points for a gold medal in these events makes it also very interesting that now after the first two months of events, the events will become way easier. The G tournaments Sweden later on we'll have Luxemburg, Croatia will be much more accessible events, maybe for the newcomers to try. A little bit too late for the European championship qualification if the national teams require. But maybe some of the easier events will be a good preparation for the teams, a lot of camps happening. We just had a few camps in Spain also increases having some camps. Manchester is having big events, and I think the teams are getting really, really ready for a very short Olympic cycle because three years is just around the quarter.Coach Peter Nestler:
Yeah, that's true. I mean, those who miss the qualification for the Europeans will be preparing for worlds also for the Olympic cycle.Coach César Valentim:
I think performance analysis it's more important than as I mentioned, a few episodes ago, and we're gonna have a performance analysis coming into an episode later on so we can discuss better systems, better qualification systems, especially for the national teams to select our players. Do you think the base, for example, we are in Austria, we see a lot of teams still very small because of COVID, we see a lot of players like Germany and other European countries that have the players having a lack of performance due to past COVID infections, you think is gonna be also that predominant in the European championships?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well, some of the countries have strict rules regarding COVID. They follow those rules also very strictly. So they will have smaller teams or even no teams at all. Which is a pity, because we already lost Russia and most of Ukraine teams and now also were losing some other members due to COVID, it's really sad, but I think starting , after this autumn situation will normalize at least at the COVID front and we will have bigger teams. And also I think newcomers, because when you look at the age, many of the players now in the top ranking, they're quite old in the moment, getting old. So they will soon drop out . I don't think that specific players, I don't want to call any names will last, still Paris.Coach César Valentim:
Well we talking about COVID and about many people getting infected in these events yet nobody's really talking about it. Is it something that is cultural or people just don't take COVID 19 seriously anymore?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well, as I said, there is some countries who strictly follow the rules that is all that the countries who cancel events and there is other countries where the rules are not that strict and they also, they don't follow the rules. They have, for example, they say our tournament is in a bubble and then there is some normal tourists in the same hotel, which is not okay. It's a cultural thing. Yes. But I think all the teams and all the organizers are happy that the events are happening, that they could, could do them because there was times that they even couldn't do those events. So I think basically everyone is happy.Coach César Valentim:
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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:
Welcome Back. We've been talking about ´the new rules and how they've been implemented in a couple of events. Now in Belgium, it was only some of the rules and only for cadets and juniors. At the Spanish open it was for everyone. What is your opinion on that?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well, basically it's important for the teams to know when they would find, with what rules. If you bring out a new set of roles or if you amend some roles, you have to also come out with a date where you say: okay, starting from, I don't know , 1st of May, everybody has to do new rules. That's it? No adaptations, no interpretations. Just tell them what the new rules are and do them, that's it, that's my opinion. Just be clear.Coach César Valentim:
Well, when the rules came out, some coaches and we've even mentioned in another podcast from from a friend when was invited that the players will adapt to the new rules and the coaches will definitely play with the new rules and make sure to find the loopholes. For example, one of the examples we mentioned was if you have more than five points superiority on the first round and you win the first round, you just have to tie the second round and then on the third round, you just fall off step out and make sure that you get disqualified and don't give points the other more than the four gam jeoms. And then in the end, the tie breaker be the points summary. And, of course, having more points in the first round would give you, of course the victory of the entire match. The WT came out for in Spain, that if you get the four penalties in the third round, you lose the entire match, which is not correct. They should invent maybe a pink card, a green card, something like that, that allows you, that if you are disqualified in the third round for anti sportsmen , or for avoiding the match, then you would lose the match. Because four gamjeongs per round, even though the logic behind it that you get maximum of three gamjeongs per round, total of nine gamjeongs. And it's the same as before. It's not exactly the same. It gives you four gamjeongs very easy to make, especially with the clinch gamjeongs, having the possibility of getting the referee to give you four gamjeongs in a row. You fall out, you slip and you get two gamjeongs for clinching too long, and you lose the match. And that's not the same as avoiding the match. So the rules need to be polished. They need to be a little rewritten, a little bit adapted. And also those are the rules as they are. And the second thing is the interpretation of the rules. I can see, I can tell you that in Spain, there was two different kinds of Taekwondo. There was the Taekwondo for the females that were active. They were kicking and they were, yes, a little bit of like canceling that was according to the rules, no longer allowed, but they were still doing and the referees still allowing some clinch kicking on the back of the head that were still okay. But in the male divisions, there was too much pushing and grabbing. It was awful to watch it look a little bit like other combat sports, more of wrestling and grabbing and take down sports and actually a Taekwondo match. Too little action, a lot of grabbing and ugly matches. And that's something that the rules introduced that were the players were afraid of falling out, were afraid of stepping outside. So they were playing a little bit dirty and to be fair, I don't think that's the intention behind the rules when they tried to make the combat sports a little more active, they managed to do it with the best of three. The first rounds are much more exciting than before, and it also much faster rounds and much faster tournaments. If the two 12 point gap is reached in the first two rounds, cuz it allows the event organizers to plan better, allows the boring, very differet level matches to be over very fast and not waiting for the point gap only in the end of the second round, only in the end of the four minutes fight. So yes, it is an advantage, but the rest, the interpretation, the kicking on the clinch it's something that was still very ugly to see when it comes to the rules. The other thing that it comes, it's the interpretation of the referees . Most of the referees in the same court had different interpretations of the gamjeongs and the very good referees, and there were some very, very good referees at the Spanish Open, they understood that the one staying in the clinch for pushing for grabbing, because they wanted to get the gamjeong and also get the gamjeong for the other ones that were playing a little dirty and some players that wanted to leave the clinch and were forced to stay in the clinch should not be penalized. Some referees were very smart. Some referees noticed that they give the gamjeong only for the one that was really trying to stay in the clinch, not to the other one, but most of them didn't do that. And a lot of power for the referee . The other part is , can imagine was the headshot , since the referees, now , they don't have to count , to ask for the card, they have to count, sorry to ask for the card, but the coaches can ask for any contact on the helmet. And I think that's something that we are assuming that is wrong. It's the PSS system. We're assuming on our rules , that the TPSS, the protective scoring system has faults. What you think about that?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well, that's a big problem from the beginning on the PSS on the head is working much worse than the one on the body, even though the one on the body is not perfect. But it gives us quite reliable situation of what the match is not so the head one, which there is ghost kicks, there is very, very light contact raising points. It would be better to improve the PSS for the head than to open the rules for IVR, because it takes more time. It gives more uncertainty than before we know that the video replay systems, the systems are good, but not the video cameras. I would improve the Pss head system. That's it.Coach César Valentim:
The rules say that you are now allowed as a coach , at least interpretation that was enforced in Spain says that you can ask for a video replay if the helmet did not score. The question is that's assuming that electronic system has a problem. Yet some coaches were asking for the video replay for face kicks because that's not scored by the PSS and that's not on the rules. The rules say that it , you can only ask for the video replay if you actually hit on the helmet and the helmet didn't score yet, the system should say, you are allowed to ask, or the rules should say, you are allowed to ask for the video jury, if you hit on the face and the helmet didn't score, not a helmet and the helmet didn't score, because then it's assuming that the system fails and makes the matches of course, much, much more fair as a coach. I like to use the card if the helmet didn't score, but am I allowed to use the card if it was on the face? Because the rule says only if the helmet didn't score. And so it's a little bit of a gray area. I should be allowed asked for the video replay for a whole head kicks, not only if the helmet didn't score and some referees allowed you and the video replay , juries allowed you to ask for a face kick and others didn't because the rules actually say that it's only if the helmet didn't score and if you hit the face, not the helmet, then it should not be a point.Coach Peter Nestler:
Yeah, that's true. Make it easier to avoid those things.Coach César Valentim:
Well, we have until June, and then in July, we have the worlds for juniors and cadets and having the rules before that and applying the rules and enforcing the rules, practicing the rules. It's gonna be quite interesting. There is a referee seminar scheduled in Baku now in may two weeks, one week before the European championships. Let's see what it comes out of this seminar and do you know anyone who is going?Coach Peter Nestler:
Well, to be honest, I think there will be quite many people going there, but I will focus as a coach more on the, on the rules. So you're right. There will be changes to the world and I hope they will be clearly communicated so that everyone knows.Coach César Valentim:
And that's a little bit of a job of the referee directors on each country. As you know, I have my international referee license for , or Kyorugi, but I'm not considering going to Baku . It's too expensive. It's a little bit out of my budget. And since I'm an active coach not an active referee , this budget, not on my plans. Hopefully I can organize that the referee director from austria goes there, then gives me the feedback. If not from Austria, from other countries, there i s a lot of international referees that will go there. I hope someone can share some of the interpretations from the r efer director. I'm pretty sure that Amelie M oras w as g onna make a very interesting seminar. She's a very good, dedicator very good Taekwondo professional. And I really wish I was there to watch it, but again, c ost are a little prohibitive one w eek i n B aku, 10 days or t he European championships. It's, as a coach, it's a little bit hard to decide to, should I go, should I stay? And the question is if you go there o r is t here anyone that is going there and shares the knowledge w ith u s? Probably we should have a referee invited in our podcast after the seminar i n Baku.Coach Peter Nestler:
That's a good idea. Let's do It.Coach César Valentim:
All right . So thank you, Peter. It was a pleasure being here with you again and with everyone who is listening. This was a Taekwondo podcast. If you haven't already listen to our other episodes that are available wherever you listen to your podcast, we are releasing new episodes. Every Tuesday, stay tuned, subscribe to the podcast, leave us a positive review and share it with your friends. See you next time.Announcer:
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 almost 20 years of experience with high performance Taekwondo and has worked all around the world. As a Taekwondo trainer. Peter 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.