Ahead of the recent World Taekwondo Championships, which took place in Muju, South Korea, the organisation which oversees the event, and all official taekwondo events around the world, made a shock announcement.

It was one which made headlines around the world and drew attention to taekwondo far more than the world championships themselves sadly did. The World Taekwondo Federation had decided to change their name.

That may not sound like an announcement which warrants too much media coverage until you listen to the reason given for the decision.

World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) to World Taekwondo

It essentially comes down to modern technology which has fundamentally changed the way we communicate with each other. Rather than speaking on the phone or writing letters, everything is now done online via email, SMS messages, or online messaging services.

The messages we send these days are short, to the point, and often part of a back-and-forth written conversation that can last for hours. As a result, we now use many more abbreviations and acronyms than used to be the case. And one of the most popular has trodden on the World Taekwondo Federation’s toes a bit.

The World Taekwondo Federation was founded in 1973, long before online messaging and emails were even thought of. And from then until earlier this year, all of their events and literature have been plastered with their acronym: WTF.

Unfortunately for them, this is same as one of the most popular abbreviations used in modern communication and one with an unfortunate meaning. To most young people today, WTF stands for ‘What The F*ck’.

WTF Gives in to the Inevitable

world taekwondo federation WTF

After many years of online ridicule, the World Taekwondo Federation has at last given in to the inevitable.

“’In the digital age, the acronym of our federation has developed negative connotations unrelated to our organisation and so it was important that we rebranded to better engage with our fans,’ explained the president, Chungwon Choue, in a statement posted on the federation’s website.

“We know that in such a competitive world, we must always evolve and adapt to stay relevant and appeal to young and modern audiences.”

So, from the start of the World Taekwondo Championships, the WTF is now simply known as World Taekwondo, a moniker which Chungwon Choue says “is distinctive and simple to understand and reinforces the global nature of our sport.”

He is, of course, right, but the loss of their WTF is likely to see a significant drop in their online profile. But perhaps that is for the best and Taekwondo is a noble sport and deserves better than the childish sniggering its governing body has elicited from too many people for too long.

World Taekwondo Championship Successes in South Korea

world taekwondo federation WTF

The World Championship’s themselves were a great success. It was the hosts South Korea who topped the medal table ahead of Turkey, Serbia, Russia, and Great Britain, while guests at the event included the South Korean President Moon Jae-in and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach.

Meanwhile, at the closing ceremony, South Korea’s Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Jong-hwan Do addressed participants and representatives of World Taekwondo, thanking them for their efforts to stage such a successful event and for “the promotion of peace through sport.”

The next World Taekwondo Championships will take place in 2019 in the British city of Manchester. By that time, it is to be hoped that the new World Taekwondo brand has bedded in and the focus can be squarely on the martial arts on display and the positives Taekwondo can bring to the world.

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