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International Umpire and Referee's Course
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An ITF Interational Umpire and Referee''''s Course was recently held in the Oriel House Hotel, Ballincollig, Cork Ireland. This was the second time that Master Galarraga VIII had instructed this course for ITF Ireland. The event was organised by Master Don Dalton and Ms. Patricia Dalton and had participants from Ireland, Spain Italy, Netherlands and England. Irish Taekwon-Do Pioneer Master Norman Creedon was also in attendance. The course aims to provide students of Taekwon-Do with the knowledge and the criteria to Judge and Referee all sections of ITF tournaments on a National and International level and to also give these students an idea of how major events are run efficiently. The topics covered ranged from Sparring and Patterns to Special Technique and Power Breaking, and the regulations that govern the team events in each of these categories.


The Saturday morning saw the discussion of various aspects of Judging, in both Sparring and Patterns, and the explanation of the various scoring systems and penalties that were applied in each section. This was followed by an explanation of the new style of fighting that is being adopted into the ITF, "Taekwon-Do Circuit.". Taekwon-Do Circuit is currently televised in South America and will be shown on European Television in the near future. This will certainly be a great opportunity for Ireland and Europe''''s top competitors.


On Saturday afternoon the training hall came to life with several sparring matches featuring some junior Colour Belts. The purpose of this event was to give those taking part in the course a chance to practice their newly acquired Judging skills. Every participant had to score the bouts and their cards were later evaluated by Master Galarraga. The results will later determine appropriate judges for international tournaments.


Sunday morning provided a very worthwhile practical lesson in patterns to the prospective new Referees. The session was begun with a warm up which was instructed by Master Creedon. Master Galarraga then put the group through their paces with all patterns up to 1st Degree, repeating most patterns several times. The group also had to judge a number of bouts with the results again being evaluated by Master Galarraga.


The prospective Umpires and Referees were treated to another exhibition of young talent Sunday evening when IUTF Connaught Students competed against IUTF Tralee students in a similar event to the one held Saturday evening. This was a great exhibition, and the lessons learned from the previous day were put into force while judging the bouts. Afterwards the group were given a run down on the regulations for Power Breaking and Special Technique sections, and there was also a discussion on the equipment regulations for Sparring in ITF tournaments. Master Galarraga also mentioned that Gumshields will now be manditory for all competitors, a protective Item that was optional until now.


The course was finished off with the presentation of Certificates to all the new Umpires and Referees. Master Galarraga thanked both Mrs. Dalton and Master Dalton for their great hospitality over the week, and told the congregation that he was made feel like part of their family during his trip to Ireland. Before the class was broken a special thanks was given to Fernando Escobar of UCC Taekwon-Do Club for his excellent translation during the event, and Master Norman Creedon made a surprise presentation to Master Dalton from the TFI for his excellent work in promoting the unification of Taekwon-Do throughout Ireland and internationally. He also thanked him for organising such exceptional events such as this Referee''''s Course and the International Instructor''''s Course with Grand Master Choi last spring. The event was finished with a presentation being made to Master Galarraga from Master Dalton. According to Master Dalton “this is the 5th ITF International Referee and Umpire Course that I have had to pleasure to attend under the instruction of Master Galarraga. I have learned more in the 5th one than in any previous one. I think that this is the type of course that you have to do over and over again in order to get the full benefit. It is great to have another opportunity to train under one of the world’s great Masters. I think that the participants on this course really enjoyed the event because of the fantastic instruction of Master Galarraga. I would like to thank all the participants for their support and a special thanks goes to Master Galarraga for all his help and hard work.”

Written by: Mr. Diarmuid McSweeney - 7th January 2009

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