Over the weekend of September 25th to 27th, 2015, Queens Taekwon-Do Center and Master Ruben Suarez hosted an ITF Umpire Refresher Course and the 20th edition of the ITF New York Taekwon-Do Tournament. On Friday evening and Saturday morning, the ITF Umpire Seminar was conducted by Master Kurt Ottesen, VII Dan, member of the ITF Umpire Committee. During the two day seminar, the participants were able to actively participate in the different topics included in the seminar agenda with sufficient time to ask questions about the material discussed over the seminar. All the participants left the umpire seminar with excellent information and knowledge to improve their skills as an umpire.
On Sunday, September 27th, 2015, was the main event of the weekend in New York at the Queens College Fitzgerald Gymnasium, in which Master Ruben Suarez hosted for the 20th edition of the ITF New York Tournament. A total of 402 competitors, coming from 38 ITF Taekwon-Do schools, from Canada, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, and the USA, came together to participate in the 20th anniversary of the ITF New York Taekwon-Do Tournament.
The opening ceremony was conducted by Master Suarez, who welcomed all the masters, instructors, competitors, parents, supporters and the general public to the event. During the opening, a group of children from 6 to 9 years, coming from Calisalsapalmundo Dance Studio, performed a salsa dance demonstration. Then, we followed by a special patterns and sparring demonstration by Mr. Eric Cohen against Mr. Julio Carlos. During the close of the opening ceremony, all masters and school instructors received a token of appreciation as an expression of gratitude for all the support of this event. We want to thank each of the masters present at the event, Master George Vitale VIII, Master Carlos Ramirez VIII, Master Pedro Candelario VIII, Master Vincent Affatigato VIII, Master Ramon Mateo VIII, Master Kurt Ottesen VII, Master Paul Byrne VII, Master William Martinez VII, Master Oscar Perez VII, Master William Perlaza VII, Master Alvin Bernard VII, Master Don Kerner VII, Master Aaron Fruitstone VII, and Master Jeremy Kempa VII. Finally, this year the Most Supporting School trophy was given to Academy of Martial Arts from South Carolina, headed by Mr. Allan Dela Cruz.
Following the opening, we began the competition. For the third consecutive year, we set the central ring following the official ring dimensions and equipped with the ITF electronic scoring system to judge black belt patterns and sparring competition. With the assistance of Master Ottesen, we were able to conduct a great competition in the center ring for the enjoyment of all participants and over 700 spectators present. The electronic system displayed real time results of the competition on TV screens for patterns and sparring matches.

We want to express our most sincere gratitude to all referees, judges, and assistants, whose work has continued to excel year over year, helping to make for a better tournament each year. Also, we want to congratulate the team delegations from Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Jamaica. The tournament ended at 8:15pm, and for the 20th year, it was another exciting event for the NTA-ITF and the ITF New York Taekwon-Do Tournament.  Master Ruben Suarez would like to extend his gratitude to all participants and supporters who helped to carry out this continued success. 
From May 27th to May 31st, 2015, the FEDERAZIONE ITALIANA TAEKWON-DO ITF (FITAE) and the International Taekwon-Do Federation (ITF) hosted the 19th Senior and 13th Junior ITF Taekwon-Do World Championships in Lido di Jesolo, Italy—a beautiful seaside resort located one hour from Venice.  During the last week of May, officials, umpires, competitors, coaches, and supporters (more than 2,200 participants in all) flooded the Venetian shore from more than 50 countries across the globe. 

The event was launched with opening ceremonies on Tuesday night at the Pala Arrex Arena.  After a formal introduction of the tournament committees and other officials, and the procession of representative countries, there was a series of spectacular performances by a renowned opera singer and local pianist that perfectly demonstrated the classic culture of Italy.  The audience was then captivated by a novel performance integrating the elegance of traditional ballet with a montage of Taekwon-Do patterns.  A lasting impression was left by a spectacular demonstration from the National Team of Puerto Rico, and the ceremony was topped off with the traditional Haka dance of the New Zealand Taekwon-Do team.  After the ceremony the crowds headed back to their hotels to rest up for the first day of competition.
And a long day it was!  For most juniors it was time for sparring, while seniors spent the day demonstrating their skills in individual patterns.  At the end of the day, the USA walked away with only one medal, awarded to the NTA’s own Stephanie Suarez who secured the silver medal in women’s 2nd degree individual patterns, losing only to Norway after a tie-breaking round in the finals.  The second day of competition proved just as challenging for the USA when our decorated champion Julio Carlos fell in his fourth round to a knockout by Argentina.  A stunned crowd was left disheartened when Julio was carried out of the ring, but relieved and pleased to hear that he had walked away unharmed.  Moments later, Stephanie Suarez came through again, shedding some light on the day, earning the USA’s second medal by taking the bronze in individual female micro-weight sparring. 
Friday was a well-earned half-day of competition, highlighted with the USA junior boys taking the silver medal in team power breaking.  While most officials spent the afternoon in conferences, competitors engaged in some last minute training, or otherwise taking in the sights of Jesolo and enjoying the idyllic weather and delectable food; with a plethora of restaurants, cafés and gelaterías always at hand, life was never bland in Jesolo.

Saturday’s competition happily saw the USA’s first gold medal, well-earned by Jaime Raybourn of Houston, TX, from ATFI who nabbed first place in heavyweight junior girls’ individual sparring.  And Sunday morning brought the much anticipated performance of Titus Durojaiye (NTA-ITF) and Anderson Chan (OTFA) in senior male pre-arranged sparring—a magnificent routine for which they earned a bronze medal.  This same day saw a tenacious presentation of the junior girls’ team power breaking, which brought the USA another silver medal.
A brief closing ceremony followed the final medal awarding, where New Zealand was awarded the overall winner at this years’ competition. The streets of Jesolo came alive with national chants and cheers, and many spent the night celebrating with friends and colleagues, revving up for an extended stay in one of the most beautiful, historical countries in the world. 

The World Championship this year proved a difficult one for the USA Team (joined efforts from the ATFI; ITF-USA; OTFA; and NTA-ITF — the four allied associations of the USA recognized by the ITF), with a series of unexpected losses that demonstrate perfectly the unpredictable, and often heartbreaking nature of international competition.  Still, we are proud and overjoyed to congratulate our medal winners, and look forward to seeing everyone again soon!
On the weekend of March 6, 7 & 8, 2015, Team Blackburn led by Steven LeGrow hosted a two day Pattern and Sparring Seminar with Master Ruben Suarez (8th Degree Black belt who is also a member of the ITF Umpire Committee) in Ottawa, Ontario. There was a special guest, Master Scott Downey (8th Degree) from Newfoundland, Canada who is the Eastern Vice-President of the Canadian Taekwon-Do Federation International.

Also, in attendance of this seminar were a few current and former ITF World Champions/World Cup Champions. We had Maxime Bujold, Kayla Maduk, David Lim who are current medallists/champions. Both Maxime and Kayla are preparing for the World Championships in Italy in a few weeks!
The Seminar started on Friday, March 6 with Patterns. The warm-up was led by Master Downey which was exciting and upbeat. People loved Master Downey’s drills based on movement, agility and cardio. After the warm up, Master Suarez took over and began leading us through some pattern drills.

Master Suarez’s pattern workshop was fantastic. He brought new methods of training the muscles of the body into getting acceleration, increasing the level of power as well as improving the shaping the stances. Many people were already sore and found it hard to move after day 1 but were loving every minute of it and would not miss day 2.

Day 2 was the Sparring day. Master Suarez has a unique insight into free sparring which is more movement based that technique based. While most fighters focus on which technique they want to perfect, Master Suarez has us moving in various directions. Movement drills involved skipping, shifting, stepping, sliding and switching. The method of which Master Suarez teaches is breaking the exercises down, making them incredibly natural for everyone to do.
The first half of the day was purely movement based with some techniques added in towards the end of the half. When people returned after the break, people were instructed to wear sparring gear so that we could begin some simulation drills both involving the movement drills from the morning with some attacks, defensive drills and counter attacks thrown in to make things interesting.

After a few hours of drills it was time to do some free sparring. Many of the people did not have any energy left in the tank at the end of the day but there were some very resilient people who were determined to get some additional sparring where Master Suarez was gracious to coach the athletes.

In wrapping up from such an amazing weekend, we would like to say thank you to Master Downey for attending and sharing with us and a big thank you to Master Suarez for your continued dedication to ITF and the promotion of Taekwon-Do around the North and South America.

By Steven LeGrow (host of the event)
On February 28, 2015, the National Taekwon-Do Association – ITF (NTA-ITF) and Advantage Taekwon-Do hosted the 3rd Lititz Taekwon-Do Tournament with the participation of 181 competitors in Manheim, PA. We had a total of 17 clubs participating in the tournament coming from the east coast and 2 competitors coming from Norway. The competition took place at Manheim Brethren in Christ Church, 54 North Penryn Rd Manheim, PA 17545.
This tournament served as a training and preparation for the USA Team going to the ITF World Championships in Italy having the two most recent World Cup champions in Jamaica, Julio Carlos and Emanuel Carlos. The Club United Taekwondo studio from Sabum Miguel Montero walk away with the trophy of most supportive school, bringing a total of 28 students. The electronic scoring system was used for the first time and was also a high light of the tournament showing were we continues making efforts for the NTA-ITF to improve the professionalism of the ITF Taekwon-Do in USA.
Sabum Luis Mejia, Owner of Advantage Taekwon-Do and Tournament Organizer would like to thank all the masters, referees, instructors, coaches, competitors and families that attended this tournament and that keep coming every year. We are looking forward to see all of the participants next year on the 4th version of the Lititz Taekwon-Do Tournament.
The 20th International Umpire Course from the International Taekwon-Do Federation was held at the Holiday Inn La Guardia in Queens, New York over the weekend of January 24th and 25th, 2015. With a participation of 66 members coming from Anguilla, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Uzbekistan and the United States took part in the umpire course which was conducted by the ITF Umpire Committee, Master Suarez and Master Ottesen, and we have the privilege to have with us during the event GM Wim Bos, ITF Director.
The course which followed the new and amended 2015 ITF Umpire rules and regulations began with an overview of the jury members, referees and umpires before going onto the purpose and procedures of the individual pattern point deducting system.  The participants then had an opportunity to umpire and judge a number of pattern matches which raised a number of practical queries and discussions on criteria, scoring and decisions. The course also covered sparring competition and the rights and duties of the center referee, corner umpires, jury president and the ring assistants. The participants once again had an opportunity to umpire sparring matches using the electronic scoring system. The center referees displayed how to check the competitor’s safety equipment and continued to show the full procedure of starting the match with the correct bowing in protocol at the start and finish of each bout. The competitors and sparring matches created and displayed various scenarios to ensure that an explanation of all the warnings and fouls could be explained and discussed. Finally, the last topic of the course was to discuss power breaking and special technique competition. It was with great enthusiasm to see all participants eagerly engaged with the content of the course.

On behalf of the National Taekwon-Do Association – ITF (NTA-ITF), the International Taekwon-Do Federation, the ITF Umpire Committee and GM Bos, we want to thank everyone who travelled and participated in the umpire course and a special thank you to Master Kurt Ottesen for his continuous commitment in the development of ITF Umpires in the United States.

This umpire course was an ideal opportunity for everyone in the USA to either refresh their umpire skills or learn umpiring skills for the first time. We look forward to seeing our International Umpires in the USA putting their skills at the forthcoming ITF World Championship in Italy at the end of May 2015.


Master Ruben Suarez
On behalf of the National Taekwon-Do Association – ITF (NTA-ITF) and Master Ruben Suarez, we want to thank you for a wonderful year. The year 2014 was a very active and exciting year filled with many challenges and growth opportunities. We are very happy to work with our members during every event we planned this year, and we will continue working with our members in the years ahead. We will start the year 2015 with one of the many benefits this organization has to offer to our members and we will be hosting an International Umpires Course with the ITF Umpires Committee and GM Bos in New York.
We are very grateful for your support and for the new experiences gained this year. It is our commitment to continue meeting our objectives as planned for 2015. To our members, instructors, competitors, coaches, and umpires, we look forward for your continued support in every event we have programmed for next year.

Now, taking advantage of the power of sharing, we want to share with you the link to some of the activities during 2014. Remember to stay connected with us on www.Facebook.com/ntaitf or visit our website www.nta-itf.com/on-facebook.html.

Sharing events and links from 2014

January 2014

2014 First Instructors Class – Queens, NY
Sparring Seminar with Julio Carlos – Brooklyn, NY

February 2014

Florida Black Belts Seminar and Testing – Gainesville, FL

March 2014

Lititz Annual Tournament – Lititz, PA
Master Suarez Seminar and Testing in Anguila
OSC ITF Open Tournament  Orlando, FL
International Instructors Course – Bogota, Colombia

April 2014

Ultimate Taekwon-Do Challenge  Tenafly, NJ
Unity Championship  Manchester, CT
Lowes Country Invitational Tournament  Goosecreek, SC

May 2014

Master Suarez Seminar in Puerto Rico – Cidra, PR
Business and Technical Seminar – Lititz, PA
Masters Seminar – Ottawa, Canada
Red Tiger Taekwon-Do Tournament – Philadelphia, PA

June 2014

Patterns Summer Camp – Jacksonville, FL
Street Submission Seminar – Queens, NY
2014 Legacy Cup - Queens, NY

July 2014

International Instructors Course – San Francisco, CA

August 2014

2014 ITF World Cup Jamaica – Montego Bay, Jamaica
September 2014

2014 ITF New York Taekwon-Do Tournament – Queens, NY
2014 ITF Umpire Seminar – Queens, NY 

October 2014

ITF Invitational Patterns Tournament – Jacksonville, FL
X Big Apple Tournament  Manhattan, NY
Battle of the Bells – Philapelphia, PA
NTA-ITF Florinda Training – Gainesville, FL

November 2014

International Instructors Course – Treviso, Italy
YMCA Taekwon-Do Demonstration – Albany, NY
ITF Black Burne Challenge  Ottawa, CA

December 2014

2014 USA Team Nationals Selection – Houston, TX
Master Suarez visits ITF HQ for ITF Umpire Committee Meeting

On behalf of the National Taekwon-Do Association – ITF (NTA-ITF) and Master Ruben Suarez, we would like to express our most sincere congratulations for an amazing organization of the 2014 ITF Nationals Qualifiers in the USA for the 2015 ITF World Championship in Jesolo, Italy. Under the direction of Master Fabian Nunez and Mr. Travis Young, this event was produced in a very friendly and competitive environment. We want to congratulate all of the coaches, umpires and supporters for delivering a great event and as a key ingredient for running this event very professionally.
We want to also congratulate each of the competitors that participated, and especially the competitors from the NTA-ITF who participated in this event and made the team. The final selection of the team was made by majority decision by all four Allied Associations in the USA (ATFI, ITF-USA, OTFA, NTA-ITF).
Below is a summary of competitors by NTA-ITF schools that made in to the 2015 ITF World Championship:

Queens Taekwon-Do Center – 12 Competitors
Advantage Taekwon-Do – 2 Competitors
Academy of Martial Arts – 2 Competitors
Bronx Taekwon-Do Center – 1 Competitor
Titus Taekwon-Do Center – 1 Competitor
Total NTA-ITF - 18 Competitors
Also, the NTA-ITF representation included our International Umpires:

Master Ruben Suarez, VIII Dan
Master Carlos Ramirez, VIII Dan
Mr. Gustavo Naranjo, VI Dan
Mr. Roger Benites, V Dan
Mr. Luis Mejia, V Dan
Mr. Rupert Shrouder, V Dan
The NTA-ITF wants to acknowledge the valuable effort from our coaches, especially from Professor William Perlaza, VI Dan for his dedicated commitment in the development of high level and international competitors. His effort has sparkle by bringing gold medal to the USA at World Championship and World Cups in several occasions. It is an honor and an asset of the NTA-ITF by having him. Also, we want to congratulate our coaches Mrs. Martha Hernandez, Mr. Emanual Carlos and Mr. Chris Caspers for their valuable contributions with all the competitors.
Over the weekend of November 14th to 16th, 2014, a delegation from the National Taekwon-Do Association - ITF (NTA-ITF) participated in the 98th International Instructors Course for IV Dan and above in Treviso, Italy. This delegation was composed by Master Ruben Suarez - VIII Dan, Master Carlos Ramirez - VIII Dan, Master Oscar Perez - VII Dan and Mr. Nelson Martinez - V Dan.

A new master in the NTA-ITF - Master Oscar Perez, VII Dan

We want to congratulate our new Master in the NTA-ITF, Master Oscar Perez, who was tested for VII Dan last Friday. Thank you for your commitment to the NTA-ITF, for your indomitable spirit in helping us spread the true ITF Taekwon-Do in the USA.

On the day of October 11, 2014, the NTA-ITF's own Titus Taekwon-Do Institute hosted an ITF Patterns Tournament in Jacksonville, FL. Participants came from Academy of Martial Arts (South Carolina, Mr. Allan Dela Cruz), Ocala Taekwon-Do (Mr. Javier Montero), Jacksonville YMCA (Mr. Nicholas Billups),  and of course Titus Taekwon-Do Institute (Mr. Oscar Perez and Mr. Titus Durojaiye).
The tournament was also graced with the support and presence of the ATFI's President, Master Nunez. Mr. Edward Davila also came from Tampa to show his support and share his experience with his international referee skills.

Since this was a Patterns Tournament, the events were Individual and Team Patterns. Each school had their team which were split into two division. The winners of the divisions had to compete for the Grand Champion Trophy which was earned by Titus Taekwon-Do Institute's Team A (Phillip Muddiman, Jake Hiett, Abby Redway, Katie Redway, and Bobby Wiesner).
In addition to this tournament, Special Technique Breaking was introduced to the participants at a local level. As the tournament progressed, this became the highlight of the event! People gathered, as the competitors compete to see who can hit the highest high kick!

Mr. Oscar Perez and Mr. Titus Durojaiye are very appreciative for all the ones who came and support this wonderful event.

On behalf of the National Taekwon-Do Association – ITF (NTA-ITF), Queens Taekwon-Do Center (QTC-ITF), and Master Ruben Suarez, we would like to express our most sincere gratitude for the support, not only nationally but also internationally, to accomplish with great success the XIX ITF New York Tournament, held in the gymnasium of Queens College in New York, this past Sunday, September 28, 2014.

This very important annual event for the ITF in the USA, characterized with the highest level of competition, especially for the category of black belts, had participation of 420 competitors coming from 10 countries and from 39 schools.
The opening ceremonies was shared with all masters present, including Master Ramirez (USA), Master Martinez (USA), Master Ku (Canada), Master Han (Uzbekistan), Master Mateo (USA), Master Vitali (USA), Master Byrne (USA), Master Cancelliere (USA), and our special guest over this weekend, Master Kurt Ottesen (Canada), who led with his experience the managing of the electronic scoring system during the black belt competition. This year the school that won the Most Supportive School trophy, by bringing to this event a delegation of 72 competitors, was the Asociacion Nacional de Taekwon-Do de Puerto Rico. All schools that participated received a commemorative trophy from Master Suarez as a token of his appreciation for their support. Immediately after, Master Suarez gave a plaque to all NTA-ITF Team USA medal winners at the ITF World Cup in Jamaica. We closed the opening ceremony with the performance of Niya Mitru singing the National Anthem.
Following the opening, we began the competition. For the second year in a row, we set the central ring following the official ring dimensions and equipped with the ITF electronic scoring system to judge black belt patterns and sparring competition. With the assistance of Master Ottesen, we were able to conduct a great competition in the center ring for the enjoyment of all participants and over 700 spectators present. The electronic system displayed real time results of the competition on TV screens for patterns and sparring matches.
Particular recognition should be given to all referees, judges, and assistants, whose work has continued to excel over the years, helping to make for a better tournament each year. Also, we want to congratulate the team from Puerto Rico that demonstrated growth in their technical level, showing there is more to come from this country in upcoming international competitions. Also, we received the support from the team delegations from Canada, Uzbekistan, Guatemala, Poland, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru and Jamaica.

The tournament ended at 9:15pm, and for the 19th year, it was another exciting event for the NTA-ITF and the ITF New York Taekwon-Do Tournament.  Master Ruben Suarez would like to extend his gratitude to all participants and supporters who helped to carry out this continued success. Next year, Master Suarez will be celebrating the 20th annual event of this tournament and there will be many surprises planned for this event.