2019 Nationals is the most important ever!

June 06, 2019, 1:40 p.m. (ET)

With the early registration deadline for Nationals fast approaching (it’s tomorrow, June 7) USA Taekwondo is urging members to sign up before the price increase on Saturday. USATKD Nationals, while always a great event, has taken on much greater importance over the last two years, with the introduction of the U.S. National Rankings sponsored by Tusah, and the recognition and reward programs which were introduced in 2018 and being expanded in 2019 with the All-American athletes and Returning Champions programs now joined by rankings and All-American status for coaches, direct qualification to the brand new Grand Slam series of events and a fast track to the selection phase for the National Athlete Academy. 


These new additions are open to everyone and designed in particular to aid athletes who perhaps don’t have the time or the resources available to compete as often as they would like, providing access to these exciting new initiatives, all of which provide a pathway to Team USA for those athletes who excel. Listed below are just some of the benefits available to athletes and coaches who attend USATKD in Minneapolis this year.


U.S. Grand Slam qualification - All world class sparring medalists in cadet and junior divisions, and all gold and silver medalists in senior divisions will be invited to the exciting new 16.0 Grand Slam series, along with the top athletes from the U.S. National Rankings. The inaugural U.S. Grand Slams will be held at the equally new National Center of Excellence in Colorado later this year. The Grand Slam will play a significant part in qualifying for 2020 National Teams, including Olympic and Junior Worlds competitions next year, so make sure you don’t miss this opportunity to score big in the second half of 2019. See this link for more details on this innovative new series of events.

The 2019 Cadet World Championship team will be named using the rankings following Nationals, and many of those races are wide open, meaning that the USATKD Nationals results are more important than ever for cadets this year! And of course, all points earned will go towards 2020 Cadet National Team qualification too.

New All-American Athletes for 2019 will be named. USATKD Nationals world class black belt medalists, and the top 10% of all ranked athletes who attend 2019 Nationals will be named All-American, receiving a letter of recognition from legendary coach Paul Green, a brand new All-American uniform patch, discounts in the USATKD online store and the opportunity to attend an exclusive All-American Academy camp, where the best athletes will be invited to join the new U.S. National Athlete Academy.

Gold Medalists in the world class black belt sparring competitions will be entered into the Returning Champions program for 2020, where they will receive FREE entry to 2020 National Championships in order to come back and defend their coveted National title!

2019 Nationals in Minneapolis is designated as a Talent ID event. What this means is that all USATKD National Championships world class gold and silver medalists, if not already qualified through the All-American or Talent ID programs, will be invited to a National Athlete Academy selection camp later this year, for their shot at making the new athlete development pipeline program.

Poomsae athletes will also be identified for potential inclusion the National Poomsae Academy (launching later in 2019) and all cadet, junior and senior medalists will qualify for the upcoming U.S. Poomsae Grand Slam Series, which will also be announced shortly. The National Poomsae Academy will include quarterly training camps for member athletes, and the best of the best will receive funding for Grand Prix and major international events!


Color belt gold and silver medalists will be invited to development camps with the National Team coaching staff to help them progress as swiftly as possible their taekwondo journey.



USATKD Nationals 2019 will see the launch of both Official Coach Rankings AND the All-American Coach program, where the best coaches (based on ranking) will be named All-American and receive  FREE EVERYTHING in 2020 - no membership fees, no education fees, no coach registration fees- $0 for an entire year of competition and learning. Coaches will also receive an exclusive ‘money-can’t-buy’ All-American Coach vest, and discounts in the USATKD online store, along with an interview on the Team USA website. Coaches earn ranking points based on the performance of their athletes in competition and the ranking will be calculated using the total points of all competing athletes. We’ll be publishing the first Coach Rankings shortly before Nationals based on the last 12 months of points and naming the ten All-American Coaches once the Minnesota totals are calculated!


USA Taekwondo High Performance Director May Spence said: “We are aware of the delicate balance required in needing to encourage athletes to compete in more high quality competitions to drive up standards, while also remaining sensitive to the demands on time and money that are an inevitable part of the life of an elite, or potentially elite athlete. USA Taekwondo is committed to providing the appropriate pathways for all athletes to reach the limits of their ability, wherever that may take them, and is working to provide that - we believe the changes in 2018, 2019 and the upcoming exciting proposals for amends to the points system (including potential fight offs) take great strides towards that, and will set the U.S. on the path to becoming one of the top Taekwondo nations in the world again.”