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Sports Week in Schools- Tae Kwon-Do in Turmoil

Happy Monday everyone! Last week saw the undertaking of National Sports Week. At TSX Tae Kwon-Do, this had us excited for many reasons. Firstly, it gives schools the opportunity to promote sports, leisure and active lifestyles to their pupils, and it gives us a chance to show students the benefits of martial arts. This year, however, it is also a celebration of Tae Kwon-Do in the community, and a show of resilience that students have.

This year, Tae Kwon-Do suffered a serious blow in schools when the government announced that as of 2015-16, Tae Kwon-Do would be taken off the curriculum for GCSE and AS/A-Level PE. Under the current government there has been many changes to schools, curriculums and school structures. This article isn’t about discussing politics, but about discussing the government’s decision to remove Tae Kwon-Do from the syllabus, and the ramifications of removing the martial art from students. More importantly, though, it is about the outrage that this move inspired from martial art practitioners and its supporters.

Since Tae Kwon-Do’s inception to the United Kingdom in 1967, it has grown rapidly with many organisations forming to encourage the development and growth of the South Korean martial art. Tae Kwon-Do’s growth and importance as a martial art was recognised by its inception to the Olympic Games as a medal sport for the first time at Sydney 2000. Although there are two different styles of Tae Kwon-Do, WTF and ITF, last year a significant step to breach the gap between the two styles was made when the ITF and WTF organisations signed a treaty that declared both ITF and WTF students could compete in the Olympic Games.

With the two styles being able to compete in the OIympic Games, and Tae Kwon-Do being a fully-fledged Olympic sport, the decision to remove Tae Kwon-Do from the syllabus was a poor one for many reasons. Here’s our top reasons why we believe it to be a bad decision;

Benefits of Martial Arts- This may seem like something we would point out predictably, but if we didn’t see the benefits of martial arts, we wouldn’t teach it. Tae Kwon-Do is proven to help both adults and children alike gain self-confidence, increase fitness, build teamwork, foster a sense of community and gives people the courage to pursue what they want to do in life. In children, this is often seen with better concentration in school and better grades.

Removing the Option for Students- GCSE P.E is a core module, but for those that take GCSE P.E as an option and continue it on to A-Level P.E, schools are removing a choice of sport and lifestyle for students to get good grades. I know many exceptional martial artists, and Tae Kwon-Do is a way of life to them. They shouldn’t be punished for leading an active lifestyle by removing their chance to develop good grades. At A-Level, if I had to rely on sports like football for my marks, I most certainly wouldn’t have got the grades required to continue onto Higher Education.

The ‘London 2012’ Legacy- After Team GB’s success at London 2012, there was so much talk from the government and Sport England about leaving a legacy for the country, and building on the hype and success of the Olympic Games to encourage more people to start a sporting activity. Tae Kwon-Do is an Olympic Sport, so this decision to remove it from the curriculum goes against what Sport England is trying to achieve.

High Satisfaction Rates- Tae Kwon-Do has high participant satisfaction rates. According to Sport England’s data (quality of sport experience survey), female Tae Kwon-Do participants rank 2nd out of 41 sports for overall satisfaction with their experience. This national figure shows that Tae Kwon-Do is a success, and satisfaction helps increase retention rates, thus increase participation levels. Why would the government remove a sport that is doing so well from the curriculum?

However, when the decision was made to remove Tae Kwon-Do from the syllabus, petitions were created and thousands of people signed them to try get Tae Kwon-Do reinstated onto the curriculum. This shows a positive step from the martial arts community, and also shows the ethos of martial artists who are willing to fight for what they believe to be right.

After the petition was signed (with over 2,000 signatures), the Department of Education has responded, saying that the decision to remove Tae Kwon-Do is now a “live issue”, and website change.org has commented saying that they have been contacted saying that the ministers are now carrying out a “review process”, which may allow Tae Kwon-Do to still be available to school students.

The petition may come to nothing, and Tae kwon-Do may still be removed from the curriculum, but if it is then at least the Tae Kwon-Do and martial arts community can say that they tried to reinstate it, and that is definitely something. We didn’t just lie down and accept the decision. People can complain all day about the incompetence of governments, MPs and ministers, but somebody has to make the decisions for the country.

Just because the MPs and ministers make the decisions for the country, however, doesn’t mean that it is solely up to them. We all have voices that can be heard, and it is our responsibility to remind those who make the decisions what the right decision actually is, whether it be a parliamentary issue or a day-to-day problem at work. That is why the government have paid attention to the petition, because if an objection is made, if it is loud enough, then it will be noticed.

If you would like to pledge your support to the petition, and help it gain strength, please sign it at the link provided here. https://www.change.org/p/reinstate-taekwondo-onto-the-gcse-as-and-a-level-physical-education-activity-list. Thank you to all those that have supported it so far, and made your voices heard to keep Tae Kwon-Do in schools.

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