Taekwondo Education in the Time of COVID - Interview With Chair of World Taekwondo Education Committee, Jean-Marie Ayer

Taekwondo Education in the Time of COVID - Interview With Chair of World Taekwondo Education Committee, Jean-Marie Ayer
Published: 2020-12-22

The covid crisis has impacted international sports. Major national and international events have been cancelled. But life goes on, and solutions had to be found to motivate and train all those involved in the sport. Today we speak with Jean-Marie Ayer, Chair of the Education Committee at World Taekwondo, the international umbrella body for Olympic Taekwondo. This federation has put in place an effective online training program.

What is the role of World Taekwondo in education?

World Taekwondo aims to train participants in international competitions, mainly coaches and referees. A training certificate is required to participate in an international competition. This training aims to ensure that all participants have the knowledge necessary to participate successfully in international events such as the Olympic Games, World Championships, Grand Prix, etc. We establish the specifications concerning the knowledge to be mastered, the training programs, and the certificates attesting to the acquisition of knowledge.

What are the importance and the fields of this training?

For example, at our world championships, we have more than 130 nationalities and close to 800 athletes. It is essential to ensure that everyone is fully aware of how competitions work, the obligations, the behaviors to adopt, and the sport rules, which have evolved considerably in recent years.
Our training courses cover a wide range of fields:
- Competition and refereeing rules. The aim here is to ensure that all the rules are very well
understood, especially when changes have been introduced.
- The organization of the competition: team meetings, weighing rules, the officials' role, etc.
- Medical and anti-doping rules. We want to avoid accidents at all costs.
- Ethical and safeguarding rules - ensuring that each participant can act in a healthy environment.
- How World Taekwondo works.

How do you carry out this training?

We train people who can teach other people all over the world. The typical duration of a course is three days, at the end of which we conduct a test to obtain a certificate. Since 2018 we have been in the process of organizing training courses all over the world. With the COVID crisis, we had to reinvent our way of doing things since travel had become very difficult for both trainers and participants. We have inaugurated online training. At first, we were somewhat skeptical because it was difficult to see how difficult it would be for participants to use the technology and whether it was possible to transmit and test knowledge in this way. To our surprise, we finally discovered a very effective way to train worldwide at a lower cost. Since the beginning of the COVID crisis, we have been conducting all of our training online. We have trained more than 3100 participants in more than 50 different online sessions in a few months. We are impressed with the results and the cost savings that these online trainings allow us to achieve. Participants no longer need to travel, thus saving travel and hotel costs. We are also delighted with the training results, and our evaluations show that the participants can acquire the necessary knowledge by this mean. The COVID crisis has changed how we train, and the online training will stay well beyond the COVID-19 crisis.