The INTA Winter Black Belt Grading was held on 2 December. From 9 o'clock onward, parents, instructors and nervous students gathered in the CityWest Hotel. Grand Master O'Toole, Master Douglas and Master Martin were on the panel for the twelve students grading to second degree and above, which took place in the bright first floor Conservatory. Master Donnelly led a panel of five senior instructors, including Master Fagan, in the adjacent much larger Ballroom; here 20 black tags presented themselves for their grading to first degree.
The INTA's Instructor and Technical Course was held in the Loreto Sports Complex in Fermoy on 4 & 5 November. The course is held twice per year, and gives all students the opportunity to train expand their knowledge of Taekwon-Do, and to train directly under the technical committee. Instructing were Grand Master O'Toole, Master Douglas (VIII), Master Martin (VIII) and Master Donnelly (VII).
More than 60 students attended the Saturday, which was open to all grades. Grand Master O'Toole led the course, and started with the explanation of the Theory of Power. Patterns from Chon-Ji to Juche took the rest of the day, and were explained in detail. Those whose patterns were done went over their three-, two-step sparring under guidance of the other Masters.
On Saturday 21 October the I.N.T.A. held its annual National Championships in the fantastic facilities of Gormanston Park. This year we saw the numbers increase to more than 600, with competitors from both Northern Ireland and the Republic. The Tournament Committee expanded the amount of rings to 8, with no concerns for space in the 100 x 50 meter hall.
At the official opening, Master Douglas spoke about the recent promotion of the President of the INTA to Grand Master during the ITF World Championships a week earlier. All officials and competitors then bowed to the new IXth degree, Grand Master O'Toole. All other Masters and high ranking officials were introduced, as well as the organizing committee. Sabum Ross Smith received a warm applause for his part in winning the team sparring event for Ireland at the World Championships.
At the opening ceremony of the ITF World Championships, Master Brendan O'Toole, president of the Irish National Taekwon-Do Association, was awarded the rank of ninth degree by the ITF. The Grand Master rank recognises a lifetime of dedication to the art, to the association, and to its members.
The members of the INTA are very proud to be represented by this great martial artist, and we are delighted to see this recognition of his constant courtesy, integrity, self-control, perseverance and indomitable spirit .