Frequently Asked Questions about USATKDU

Who is USATKD University for?

Our primary goal with USATKD University is to provide access to the best, most modern coaching methods in the world to every athlete and potential athlete, regardless of where they live or the availability of quality schools in their area. These training and tactical programs have been proven to work, time and time again, delivering gold medals at every level in the game, including multiple World and Olympic gold medals - and we are making them available to everyone. 

Taking these courses will give you the tools you need to make a successful taekwondo career if you also have the talent and drive to use them. Additionally, we intend to provide world class resources for coaches and referees, to help us achieve our number one goal - putting athletes first.

What does athlete first mean?

Every single decision we make we ask ourselves does this benefit the athletes? Does it help make them better? Does it increase their medal chances if they engage with the program? If the answer is yes, we pursue it, if it doesn’t we don’t. USA Taekwondo is proudly a 100% athlete first organization in 2021.

Why should I sign up?

Because you will get better by taking these courses. They are devised by one of the greatest taekwondo coaches of all time - Paul Green - and his record of success speaks for itself. These courses are an investment in yourself as an athlete. Education, experience and success go hand in hand, or as we put it here at USATKDU… Study, fight, win!

What certifications will I receive as part of the program?

If you choose to do a degree course, for example in sparring, there are five levels to the Modern Sport Taekwondo program, and as you complete each one you will become certified as a Level One through Five sparring athlete and receive a framed certificate and exclusive University apparel for each level (Levels 1 through 3 get a t-shirt, level 4 a hoodie, and level 5 an exclusive athlete warm up jacket). Athletes who complete the first three levels will also receive Academy Athlete status.

Can I still be part of the Academy without taking the University courses?

Absolutely, there are multiple paths to becoming an Academy Athlete:

  1. Win a major tournament (US Open, USATKD National Championships, Grand Slam and others to be announced shortly)
  2. Through our Talent ID program (restarting once Covid subsides)
  3. Complete levels 1-3 of the USATKD University Modern Sport Taekwondo Program

What do I get as an Academy Athlete?

There are two levels of Academy Membership in sparring, based entirely on your success.

  1. Academy Athlete: Invited to exclusive training camps with the National Team Coaches, designed to both improve ability and assess suitability to be offered Resident Academy Athlete status.
  2. Resident Academy Athlete: Residents live in Colorado Springs and train every day at the National Center of Excellence, while also being funded to train and travel the world to compete - selected from the best Academy Athletes.

Do you have details of the Resident Athlete Academy benefits?

Yes, we do!

  • Monthly stipend - base level for seniors (variable for juniors) is $1000 per month, rising to $2500 per month based on performance metrics, plus bonuses for medals
  • Fully funded travel, entry and coaching to international competitions, aligned with each athlete’s personal development program
  • Fully funded training with Team USA Coaches at the National Center of Excellence and Olympic Training Center - generally four hours per day (but varies depending on phase)
  • Cutting edge physical assessments
  • An individualized Strength & Conditioning program, built around each athlete’s needs
  • Nutrition supportment and assessment
  • A Personal Development Plan for each athlete with quarterly reviews against their personal benchmarks both in and out of the gym
  • Immediate, detailed feedback and video review after competition and key training milestones
  • Elite residents (currently successful internationally) also get a fully funded meal program in the Olympic Training Center worth $16000 per year.
  • Sponsored apparel and equipment
  • Support with schooling (if applicable) and potential access to athlete college sponsorships

This sounds too good to be true? How many Resident Athletes are there?

Currently there are 8 on the terms listed above. By the end of March 2021 there will be 14, as six more graduate from our Talent ID program. Our ultimate goal is 32 full time, fully funded athletes in the program - 4 per Olympic Weight Category.

Someone told me you have to take these courses to make the National Team now, is that true?

No, that’s not true. The University courses are totally independent of the National Team Qualification Pathways.

Someone else told me the courses are mandatory now?

Also untrue. Absolutely nothing about the University is mandatory - it is highly recommended that you take courses because they will undoubtedly make you better and give you an unrivaled knowledge of modern taekwondo, but if you don’t want to that’s entirely up to you. The University is about access to proven world class coaching methods for all, with the goal to raise standards and increase the success of Team USA athletes. Nothing more, nothing less.

Won’t this hurt schools? My coach is great, but how can they compete with this?

We aren’t trying to compete with schools, we’ll help those that want to work with us. It is undeniable that Covid has seen a lot of schools close and leave a lot of athletes without a home. USATKDU bridges that gap in the short term, but athletes need to be in a gym in almost all cases, and we need schools to be producing athletes well versed in the modern game to be successful. It is much easier to integrate an athlete into the Academy program if they are already up to speed with modern methods. We’re offering affiliate revenue to schools who encourage their students to take University courses, and shortly we’ll be revising our club membership program to be based around standards and programs rather than revenue, and will train coaches in these programs and methods in collaboration, not competition. Schools who engage with our programs will have a major competitive edge over those that don’t, but again, it will be a choice. More details on that soon. Basically, if you are working with us as a club you are going to get some major benefits over those that aren't.

It takes two years to complete all five levels? That seems like a long time? Aren’t there any short cuts?

You will progress tremendously along the way - nothing is held back until the later levels, they build on the work done in previous levels, layering knowledge and experience on the athlete through the weekly lessons and practices. For example, by the time you are taking level 4 and 5 successfully we would expect you to be competitive internationally. Of course the lessons alone won't get you there - you also need talent and application. You bring that, we'll bring the knowledge you need!

I’m already great, I don’t need to do this

That is entirely your choice, nothing is mandatory, everything is beneficial. These courses are highly recommended for everyone - whatever their current level - but you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do, or feel you need to do.

What happens to the money?

USATKD University is owned and operated by USA Taekwondo, the Olympic National Governing Body for taekwondo in the United States of America, and a not for profit company. This means that all profits will be invested back into the sport to meet our mission of sustained competitive excellence, and you can be sure any profit is being put to good and proper use, not just sitting in a shareholder or stakeholder's bank account. USA Taekwondo developed USATKDU to serve three purposes - to raise competitive standards across the board, to help athletes and coaches improve in the modern game, and to provide a sustainable revenue source to reinvest back into our American athletes.

Why do you need a sustainable revenue source?

In it’s last audited accounts USA Taekwondo in 2019 invested over $1.25m in High Performance Programs - while that may sound like a lot of money, and is already a drastic three times+ increase over recent years, it is a drop in the ocean compared to other countries who are government funded and investing $10m or more per year in their taekwondo programs. We want to raise as much money as possible, to invest as much money as possible in American athletes while also providing a world class product to our athletes, coaches and referees in the process. Win win.

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