National Umpire Course

National Umpire Course

Oranmore Galway February 2017

On a wet and windy Sunday morning, Ms O’Donoghue, Ms. Kelly and I made our way from Dublin to Oranmore in Galway to attend a National Umpire course. The course was being presented by Master Robert Howard VIII Degree and Master Mark O’Donnell VII Degree.

It was a new experience for us. It was the first time we were stepping beyond the student and competitor role into one of the umpire. The course was well attended having ten attendees, so it was nice to know that this journey was not only new to us but also to catch up with familiar faces and colleagues against whom we had been competing for years.

The course was broken into two parts, a classroom session followed by a practical interactive session. Like most people who have competed and watched competitions, I believed that I had a decent understanding of what umpires are required to do, but as the old saying goes “You learn something new every day” and on this particular day there were a lot of new somethings.

The importance of impartiality and fairness is a key fundamental part of being an umpire. This was stressed on a number of occasions and every time a new competitor takes to the floor; they deserve your concentration and honest evaluation.

We started with patterns, what to watch for, scoring elements etc. We then watched videos of people performing their patterns and put what we had learned into practice.

We continued through the morning with practical assessments on how to umpire in all of the competition categories, special technique and power, finishing in the afternoon with practical umpiring at sparring.

It was an immensely enjoyable day and from speaking with all attendees I can honestly say we all left equipped with more information than we started with. For any new Black Belt’s , I would recommend their attending this course without any hesitation.

Many thanks to Master Howard and Master O’Donnell for putting together such a comprehensive and enjoyable course


Mr Derek Brady

1st Degree