Allan Dela Cruz
Academy of Martial Arts
On June 17th, the NTA-ITF hosted the very first NTA-ITF Umpire Seminar C at the Academy of Martial Arts in South Carolina. Master Oscar Perez taught the seminar and the students learned the foundation on protocols and the basics on being an Umpire and Referee. The intensive course lasted the whole day and left even the youngest students eager to learn more as well as what they can accomplish as they progress to being a Black-belt. It actually motivated most of the participants... in the course a better understanding on how a tournament is judged and scored. The students had practical applications on Patterns and Sparring. For Beginner Black-belts and Junior Black-belts, the course gave an inside look on the perspective of referees and umpires. I wanted to thank the NTA-ITF, Master Suarez and Master Perez for allowing this course and look forward to seeing more courses such as this one in the future.
Allan Dela Cruz
Academy of Martial Arts
During the weekend of April 7th to 9th, 2017, the National Taekwon-Do Association-ITF and Master Ruben Suarez (VIII Dan), hosted the 116th International Instructors Course in Queens, NY, USA. The final confirmed attendance was 184 participants, including 2 Grand Masters, 23 Masters, 91 Instructors and 68 from 1st to 3rd Dan students, from several states across the US, as well as Anguilla, Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Germany, Guatemala, Ireland, Jamaica, Poland, Puerto Rico, Uzbekistan and United Kingdom.
Friday afternoon, everyone gathered at the Grand Ballroom of the La Guardia Plaza Hotel in Queens, New York, for an intensive program introduced by the Technical Committee of the ITF: Grand Master Hector Marano, Grand Master Ung Kim Lan and Master Pierre Laquerre. After a rigorous and interesting warm-up with Master Laquerre, followed by Patterns with Grand Master Marano from Chon-Ji to Hwa-Rang, and great sparring drills by Grand Master Lan, the first afternoon of the IIC was very demanding, with vast information that covered from fundamental movements to numerous other aspects of Taekwon-Do.
The following morning, the group reconvened at the Ballroom of La Guardia Plaza Hotel for the Second Day of the IIC. Many different elements of Taekwon-Do were covered in further detail, including a discussion of the technical application of the black belt patterns, and an exciting practical session in self-defense and free-sparring led by GM Ung Kim Lan. GM Marano led all participants in patterns from Choong-Moo through to Gae-Baek. Participants then separated so that 2nd Dans and above could go through Eui-Am to Juche with GM Lan, while Master Laquerre took the 1st Dans through a very active review. After Lunch, 3rd Dans and above performed 3rd Dan Patterns with Master Laquerre, whilst Grand Master Lan conducted additional review.
At the close of the day, all participants gathered together again for combination sparring techniques with Grand Master Lan.
Saturday evening, a total of 254 banquet guests joined together for the IIC Banquet, which was held at the Grand Ballroom of La Guardia Plaza Hotel in Queens. Amidst an elegant atmosphere of dining and friendship, there was a special and pleasant surprise for Master Suarez. Many friends and instructors from around the world sent him messages of appreciation honoring his 60th birthday, presenting him with a special video. There was also a special Salsa show and a Salsa band performance during the banquet.
On Sunday morning, all participants 4th Dan and up gathered very early for the final morning of the seminar, and began training with 4th Dan patterns. Following, the rest of the IIC participants joined on the main floor for taking group pictures. The afternoon concluded with everyone back together training in Step-Sparring with some interesting combinations. During the weekend, the ITF Technical committee tested Mr. Clement Officer from Jamaica, promoting him to the rank of VI Dan, and Mrs. Heather Breiting from Colorado was promoted to Master VII Dan.
The reviews of the IIC were exceptional, as participants reported a weekend filled with valuable information, invaluable friendship, and the joys of sharing the true spirit of Taekwon-Do!
Congratulations to Master Ruben Suarez on the 25th Anniversary of Queens Taekwon-Do Center!
On March 1, 1992, Queens Taekwon-Do Center opened its doors to the community of Jackson Heights in Queens, NY. In the past 25 years the school has become a pillar of the community and among the best ITF schools in the USA. A tremendous achievement, we congratulate Master Suarez, who has proven to all that with hard work and perseverance, dreams do come true!
Thank you Master William Perlaza for all the great work you've done for the school and continue to do. You along with Maria Isabel were the pioneers of Queens Taekwon-do Center back in 1992. You planted that first seed, and remain side by side with us from day one. Thank you for all you give to us and thank you for being an amazing trainer and coach and above all my friend! You bring incredible energy to our school and you are irreplaceable! We love you with all our hearts! Your dedication truly speaks for itself.
A big thank you to Gloria, and my children who have also been by my side in all the difficult moments and triumphs. Thank you to all the people who have lend a helping hand along this journey! Thank you to all the students of Queens Taekwon-do Center, you are all the people who have been linked in this achievement and without you none of it would have been possible!
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!
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