System could save taekwondo

KIRK PENTON, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:08 AM ET

Taekwondo has been dogged by controversy thanks to its human judging system, but new technology could end up saving the sport from Olympic extinction.

That technology was on display at MTS Centre this weekend during the Commonwealth Taekwondo Championships, the third international event to use the new hardware.

A South Korean company called LaJust has created the Electronic Impact Detection and Scoring System, or EIDSS. It uses sensors on its protective chest gear and footwear to determine when points should be awarded.

The World Taekwondo Federation will use the EIDSS at all of its competitions starting next year.

"It's an awesome system," said Winnipeg master Jae H. Park, who tried out the technology last year. "Nothing's foolproof, but this is as close to foolproof as you get."

LaJust spokesman John Han, who was in Winnipeg over the weekend to ensure the system worked, said taekwondo had gotten away from its traditions over the years. Judges were awarding points for blows that sounded good but lacked power, or were missing them.

The EIDSS, whose sensor sensitivity can be adjusted based on gender and weight class, eliminates the grey area.

Park's only concern is the system takes some of the sport's gamesmanship away.

Coaches target inexperienced judges by clapping nearly every time their pupils contact an opponent, or they raise their hands to protest missed points.

"The hands don't stay up very long anymore, simply because what are you going to do?" Park said. "Argue with the computer?"


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