Taekwondo as a sport has over 60 million practitioners in 184 countries. It originates from South Korea where the world governing body, the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF), is currently based.

The modern form of Taekwondo was not agreed until 1955, but the sport has its roots in various Korean forms of martial arts stretching back more than 2,000 years.

The name Taekwondo literally translates as the way of the foot and the fist - tae means to break or attack with the foot, kwon means to break with the fist and do translates as the art or way.

Who's who in Taekwondo

British Taekwondo Control Board (WTF) Limited – trading as British Taekwondo – is one of two national governing bodies receiving Sport England funding to deliver Taekwondo activity programmes.

British Taekwondo is the NGB responsible for the Olympic style of Taekwondo.  We have a Board of Directors which consist of operational and non-executive directors drawn from the membership and business.

GB Taekwondo (aka Sport Taekwondo) is the world class performance programme of British Taekwondo which receives Sport England funding for their Talent Development Programmes and UK Sport funding for their World Class Potential and Performance Programme.  GB Taekwondo is not an NGB.

The other national governing body for Taekwondo is the British Taekwondo Council (ITF).   Both national governing bodies (British Taekwondo and the British Taekwondo Council) receive Sport England funding through an administrative body (Taekwondo Organisation Limited) for their respective activity programmes.

British Taekwondo Activity Programmes

KickSister – a fitness and safety awareness programme offering exercise and simple self-defence moves.  The KickSister programme is aimed at women and young girls (aged 11+) to encourage more females to get active.  KickSister provides a soft entry into Taekwondo and is linked to the THIS GIRL CAN campaign.

Taekwondo Activator – leadership training for people with no/little taekwondo experience to enable them to lead sessions for beginners.

Clubmark Accreditation – for clubs that wish to grow and thrive in their local community.

Coaching Development – for instructors what wish to improve the quality of their coaching and activity programmes.

What does being an ‘Instructor’ mean?

Like many martial arts we use a belt grading system to rank the level of the personal performance of our students, starting with white (as a novice) through to black and it takes approximately 4 years of regular training to achieve Black Belt.

Until recently, for someone to become an Instructor in Taekwondo, he/she needed to be at least 18 years of age and have achieved their first Black Belt, this would then enable them to apply for their ‘Instructor Insurance Certificate’ from Membership Services Team.

While the system had some advantages in that we could produce a lot of ‘instructors’ who could deliver more activity sessions in their local community.  It also had some disadvantages – i.e. none of the instructors were given any training in ‘how to teach’ or ‘what to teach’.

What’s changed?

In 2012 we decided to invest our own funds into creating a Coaching Education Programme that would improve the standard of Taekwondo coaching for British Taekwondo members in the UK.

With the support of other more established National Governing Bodies of Sport (in particular British Cycling), and 1st4Sport Qualifications, British Taekwondo (WTF) Ltd launched its new coach education programme in 2013.

The programme was mapped to National Occupational Standards and we achieved Qualification status in October 2016.

We have approximately 600 instructors in our system who will pass through the new Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Taekwondo Qualification course by 1st January 2020 – so we are scheduling a full programme of courses over the next few years.


Taekwondo in your area

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 James Docherty

Development Officer

British Taekwondo

T: 01623 382020