International Instructor and International Umpire Course

Fairbanks, Alaska

On June 24-25, 2023, the ITF hosted a combined International Instructor Course and an International Umpire Course in Fairbanks, Alaska.  The local host was Master Jeff Hurben, member of the Phoenix Group and owner of Midnight Sun Martial Arts Academy.   The course instructors were Grand Master Trevor Nicholls (vice president of the ITF), and Grand Master Nestor Galarraga (chairman of the ITF tournament committee). English translation for Grand Master Galarraga was provided by Federico Vindigni.  The result was a lot of learning, getting to know each other, and an incredible weekend in Alaska.  

The event was attended by 6 Masters in person and at least 1 other Master attended virtually.  Participants came from Argentina, Canada, England, India, Kyrgyzstan, Puerto Rico, and the USA.  Having the virtual experience available to those who could not travel allowed the ITF to continue to serve all its members.  The attendance of all of the Masters is a great reminder that there is always more to learn and it is important to take advantage of every opportunity to do so.  Staying current and updating our information helps to keep our art pure!  

The first day of the course covered coaching and umpiring.  Grand Master Galarraga shared his philosophy on the importance of understanding what the goal is and making sure you have a method to get there.  He shared the importance of starting with the fundamentals and building on them.  He stressed the importance of understanding sparring so you can develop a method that is effective.  He discussed concepts of how to use the ring to the advantage of the fighter’s personality by recognizing if the athlete is an offensive or defensive fighter.   Grand Master Galarraga stressed how coaches and athletes must be able to analyze their strengths and evaluate the opponent’s style so they can accommodate and adjust for the best result.  

On the second day of the seminar Grand Master Nicholls provided an in-depth review of patterns and motion training.  He began the day working with 6th,7th, and 8th degrees on Tong-Il reviewing and explaining the purpose of movements and how to transition between movements.  He continued throughout the day bringing in 5th degrees and later 4th degrees etc.  The senior ranks were thrilled to get such specialized work in the advanced patterns.  Lower ranks also reviewed the patterns for their belt ranks with the other masters who were present and able to assist.  Everyone benefitted from the work on color belt patterns.  As usual Grand Master Galarraga and Grand Master Nicholls worked together seamlessly. 

Following two full days of training the Grand Masters, Masters and several others went rafting and learned about some of the land formations, tectonic plates, and river ways in Alaska.  It was a fun and adventurous time that added a dash of Alaskan culture to an incredible weekend.