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Weekend in Mexico all business for Stouffville taekwondo official

Oct 30, 2014 | Vote0   0



Stouffville Taekwondo instructor will officiate at the world championships this weekend.
Stouffville Sun-Tribune

When Bhajhan Mann attends the  ninth WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico this weekend he will be closely observing how the participants perform.

But he won’t be doing it from the stands as a spectator.

Rather, Mann, 58, will be much closer to the action as he will do it in an official capacity – as a senior referee.

Holding a sixth degree black belt, along with being an instructor at Stouffville Taekwondo, Mann was one of 50 referees from around the world chosen to serve in this year’s championships.

He has twice served as a poomsae (forms) referee at the World Poomsae Championships.

On one other occasion, Mann was a sparring referee at the World Military Championships.

Along with those championships Mann has officiated in numerous open international events.

While there are 50 referees chosen from around the world for the championships, Mann was quick to note along with himself, there’s a maximum of 10 from each continent.

“From Canada, there’s just two referees including myself,” he said.

Having trained in the sport for more than 40 years along with teaching it for 31 and being the national poomsae referee chair and Ontario Taekwondo Association referee chair, Mann said the referee selection process is based on a candidate being a certified international poomsae referee with the World Taekwondo Federation.

Along with that, he noted candidates must take a five-day qualifications and refresher course.

“From that, the top 10 referees are selected from each continent based on their performance at the course,” he said.

Mann passed with flying colours and received word last month he had been chosen to serve as a senior referee in the championships.

During this year’s championships, he will referee the individual, team and pairs for all divisions of poomsae (patterns or forms).

This will include the preliminaries right through to the finals.

Prior to the start of the championships, Mann said they will have three days of training.

In reflecting on the role as a referee, Mann said the most challenging part is in being consistent.

“There are seven judges at each ring and we have to be able to see the same errors,” he said. “The highest and lowest scores are dropped and the remaining five scores are counted towards the final score.

“All scores are scrutinized at the end of each day and every referee has to account for their scores if they are not consistent with the other referees.”

Making his second appearance at the world championships, with the first being in 2010 when he was a sparring referee, Mann is looking forward to taking another active role.

At the same time, he feels the experience gained from this event will also assist him as a coach and in turn, be beneficial to aspiring Canadian students and referees.

“I’m very excited to be a referee at this event. It’s a real honour,” he said. “This experience will also help Canadian referees as I will be able to share this knowledge with them.”

Taekwondo Helps Autistic Student Shine…

STK Black Belt Bradley N was featured in an article for global Taekwondo news site MasTaekwondo:



Taekwondo Helps Autistic Student Shine

Bradley Navaranjan has learned self control, discipline and self respect through taekwondo.


Winning a two-week pass to a local taekwondo school led to the transformation ofBradley Navaranjan.


He is the recipient of a Yes I Can award from the public and Catholic school boards, in conjunction with the Council for Exceptional Children, York Region Chapter 543.

“No matter which board you work for, we have the best interest of our students at heart,” said Mary Garofalo, program consultant, special education at York Catholic District School Board.

The Yes I Can awards “honour children and youth with exceptionalities who shine,” according to the Council for Exceptional Children’s website.


Bradley, a 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Oscar Peterson Public School, was nominated by a teacher.

“What tremendous growth Bradley has made as a young man living with autism. … Bradley has gained an understanding of how to control his inner struggles and feelings through martial arts,” reads part of the nomination.


Awards were given out during a special ceremony last week in academics, arts, athletics, school and community activities, self advocacy, technology and transition.

But that is not why Bradley joined Stouffville Taekwondo Karate four years ago. It was because he won two free weeks of lessons through a school fun fair.

He is now a black belt and teaches at the school.

“I’m exceptionally proud of Bradley and his accomplishment and he hasn’t let having a condition put a limit on his abilities and goals,” said Stouffville Taekwondo Karate instructor Christopher Ridabock Jr.


Bradley’s mother, Jill Green, knew something wasn’t quite right with her middle child when he started kindergarten. But tests and specialists “couldn’t put a finger on it”.

A couple of years ago someone finally did. Bradley has asperger syndrome, which is a form of autism.

Bradley suffers from anxiety when he goes into social situations. But through taekwondo, he has learned self control, discipline and self respect, according to his mother.


Bradley was Mr. Ridabock Jr.’s first autistic student. Now he has four or five.

“I don’t know if it’s me or the taekwondo. They do very well,” he said.

Upon hearing he won a Yes I Can award, Ms Green said Bradley was shocked.

“For him to accomplish something on his own, means a lot to him,” she said.

“It’s a good source of inspiration. … Our limits are only set by ourselves,” Mr. Ridabock Jr. said.

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