One of the highlights of any Taekwon-Do student’s year is grading and adding a stripe or different coloured belt to their Dobok. It can be a nerve-racking experience for many, but the sense of achievement seen afterwards in a student’s eyes is palpable. We are all familiar with the scene – you wait at the back of the Dojang, your name is called, you run to the allotted spot on the floor, you strut your stuff, perhaps answer a few questions, and then return to the back of the room. All the while, the examiner is casting their eye from student to student and furiously writing notes. And you think ‘wow that examiner must know a lot!’
Actually, that examiner does know a lot. But to become an examiner in New Zealand requires an instructor to pass a rigorous set of conditions and examinations, and these qualifications need to be renewed every two years. The primary reason for this is to maintain high standards and consistency amongst examiners and gradings; In 2014 alone there were 96 Gup gradings and 6 black belt gradings in New Zealand – a formidable load for any group of examiners.
Mr Gwyn Brown (5th Dan) was part of a group of 15 senior instructors who recently attended a formal ‘Examiners’ Course’, run by New Zealand’s chief examiner Master Paul McPhail (8th Dan). Gwyn notes that “In NZ, becoming a 4th Dan does not give you the right to examine Gup students; that right has to be earned by passing the examiners course. Before you can even apply for the course, you have to first obtain several other qualifications including a first aid qualification, an international instructor certificate, hold a current ITF plaque, and have attended an IIC within the last 2 years.”
Having these prerequisites in place and being at least a 4th Dan, you can now attend the course. However, the course is not a casual jaunt through a few coloured belt patterns – it is a full day of rigorous testing, with only a few short breaks. Mr Brown again “Firstly, Master McPhail outlines what he sees as the important things to look for when examining students. We learn to write shorthand, as normal writing simply isn’t fast enough to cover all students on the floor, especially when gradings can have 130+ students. We learn techniques for watching everyone, how to split up the ranks, and how to lift the energy on the floor if it’s lacking. After all, no one wants to fail and no examiner wants to fail any student. “
A general outline of the examiner’s course is as follows:
1 A practical grading assessment that includes shorthand note-taking, video role-plays and quick-fire questions from Master McPhail – from Mr Brown’s perspective “Master McPhail called out what was happening at a theoretical grading in real time. We had to write down as much as possible and then answer questions afterwards based on what we wrote. There were 5 students in this scenario and we covered all grading aspects. For example, one student performed Won Hyo but their back leg collapsed in a walking stance, the side kick wasn’t straight, and the L Stance was wide but only on their left side.”
2 Syllabus training and awareness; it goes without saying that an examiner must know this back to front.
3 General procedures (including etiquette) and administration of a grading;
4 Examiner responsibilities and other administrative duties.
A minimum pass mark of 70% is required at all stages of the examination. After a full day at this level of examination intensity, it isn’t surprising that most participants were tired. Of course, all New Zealand Taekwon-Do students, whether they know it or not, are grateful for their dedication.
And the last word from Mr Brown “At the end of the day I was exhausted, but positive. I did ok in the theory exam and also the two practical tests. I made one bad mistake in the video grading and gave a student an A pass that, with the benefit of the video rewind button, wasn’t correct. Hopefully that won’t count too heavily against me!”
Brian Ricketts and Gwyn Brown
Caption for photo:
The Group of Fifteen; from the left: Mr Peter Graham, Mr Kane Raukura, Mr Tim Couling, Dr Thu Nguyen, Mr Vince Pygott, Mr Shaun Tolley, Mr Hayden Breese, Mr Mark Banicevich, Mr Gwyn Brown, Mr Darren Ward, Mr Grant Eccles, Mr Richard Iotua, Mr Andrew Salton, Ms Rose Cherrington, Mr Lawrence Mantjika, Master Paul McPhail (Chief Examiner), and Master Mahesh Bhana (observing examiner)....Read more
On the 23rd November 2014 took place a competition of exhibits from different schools that make up the Guatemalan Association of Taekwondo ITF. This activity was a platform for coaches and students to demonstrate their skills and abilities as well as the perfection of technique and involved about 120 children belonging to different schools across the country, with more than 300 people in the public.
The event was opened by the General Secretary of the Guatemalan Association of Taekwondo Sabum Thelma Ayala who was commissioned to inform attendees of the projects that have such entity 2015, narrating that this art also improves the quality of life of Guatemalan citizens, encouraging attendees to practice this sport....Read more
The Afghanistan ITF Taekwon-Do Federation held an Umpire "B" Seminar from 11-12 December 2014 at Kabul City with 30 participants. The organizer of the seminar was the Afghanistan ITF Taekwon-Do Federation and the GENERAL DIRECTORATE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT OF AFGHANISTAN. The aim of this seminar was to show and teach the new umpiring techniques of ITF Taekwon-Do to our members. At the end of this seminar the Afghanistan ITF Taekwon-Do federation granted the "B" degree certificates. It was a great experience for Afghanistan ITF Members. Participants came from Kabul City clubs.
President ITF Afghanistan
Vice President - Asia
During the weekend of the 29th and 30th of November 2014, 75 participants from 6 different countries came to Paris take part in a fantastic seminar given by Mr Jaroslaw Suska, 6 times world champion and 20 times European champion in patterns.
The event was organised by Mr Lylian Doulay, National Technical Director and President of ITF France on behalf of ITF Paris in cooperation with Mightyfist (www.doboks.com / www.doboks.eu) and Black Belt Project (www.tkd-blackbelt.com). The venue for the seminar was the French National Institue for Sport and Physical Education (www.insep.fr).
The seminar started off with an intensive warm up session leaving no chance for any cold or unprepared muscles for the kicking drills that were to follow. Mr Suska provided demostrations before each exercise, amazing everyone with his speed, strength, control and accuracy in every technique. Numerous kicking drills and exercises were demonstrated by Mr Suska then performed by the students until the first break for lunch.
The Saturday afternoon session began with a quick warm up then on to an in depth coverage of fundamental movements and the first five patterns. Mr Suska provided many different exercises and training ideas for instructors to be able to use in their classes. At the end of the first day, Mr Doulay invited each of the participants that travelled from outside France to the front of the class to be presented with a small gift as a token of appreciation for travelling to Paris to take part. Participants came from Belgium, Luxembourg, Brazil, Romania, Poland and France.
On Saturday evening, Mr Suska and several other guests were invited by Mr Doulay to a dinner boat cruise on the river Seine taking in the sights of Paris including the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty and many other important Parisian landmarks. The dinner and cruise was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by all the guests.
The last training session on Sunday morning started with various different warm up exercises then on to more leg strengthening exercises before continuing on with the patterns. Each pattern was treated individually with the specific problem areas covered in detail with opportunities for everyone to ask questions.
Although the seminar was conducted proficiently in English by Mr Suska himself, Mr Lukasz Grygiel and Miss Monika Kepa were on hand for assistance with translation from Polish into English and French when required.
At the conclusion of the seminar, Mr Doulay took the opportunity to award certificates for the latest black belt promotions, who were all congratulated individually by Mr Suska. Mr Grygiel then gave a presentation on the Black Belt Project and the participants also had the opportunity to browse and purchase Mightyfist doboks and sparring gear at the Mightyfist stand.
The first Mr Suska seminar in Paris was a great success and was enjoyed by everyone that took part. ITF France would like to thank Mr Suska for coming to Paris to train, inspire and share his love of Taekwon-Do. Thank you also to Mr Doulay and ITF Paris for working tirelessly to provide a well organised seminar and for bringing Mr Suska to Paris for everyone to profit from his experience.
Report written by Jonathan Morris, Vice-President ITF France...Read more
The National Sport Federation of Taekwon-Do ITF Kazakhstan (NSTF) present their annual report of activities for 2014. Some of the highlights of the year ibclude continued growth of the organisation with new members joining from other federations, the Grand Prix Almaty Championships, the Open Kazakhstan Championship, attending the Polish Summer Camp, the Kazakhstan Summer Camp, the Open Asian Championships and attendance at the World Cup in Jamaica....Read more