Master Barbara Wakefield
REFEREE OF THE YEAR AWARD
My Taekwondo journey began in 1976, at the age of 33, with my husband, three children and two foster children, when we took our first class together with GM Kun Yoo Park. We basically raised our family in the Dojang, going to classes, demonstrations and weekend tournaments. After attaining Black Belt, I opened Park Institute Branch Clubs where I taught classes 3 days a week. (1979-1995)
Park Institute was one of the early Pioneer schools affiliated with AAU/USTU. During these early years, there were very few women (my age) involved in competition or in any leadership roles. As a person who does not like sitting on the bench, I chose to get involved in Refereeing. Beginning at the State level, working my way up to State Referee Chair, State President, continuing to become involved at the National Level.
In 1987, as a National Level Referee, I was selected as a member of the 1st USOC Research Team for Computerized Scoring. We officiated at TKD events during the US Olympic Sports Festivals with the first computerized scoring systems. This was the beginning of the systems used in competition today.
In 1989 I was invited to attend the 19th WTF International Referee Certification Course.
I successfully completed the course with an Outstanding Student Certificate, and became the first US born Female certified as an International Referee. Historically, I was the first US born female to Center Referee or serve as Head of Court/Technical Adviser at a USTU Sanctioned Event, or Referee at the National Team Trials.
In 1994, I was appointed USTU Referee Committee Region Director, where I had the responsibility of teaching US Referee Certification courses, training referees for National level Competitions. 1998-2004 served as USTU Referee Committee Vice Chair. In 2003, during the transition period of USTU to USAT, I was appointed the first USAT Referee Chair, the first Female or non-Korean to hold this position. I am proud to have mentored our next generation of Referee's.
I received the USAT Lifetime Service Award in 2006.
Internationally, I have Officiated at the Olympic Sport Festivals, Pan American Games, World Championships, Jr, World Championships, CISM World Championships, and World Olympic Regional Team Trials, spanning four Continents. I was one of four women in the world (72 Men) to be selected to attend the special referee course for the selection of referee's to officiate the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Taekwondo has been a “Way of Life” experience for me and my family. My dedication to the “Spirit and Sport” of Taekwondo, has taken me around the World, creating lifelong friendships.