Interview with Master Alberto Katz - Chairman of ITF Umpire Committee
Master Katz, can you give us some background on your own involvements in ITF Tournaments over the years please?
I have been involved in ITF Tournaments since 1981 when I was a competitor in the World Championships in Argentina. I was then 23 year old. I competed in patterns and came in 4thplace. I was 3rd degree at that time. I was not able to compete in free sparring because I had a broken rib only a couple of days before the Tournament. Later on in 1992 I was national coach and went to North Korea for the World Championships. We came 2nd in the overall country standings and 3rd in Male team Sparring. In 1988 I started as an Umpire in World Championships in Budapest and returned in 1997 in the World Championships in St Petersburg, 1999 in the World Championships in Argentina, and later on in WCH in Poland and Germany 2005. I was then involved in the World Cup in Benidorm 2006 and in 2007 I was Chairman for the Tournament & Umpire Committee for World Championships in Canada, World Cup in Riva da Garda , World Championships in Argentina 2009, and Chairman of the Umpire Committee for World Championships 2011 in New Zealand, and for World Cup 2012 in England .....Of course the next event will be Oct 24th Umpire Chairman for World Championships in Spain.
In your opinion what have been some of the key improvements in ITF tournaments over the last number of years?
I think we have made quantum leaps in interpretation of the rules and of course standardization. For this last issue we used the German electronic System, which indeed helped not only for this purpose but also to improve operations over all.
In the area of umpiring, since taking over as chairman of the ITF Umpire Committee what have been they key areas that you have been involved in?
Designing a training program for Umpires, creating an on site scenario each time we train them so they can appreciate the feeling of being in a virtual tournament. We also insisted on Procedures and lately in redefining scoring criteria for pattern and prearranged sparring...We look now for defects and we lower points accordingly ...We need, for this, precise observation and a profound skill in detecting these mistakes.... So Umpires need to be real specialists in performing patterns, as the competitor with fewer mistakes will win in the end.... They need not only to see but also to feel precision and power as much as with closed eyes...
Are you happy with the progress of umpire training in ITF at present?
We have improved a lot. We still have to work and train for the years to come in many aspects...A core value and objective must be to reach to all the Umpires of the world. We must reach developed, developing and emerging countries equally...Everyone must have the right to learn. Technology makes this possible today.
Do you think that the status of ITF umpires is changing as a result of the extra IUCs available? Are the referees gaining more respect and importance among ITF members?
I think they are. We have increased not only quantity of courses but also in quality.... and we are indeed using technology to leverage training.
How would you like to see the ITF Tournaments continue to improve, what are the key areas you would like to focus on from an umpiring point of view?
Standardizing is one very important point. In order to do that we need to train Umpires to observe with precision. We need to start with e-learning technology, using videos and other handy information we have to improve Umpire skills.
Can you give us an insight into the schedule of the Umpire committee and the team of umpires at this upcoming World Championships? What will be the daily schedule and responsibilities for example?
Sure. On Wednesday 23rd we will have a full 5 hours meeting to form ring councils and to get acquainted with the stadium...We will practice directly on 2 rings in the arena so that all questions are answered in the light of the real scenario. Each day Umpires will arrive 1 hour before the competition starts to debrief them on the past day and to give them proper coaching on their previous days performance. We are also going to give feedback during the tournament to oversee any problem or questions that may arise during the competition.
In your opinion is it as important that the coaches and competitors are aware of the rules as the umpires? What advise would you like to give to them ahead of these championships so that the event runs as smoothly as possible and that it is as positive an experience as possible for everyone involved?
Rules are rules. Umpires are there to make their best to score under this framework in order to obtain the fairest results. Competitors and coaches see the rules as a constraint for their strategy to win. So they see them in a different way. How to bend them until they almost break.....in their ability to do this will determine, in a great percentage, if they are going to win or not...For example...if a coach does not know how to read the screen where the results are being displayed during a match in free sparing, it will jeopardize the result of his/her competitor by giving him or her wrong advice at the wrong moment. Coach strategy has changed with technology and they need to adapt themselves.... Otherwise their competitors will lose....Read more
Great success of the 87th IIC in Warsaw,Poland.
The 87th IIC hosted by the Polish Taekwon-Do Association took place in Warsaw,Poland in the venue of the University of Physical Education on the weekend of the 27th - 29th of September 2013.
The IIC was a great success with 142 black belts from 11 countries; Argentina, Denmark, Germany, Georgia, Italy, Latvia, Norway, Sweden, Russia, USA and Poland. Almost half of the course participants were the holders of 4th Degree and above including: 6 Masters, 18 sixth degree, 18 fifth degree, 27 fourth degree holders. The course was conducted by the ITF Technical Committee: Grand Master Hector Marano, Grand Master Willem Jacob Bos and Grand Master Kim Lan Ung.
The course was run under a new format which meant extra hours of training and contact for all participants. The feedback from all participants about the content of the course was very positive.
Over the 3 days the IIC was mainly divided into 2 groups in two separate sport hall; the first one for 1st - 3rd Degree holders and the other one for 4thDegree and above. This meant the Grandmasters could cover more material with all participants. The Grandmasters covered all aspects of ITF Taekwon-Do including; patterns up to Tong-il in great detail, fundamental movements, free sparring, traditional sparring, step-sparring, self defense, flexibility and warm-up exercises. There was also time for the group for 4th Dan and above to have discussions on topics such as the structure of their schools, grading and syllabus, and also how to teach different aspects of the Taekwon-Do syllabus.
The Grandmasters were in excellent form. Grand Master Marano again showed why he is the chairman of the technical committee, his knowledge on the ITF patterns is superb, participants were amazed at his ability to explain all techniques and reference the encyclopedia by page and photograph and his ability to fix errors and explain the applications and details of all movements. Participants were very happy with the sessions on the patterns as the grandmasters did not just explain the technical details of the patterns but the reasons for each movement, the applications and also how to correct common errors and problems in the patterns. Grand Master Lan showed wonderful ability especially in the areas of free sparring and self defence, with excellent progressions to develop technique and ability in these areas. Grand Master Bos was inspirational with the atmosphere he creates in his classes, excellent exercises for flexibility, warm-up exercises and exercises for preparation for specific classes for kicking, patterns and sparring, participants got many new and imaginative ideas for the teaching of their classes from his sessions.
In the rest periods between sessions the Grandmasters were happy to work one on one with participants and clarify any doubts about the patterns.
The participants found all aspects of the course extremely enjoyable and all participants commented on the professional set-up of the IIC by the PTA, the warm welcome and hospitality and the attention to detail.
On the Saturday evening the banquet in “Wasabi” restaurant was attended by 42 of the IIC participants.
The IIC was officially closed on Sunday and the ITF Grand Masters were presented with a special gift - a replica of the ITF turtle shell with a written, occasional dedication.
During the IIC on Sunday a black belt test was held during which the following people were promoted:
1. Mrs. Mimmi Oskarsson from Sweden Taekwon-Do Association promoted to 6th Dan,
2. Mr. Levan Tsaretashvili from Georgian Taekwon-Do ITF Federation promoted to 4th Dan
3. Mr. Zaza Chanturia from Georgian Taekwon-Do ITF Federation promoted to 4th Dan
The PTA Board of Directors would like to extend their thanks to the ITF Technical Committee for an excellent IIC and to the participants from the 10 countries for their support.
FOR A FULL PHOTO REPORT GO TO:
Report about the ITF Seminars in September 2013 in South Africa, Mozambique and Ethiopia
by Master Paul Weiler
South Africa – a starting signal for the ITF!
TASA = Taekwon-Do Federation South Africa under the leadership of Sabum Bert Gey van Pittius (5th degree) is working very hard to promote TKD ITF in this country. Recently a large number of clubs has broken away from Ung Chang group and has shown interest during a meeting to become our member. A decision will be taken very soon at the General Assembly of this group.
Sabum van Pittius is also ready to help and support the work of Master Weiler and to teach in Mozambique and/orZambia. The next seminar in South Africa will be scheduled for March 2014.
Master Weiler with Sabum Bert Gey van Pittius at the 1st ITF seminar in Pretoria
Mozambique – a new ITF member!
During the second visit in Mozambique this year Master Weiler was delighted to realize that
- Assocacao de Taekwon-Do ITF de Provincia de Maputo is now registered at the government and has all the required papers ready so send to the ITF
- the Minister of Youth and Sport, Mr. Fernando Sumbana, has a big interest in the development of Taekwon-Do ITF, especially in the Kid’s program. He was very much impressed about the ITF program and the donation material (safety equipment of TOP TEN).
Mst. Weiler presents a part of the safety equipment to the Minister
- the Minister and his team have kept their promise from the day before and visited the 1st Inter African Cup at Maria Ana Mogas school on September 14th, 2013.
Competitors and spectators at the 1st Inter African Cup
- some clubs from Ung Chang group and from GTF joined already the new ITF Federation under the leadership of Joel dos Santos and more will come.
- Mr. John Ngulube from Zambia, who participated at the technical seminar, is very interested in becoming a member and requested already a seminar for Zambia.
The next step of the new federation is to be recognized in six provinces. After that the nationwide recognition can be requested and the chances are good especially with the help of the Minister of Youth and Sports.
At the and of the technical seminar 7 members have been promoted to 1st degree and 6 members to 2nd degree.
Ethiopia – the largest ITF Organization in Africa on the fast lane!
EITA = Ethiopian International Taekwon-Do Association is growing very fast (now more than 5000 members in 50 clubs and another 7 instructors has been promoted to 4th degree).
Meanwhile EITA is much bigger than WTF or any other TKD Federation in Ethiopia and new projects are already under progress. For the end of July 2014 it is scheduled to organize a Kid’s course, an International Umpire Course, a technical seminar and the 3rd African Cup TKD ITF.
At the moment the federation is in the intensive preparation for the participation at the World Champs in Spain. The flights and the hotel are booked and the visas are issued already. For the first time in history Ethiopia ITF will be able to participate at World Champs!
Let us welcome them!
Master Paul Weiler
ITF Senior Vice-President
The 86th IIC was held in Hotel Lipki in Zvenigorod 30km outside of Moscow with 126 participants Russia, Belorussia, Scotland and Israel. Some participants drove for 10 hours to attend the IIC. The perfect event organization was in hands of host Mr. Uri Gromov 6th degree.
GM Marano, GM Bos and GM Lan were warmly welcomed to Russia.
The course covered all the color belt patterns and black belt degree patterns over the 3 days.
Self defense along with pre step sparring were spread over the course of the weekend.
The GM´s were very knowledgeable and answered many questions from some very keen TKD practitioners. Master Lazos 7th degree and ITF Russia President acted as a perfect and always present interpretator.
The course started on Friday with small questions and answer session for the senior grades with GM Marano. The course of the weekend was well planned with the 3 GM's taking turns every hour in order to teach different grades and different aspects of our wonderful art.
They were also very humorous in their teaching which made it fun and interesting to learn, especially for the senior’s grades who usually are the teachers.
GM Marano asked Miss Julia Cross 6th times World Champion and present at the IIC to learn more to teach the 1st degree some sparring techniques which was a great honor and very much a surprise. The students enjoyed the lesson very much because of this different teaching and were very inspired.
Saturday evening a traditional Russian style banquet was organized with some presentations for the GM's and foreign guests.
The Russian organization and hospitality was wonderful along with students aged 13to 63 years old who trained very hard all weekend with enthusiasm and great spirit.
Russian Taekwon-do Federation...Read more
This is to inform our members that the World Cup 2014 will be held at the Rose Hall Convention Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica on August 26-30,2014.
A presentation and additional information of the World Cup 2014 shall be provided during the ITF Congress at the upcoming World Championships to be held in Benidorm, Spain.
The ITF propose to inaugurate a “Hall of Fame” to honour its members. It will take a long time to go over past records to find suitable candidates and so it is proposed that each member country submits suitable candidates so that we may begin with minimum delay. Therefore we ask that the NA submits people who, it is thought, are suitable. We ask that you consider people who have won 3 gold medals or more (and include all medals won) in official ITF World Championships and submit the details of Name; Address; Date of Birth; Date of joining ITF; Degree certificate number; Full details of year, event, category and other details which may assist the candidate to be selected. We expect that as we progress there may be reason to include other competitors, such as other than gold medal winners in World and Continental events. The nominations are not only for competitors but should include outstanding people such as Coaches, Umpires, Organisers, Masters and any others who are considered to be outstanding in any way. This is a project under consideration and any suggestions about what sort of awards and the form they take will be welcome. This is a chance for your distinctive members to be recognised forever and the ITF Board hope that you will participate.
All recommendations should be sent to GM Tom MacCallum at e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to make the first presentations at the World Championships this year in Benidorm, it is up to you....Read more
The ITF is continuing to expand our social media connection with Taekwon-Do ITF members around the world with the launch of our official Twitter page. We encourage ITF members to follow this page, retweet the news that appears on it and to interact with each other through this new communication channel....Read more