Just what is the USAT supposed to do about grassroots?

MSUTKD

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“What about grassroots?” This has become the battle cry of the disenchanted taekwondo practitioner and keyboard warrior alike. How can our NGB not care about little Johnny green belt (our future Olympian), his parents (The Cash) and of course his teacher (Who fought once at a real USTU/USAT tournament)?

Membership is down because all the USAT does is work with elite athletes; how dare them. In fact, many of the athletes on the US Team all come from the same schools. Those athletes left their homes and moved to Miami or Texas to devote their time and effort and train with former world level athletes, how can they do that? What can they learn from them that I cannot teach? It is not fair to little Johnny cause he does not have that kind of time and cannot afford to do that.

What about the old masters; they threw them out. Sure they were self serving and did get caught with their fingers in the cookie jar but that is just KoreanÂ….right? I have to do what they say, even if they used to HAND PICK the US Team by getting athletes to bow out in the finalsÂ…you know, cause that is what you do for seniors.

I could continue my sarcastic diatribe intended to poke fun at the complaints, but in reality some of the problems with the USAT are real - welcome to the world of sports.

Our NGBÂ’s primary job is the field the best US Team in taekwondo sparring and now poomsae. Whether you believe it or not, they try to do this. It is not perfect but I beg the readers to actually do some homework and compare and contrast the current USAT methodology with other Olympic sports. This trend is not just used by taekwondo administrators, but rather seams to be a popular sports management style pervasive in the USOC. This is not my specialty but I work with other educators who do research and coach in several other Olympic sports. Reading sports management papers and even finding other forums, like this one, about other sports might enlighten one the fact that we are not alone.

All that being said, my real point is to grassroots. I assume that when people speak of grassroots they are referring to the non-elite, ordinary and non-pro taekwondo practitioners. The $25,000 question, “How is your NGB hurting you”? Be careful how you answer because 99% of what I read from you does not even apply to you specifically. Remember we are talking about grassroots. Question two, “What do want from the USAT, SPECIFICALLY, to help grassroots”?

Though I ask these questions rhetorically, I hope that some real thought can occur. I believe that grassroots has nothing to do with the USAT at all. Grassroots, however, has everything to do with YOU! What have you done for grassroots beside cry about it on the Internet? Are you not an instructor, participant and advocate? Grassroots is our responsibility and do you really want the NGB to tell you how to teach, motivate and develop taekwondo students?
In Michigan, our state organization is on the front lines when it comes to grassroots. We offer free training, for state members, in both sparring and poomsae. One of our vice-presidents brings in successful US fighters/coaches to give clinics to elite and non-elite alike. As a US Team member I also give seminars on improving poomsae performance for practice, testing and competition. We have a couple of International Referees and they help train future refs. Our goals are not to make champions but rather encourage and promote the practice of taekwondo. This is grassroots and we do not need the USAT directly to help us; they do their job and we will do ours.

Bad mouthing, complaining and promoting negative actions do not give any future students the tools to become successful taekwondo practitioners or become an elite athlete. Get out there and get involved as a member of the USAT and take responsibility for grassroots yourself. If you do not have the connections or talents to motivate and educate your students just ask. We are all in this together and with or without the NGB we should promote good taekwondo. If you or your students have elite aspirations then embrace your NGB and help change it from the inside; it is going to be tough but we need soldiers not talkers.
 

Gorilla

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Master Southwick,

What should the USAT do about Grass Roots? Nothing! They seem to have no real plan or interest in it. The AAU is a great option for the Grass Roots athlete. It is also a great option for the elite athlete we have traveled to the Netherlands and will be going to Spain this year. If you look at the USAT Jr National Team a large portion of these athletes came off the AAU Jr National Team.

If you are an Elite Athlete you must compete at the USAT for (OLympics,PATU and Worlds). We compete at USAT for that reason. We started with the USAT and have migrated towards AAU because of better treatment by that organization. I hope that the USAT can cure its problems for the good of the sport.

The Grass Roots director of the USAT has resigned. Her thoughts on the organizations troubles are well documented on her Blog LadyTKD.COM
 
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MSUTKD

MSUTKD

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The AAU is a great option for the Grass Roots athlete.
Why, what do they really do for grassroots....specifically?

If you look at the USAT Jr National Team a large portion of these athletes came off the AAU Jr National Team.

I would say it is really the other way around,lol. I know of many WALK-ONs to the AAU Team.

We started with the USAT and have migrated towards AAU because of better treatment by that organization.

Better treatment? Again how is the USAT specifically mistreating you?
 

Gorilla

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1. They provide a strong well run organization. They most recently started a cadet program for 10-13 year olds.

2. I know of some walk-ons also but they did not come from USAT. Some times you get no shows when they feel they can't beat the current team member. My daughters division has always been full we had several girls come over from the USAT thinking they could take her team spot. She is still on the TEAM... She is on the USAT wed site. She is a junior fin. She has done very well at the USAT!

3. I did not say that I got poor treatment at the USAT. I get better treatment at the AAU. We feel welcome at the AAU. They are easy to contact at the highest levels from President to National Team coach to National Team Manager.
 
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MSUTKD

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3. We feel welcome at the AAU. They are easy to contact at the highest levels from President to National Team coach to National Team Manager.

That part is a specific. The USAT could definitely do a better job relating to its members. Much better answer than, “Because they are better”, thank you for your input!
How can we help them as grassroots leaders make that better?
 

Gorilla

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That part is a specific. The USAT could definitely do a better job relating to its members. Much better answer than, “Because they are better”, thank you for your input!
How can we help them as grassroots leaders make that better?

I sent you a PM
 

terryl965

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Master Southwick sorry to not responed to you earlier, was at a tournament this past weekend. let me start off by saying this, I respect you to the fullest but we need a grassroot program to get a pipeline going to continue to do well in the World games and Olympic events.

What can USAT do it is simple communication to all its member, have camps that can help developed those on the cuff of becoming great. I mean I can send a e-mail to the AAU and get a response withen two days from Friello, Askinas does not ever answer except it is from certain people, if it was not for all the people that will never become World Elite fighters the USAT could not exsist. Remember Steven Lamdon it took him forever to get there but with the proper training and support he did make it. I am not saying the USAT is bad we support them with certain students looking for that dream, what I am saying is the USAT need to be more of leader for the whole than just the few.

I hope in no way did I offend you but my complaints are about the way things are being run and by there track record it is not getting better.
 

Gorilla

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That part is a specific. The USAT could definitely do a better job relating to its members. Much better answer than, “Because they are better”, thank you for your input!
How can we help them as grassroots leaders make that better?

To be a little more specific without having to spend to much time researching I will use the(USAT)Youth Olympic Games Team. Greg English two time AAU National Team Member none of his(AAU) fights were easy he had tough time making the team his first year. He has improved allot since the Dutch Open (AAU Trip) and ran thru everyone at the USAT.
Michelle Silva another 2-time AAU National team mcuh the same story. Olie Burton also made the team and he was on the AAU team before he made the USAT National Team. Haley Kong is another AAU/USAT success story.
 
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MSUTKD

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I do not want to make this USAT vs AAU, but if the AAU is doing something successful about grassroots bring it up and be specific. (not just, "they are a grassroots organization")
 

terryl965

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I do not want to make this USAT vs AAU, but if the AAU is doing something successful about grassroots bring it up and be specific. (not just, "they are a grassroots organization")

They have started what is called the Cadet team it is solely to help those 10-13 year old athlete get extra training from some of the best coaches in the US.
 

Gorilla

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They have started what is called the Cadet team it is solely to help those 10-13 year old athlete get extra training from some of the best coaches in the US.

I stated this in my post Maste Southwick must have missed it.

The National Team Coaches are very responsive. Master Tubbs has given advice on my daughter development even though she has fought his fighter at every team trials. He shows respoct to our Master and is a class act.

I don't want this to become USAT vs AAU fight. I want both organizations to come together for the good of the sport but egos on both sides have not allowed that to happen so far.
 

Gorilla

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I would say it is really the other way around,lol. I know of many WALK-ONs to the AAU Team.



quote]

I forgot Selina Tubbs JR flyweight World Champion and multiple time AAU Jr National tem member and current Youth Olympic Games Team Member. Anees Hasnain multiple time AAU National Team member and 2008 Olympic team alternate.

And the AAU won as many medals at the Dutch Open as the USAT did.

The days of the AAU as a second rate organizationa are long gone.
 

Gorilla

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I have been a member of the USAT much longer than I have been a member of the AAU. I did not even know about the AAU program untill 2007. We have attended more USAT events than AAU. My daughter and son are both multiple time National Medalists as Black Belts at the USAT. My daughter top 3 finweight at the USAT we just got back from Colorado Springs. Nobody at the USAT has ever been concerned about his/her development. That is why I am a AAU Fan and just a USAT member.
 

Gorilla

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I do not want to make this USAT vs AAU, but if the AAU is doing something successful about grassroots bring it up and be specific. (not just, "they are a grassroots organization")

They take athletes provide them with an opputunity to fight to make a National Team and then they give them international experience at both the Junior and Senior Team level(Dutch Open,German Open, Spanish Open ETC). They have now started a cadet Team 10-13 that will train with National Team coaches to develop the athletes of the future.
 

taekwondodo

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I am thinking that how did AAU managed to have funds to provides the all of those international Opens games for the athletes? Did they get the financial support from the main body of AAU or all of the financial expenses they TKD AAU have to come come up themselves?

EOs in any organization all ways think of the bottom line. Do they have money to provide to all of the programs/ideas? If the money is limited, then they have to prioritized.

How many parents can afford to have their grassroots future champions to all of those international opens if they have to pay them? Even parents have to make decisions based on their pocket books.

I noticed that AAU org has many district "qualifiers". In the state of TX, there are at least 4 to 5 qualifiers (for National) that the athletes can compete in. Not only do they have Olympic fighting, but they also have point fighting too at these qualifiers and National. That is all I know about AAU so far.
 

terryl965

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It is the financially provided by AAU TKD solely they use monies from the National level, they have three times the participation of a USAT event and they fo not mind spending money on developing the athletes.
 

Gorilla

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"How many parents can afford to have their grassroots future champions to all of those international opens if they have to pay them? Even parents have to make decisions based on their pocket books."

The AAU pays for the Jr/Sr National teams to go to international events. We have been to one so far and it was a great experience(Dutch Open). We will be going to the Spanish Open in April. They also provide Uniforms, Warm Ups and 2 full sets of equipment free of charge. They also provide a training session once per year in which they pay for hotel expenses. You must provide your own airfare.
 

Gorilla

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One of the other things that I forgot to mention that stood out last year to me. The AAU and the USAT both attended the Dutch Open. The AAU sent their National Teams that were selected by fight off. The USAT sent a hand picked developmental team and nobody knows how they picked the team. If the AAu picked a team that way my daughter would not have been picked. She was unknown and an upset winner everyone was surprised including me.
 

Gorilla

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"Our NGBÂ’s primary job is the field the best US Team in taekwondo sparring and now poomsae. Whether you believe it or not, they try to do this. It is not perfect but I beg the readers to actually do some homework and compare and contrast the current USAT methodology with other Olympic sports. This trend is not just used by taekwondo administrators, but rather seams to be a popular sports management style pervasive in the USOC. This is not my specialty but I work with other educators who do research and coach in several other Olympic sports. Reading sports management papers and even finding other forums, like this one, about other sports might enlighten one the fact that we are not alone."
MSUTKD

I have some experience with the Olympic Development program for Soccer and how the select National Teams. It is does have tryouts at the State, Regional and National Level.
One of the big difference is that if you are a State Director, Regional Director or National Director you have to give up any club affiliation that you might have. In Nevada the State Director took over the one of the club teams and had to give up his director position. My daughter has been selected to the Nevada State ODP team 4 years in a row and the process is very transparent in our state .
 

taekwondodo

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Does any one know what AAU yearly expenses are? I mean, their district qualifiers are smaller, ie local gyms. Does AAU pay for referee fees? * I cannot elaporate more about AAU because I do not know much about the organization*

Also, there is 1 National tournament and 1 major international tournament if I read the earlier post. So the cost of AAU is lower compared to USAT.

USAT has:
5 National Qualifiers
1 US OPEN
1 Rocky Mountain
World Cup
Pan Am
Senior Team Trials
Junior Team Trials
Referees Semenars

Along with these major events, there are fixed expenses per event, ie..pay the refs, medical, venues..etc. So all of these expenses adds up.

How does USAT generates revenues? Membership fees, $7 or $9 per person at an USAT sanction events, event fees..etc. With the declining member ships, so the revenues going to be down, but the fixed expenses will still be the same.

My point is that in order for USAT executives to offers more programs, there needs to be more revenues coming in because those programs costs money.

They may set a guide line for State to developed some sort of grass root program but IMHO, the grass roots development needs to be at the State level. State team, state training, state uniform, etc.. But then, do you think each state will take time and effort to developed those type of program? Or do you think the State president will take the money they generated and abuse it? I've seen it before and it is still occurring right now.
 
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