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#106685 - 12/02/04 12:56 AM Judging kata
senseilou Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/14/02
Posts: 2082
Loc: Glendale, Az.
I have been talking with some people about tournaments and our general feelings. We got into the judging kata discussion. Let me say I am not a fan of tournaments at all. I will take the time I spend at a tournament and go to a seminar instead, Id rather learn from a Sensei than judge people doing kata or sparring. We will leave the sparring for another day.

In talking about the kata, everyone has their way of judging.Some start with a perfect score and deduct on each mistake. I think this leaves some problems as the judge may not be familar with that version of the kata, which could result in a lesser score. Then there are those who use the median scoring approach. I have heard others who don't score the first 3 and then let them go after everyone else is done, this way they can see the level of the competition. I was wondering what the feeling about doing kata for competition, or how it should be scored. It is a very subjective thing, so how does one really value it. I have seen great power and speed, but the movements were technically off. I have seen a technically beautiful kata, but no speed or power. Then again those who have no focus at all. I talked to one Sensei who said he doesn't even pay attention to the kata, but HOW whatever it is they do, HOW it looks, so he cares very little about the technical aspects of that particular kata. His point was how do you compare kata, when you may see a Chinese form, Korean form, Indonesion Juryu, or Japanses kata. You have to judge aspects of the kata.

I will not say my prefered method, however, my main feeling is this. Kata was not created to be judged, so I do not see the need to do so. I think the time would be better spent learning ABOUT the kata, not trying to make it look good and for others enjoyment. I am not too thrilled about tournaments, I think it sends the wrong messages. Instead of comparing themselves to others, I think they should see what they can learn from the form. But thats me, and I know others will disagree, but thats how I see kata.

#106686 - 12/02/04 02:19 AM Re: Judging kata

Im against these kata explain

my teacher was one of the referees and the other ones told him, that in this tournament there will be a karateka who should win and he should support him to

he saw his kata and judged him as he judged all others (didnt listen to the other referees) and after the tournament he told those, who were training for kata tournament, that money play a great role in these tournament. after this, he asked them if they want to compete, and they all said no. from that time, our school doesnt take place t any tournaments (neither kata nor sparring ones)

kata, i think, should be practised for spiritual developement nor for prestige in tournaments, if a karateka practises kata for tournaments(which of course motivates him)I doubt he has the same state of mind as a karateka who practises kata for himself, for his developement...

nice day to u [IMG][/IMG]

#106687 - 12/02/04 09:10 AM Re: Judging kata

I like tournaments, especially for the youth. I like the idea to give the youth a short term perspective in their training like training for a tournament. After all, you do not expect a 15 year old to understand the mental aspects involved in MA training.
A true MAist will train his entire life.
Competition is usually done by 10 to 25 year old. That still leaves you about half a century to train other things than competition.
As for kata, I do not like the idea of different executions in tournament and style kata. I mean that kata should not be modified to please judges. Problem is to find adequate judges. For kata this is very dificult.
For WKF only Goju Shito Wado and Shotokan is recognised as official styles. This is in my opinion a set back as other great styles are not represented (Shorin Uechi Kojo Isshin ...).
In WKF kata judging, scores are no longer used but is done by rounds competion (like in kumite) where 2 contestants participate in a match and the best goes to the next round. Winner is indicated by 3 to 5 judges with flags (red or blue contestant).
Criteria for judging are :
realistic execution of kata
understanding of shown techniques
right tempo,rhytm,speed, balance, kime
correct breathing
correct focus and concentration
correct stances
right tension in abdominen (hara)
correct form (kihon)
dificulty rate of the kata
These criteria are very dificult to judge and that is why a good judge will train in other styles to asses the techniques of their kata.
Senseilou, you say that kata was not ment to be judged. I remember a story that when Higashiaonna was training with Ru Ru Ko, they were challanged by another school to contest wich one was the best. So they decided to let their best student execute a kata to decide upon their performance wich school was the best. Higashiaonna won. Sounds like competition to me.

#106688 - 12/02/04 10:27 PM Re: Judging kata

My school used to compete in the AAU Karate tournaments, but now we do AAU the AAU TKD there are 6 criteria for judging forms:
Beauty, Rhythm, Focus, Grace, Power, Technique...

The problem is when a judge puts too much weight on one of the criteria. I've heard judges who only give high scores to individuals who can kick high--that is what they consider "beauty"...nevermind the person was wobbly and had no power or technique.

Is it real kata? Nah, it's tournament forms. As stated earlier, it is something fun for young people. Adults do it too, but certainly not as much as younger people. What I don't like to see is schools that emphasize ONLY sport MAs.

Exclusively sport MAs breeds rude, cocky the ring and in other places. When it comes to forms, they're just really agressive dancers.

But hey, for Nationals this year, we went to Fort girlfriend and I went to the beach, snorkling, boating...yeah, tournaments = great vacations.

Now, XMA forms competitions? Uhg, that was an awful idea...


#106689 - 12/03/04 10:33 AM Re: Judging kata

I don't think kata should be performed for tournaments at all. Kata are not about aesthetics and putting them in tournament makes them so. A kata is either performed correctly or it is not. If it is not then it should be being practiced and not demonstrated.
I also dont think that kata tournaments should be multi styled. If you are going to have a tournament for kata the judges need to understand what the performer is doing to judge it. Anything else is just foolish.

#106690 - 12/03/04 08:02 PM Re: Judging kata
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3220
Loc: Derry, NH
I believe in tournaments, I do, I do. (Rhymes with a chant in the latest Peter Pan movie). Course I only belive in them for very serious purposes, they work.

Not that they're fair. Truth, Justice and the American Way (the professed public nice one) don't exist, and anyone who is considering competing should be skilled that's the true nature of the competition.

But they're still invaluable, on a personal level, because you push yourself to higher levels of performance than otherwise.

Especially in the open tournament competition. It matters not that the judges are 1. prejudiced 2. blind, 3. idots, 4. all ofthe above, those things don't matter because if you compete you surrender the right to the judge 100%. They're always right even when they're 100% wrong, because of the simple fact, if you compete you have absolutely no right to judge yourself, in any sport or competition.

But that doesn't matter, its pushing yourself to step on the floor and go for broke in kata/kobudo competition. The value isn't in fools saying your the best, for if all the judges are idiots (likely because I've judged many times) then if the idiots make you first place what does that actually make you.

Didn't think about that did you?

No the value is to burn at maximum intensity. From 78 through 85 or so when I was competing some of the best open style competitors were in the Penna, NJ, Md, De, region, true national champions from traditional Okinawan, chinese and pretend stystems. But they could sure move and stick it.

Working against them pushed you further than anyplace. Especially if your art was your inegrity. That you're drive was to do your art as perfectly as possible, not to play to the crowd. It's always for yourself, not the judges. Heck back then all the grand pooba's couldn't have had more that 15 or so years in the arts, and those pooba's were running the shows as rotten as judges ever.

But you don't do it for the glory, its for yourself and your desire to push yourself as far as you can go. If you don't have that drive, or if you're not properly prepared for the competition, you shouldn't be there.

I observe most of the competitors in most of the divisions (especially in black belt) should not be competing, they should be training right and hard. It would be a better use of their time.

But for those of any rank who are properly prepared, they can use the experience to make themselves better.

But that's the focus, to make themselves better. Not to have anyone, including your instructor, it makes you better, but for yourself.

As for judging I came up through the days, there were no rules. Training with many people I could often recognize the correct performance of forms I was judging, and in turn judged Goju as Goju, Isshinryu as Isshinryu, Shotokan as Shotokan, etc. Then the modern juke and jive began. The Michak brothers with their highly skilled crafted forms (requiring super technicians), George Chung with his machine gun kicks.

I like many had no idea how to judge gymnastics with some karate added. And I did a bad job I'm sure because I recognized their physical ability.

But in time I came to realize how easy it is.
If a forms competitor has any movement in their form that does not have martial intent they get marked down. So the juke and jive with flips, screams, etc. if at the end of all their kicking, they stick their hand out for image, and not striking, Super Big Deduction. Once you forget the form, and you look for balance, timing, focus, alignment and power, the rest is easy. If it doesn't look martial, guess what you should judge it that way, as it is a martial arts tournment.

Unfortunately I eventually came to the realization that I could only judge black belts with that standard to its fullest extent, after all if they're black belts they should be going to live on the razors edge.

So I could only give 10's for doing it right, and 0's for any mistake which would cost you your life or the fight. And as nobody really wants to have someone judge them with those rules I left judging behind.

But that's the way I see it. The value is to push yourself, and who want's 2nd place, as 2nd place in a fight for your life is death, right?

It's one layer of the razors edge.

Heck if you really want to believe in your skill you should step up to the judges, give them a list of say 10 kata and let them pick what they want to see, and then do it better than anyone else.

And yes my students, if I'm judging them and they make any mistake I've always given them a zero, but didn't do it for others. Once one of them won first place, and all the other judges were very unhappy with me for noticing and commenting on a mistake.

And some think I'm a nice guy...

What do you train for afterall.

But at the same time that was my path. There's absolutely nothing wrong with not taking that one either.

Something to chew on.

Victor Smith
bushi no te isshinryu

[This message has been edited by Victor Smith (edited 12-03-2004).]

#106691 - 12/06/04 04:01 AM Re: Judging kata

I too like Shonuff dont like tournaments but is is true what CVV said about keeping the young motivated because children just cant absorbe all the MA teaching and thus have to have a motivation and in this case a tournament is a good motivation but I said, i dont accept tournaments, kata should be performed because of the inner growth

have a nice day cya [IMG][/IMG]


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