Lopez and Tazegul, disappointed with current Taekwondo style
Reporter’s opening statement before the interview
Thanks to two of the top Taekwondo players in the world for accepting this interview with our Taekwondo websites Union (tktimes.com / wtkmedia.com / mastkd.com / wtu.kr).
This Muju World Taekwondo Championships has been a very relevant tournament because of its historic and symbolic meaning. For the first time ever, the President of Korea participated in the opening ceremony and admitted the high value of Taekwondo; Mr Moon said he will give positive support to the global development of Taekwondo from Korea, as it is the birthplace of our sport. Moreover, this tournament has been greatly meaningful since it has tried to persue peace between both Koreas and open the road towards a future unity of Taekwondo, with the performance from the ITF Demo Team from North Korea for the first time in the country.
However, it is also worrying that certain sectors of our sport feel the popularity of Taekwondo has been going down recently as most of the official Kyorugi matches held by World Taekwondo (WT) have been a notable disappointment.
Taekwondo needs the estimation from the IOC and sport fans around the world, especially in a period of time in which the competition to stand out as an Olympic martial art has become more dangerous with Karate as part of the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Therefore, we have arranged an interview with two top fighters in our sport to talk about this situation.
Steven Lopez (USA), who has the best results in our sport’s history and Servet Tazegul (Turkey), who has been recognized as the fighter with the best Taekwondo technique by many experts in the matter. This interview was held by World Taekwondo United news at the press conference room of Muju’s Taekwondowon T1 stadium on occasion of the 2017 World Taekwondo Championships last June 28th 2017. During the interview, both players answered all questions about this tournament being held at Taekwondowon in Korea, about the quality of a 10 billion budget event and other related matters. They also commented the current Taekowndo style that Kyorugi events sanctioned by World Taekwondo offers: “My heart is sad, my family used to love Taekwondo and feel excited to watch it, but now we get bored”, states Tazegul.
– 38 years old (born November 9)
– Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Gold medalist and a Beijing 2008 Olympic Bronze medalist
– 9 participations at World Taekwondo Championships
– 5 times World champion
Servet Tazegul (Turkey,1988)
– 28 years old (born September 26)
– London 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and Beijing 2008 Olympi Bronze medalist
– 2 times World champion.
Highlighted comments by Lopez and Tazegul
– Lopez: “The philosophy that the WT has tried to do in order to have electronic chest protectors and electronic head gears pursues having more objective scores. The sport is constantly changing, from an athlete’s prospective is very difficult to adapt to constant changes of rules. From the Olympics to this WC we have new rules. Personally, starting competing in 1999, where you had to hit somebody hard in order to score, I prefer that old Taekwondo. Any tecnique that is not taught at a Taekwondo school shouldn’t be allowed to score points. The right idea is there to try to make the sport better, but it needs to be polished, it is not there yet. I’ve seen head kicks here, really hard ones, which get no score, and soft touches that get the score. It needs some refinement”.
– Tazegul: “I have played with the manual system. Now we see a lot of easy points, and most athltes only use one or two tecniques, not too many. The level is going down. Also, there is a constant change of rules, short time to adapt to them, the adaptation is really difficult. In Burnaby, 6 months ago, we had trained to use some tecniques, and suddenly verything changes. It is impossible to adapt. It is bad for our motivation and concentration to train so hard for something that suddenly changes. The WT officials are trying to do well, they might be doing it for the future of the sport, but I feel like that”.
– Lopez: “Taekwondo is always progressing and changing. Rules are being implemented to make the sport look more objective. With the electronic protectors and head gears there’s been some development with innovations. But now the fighters are super tall and are just front fighters. But as an athlete, I prefer double kicks, triple kicks, power, spinning… but these are the rules and we want to win. But you’ll never see me do the “monkey kick”, maybe I am dumb, but i didn’t train my whole life to use these tecniques. I prefer power. A soft touch with a toe? I don’t like this. Maybe I can have a voice one day within the WT to give my opinion before a rule is approved, but nowadays that’s not the case”.
– Tazegul: “Many players are now successful because no high level tecniques are required, Semi-contact players are now successful, many techniques are being lost. In my opinion, the electronic and manual systems have to combine: sometimes nobody understands how points are scored, I don’t feel any touch on my head and the opponent takes 6 points. Also, the monkey kick… The referee has to be able to cancel points scored like that. Nobody likes that style of Taekwondo, I get bored with it, spectators get bored, my family is bored, we have to go back to Taekwondo tecniques, combine both systems”.
Press conference video