Saturday 11th July 2015
The final Wadokai England selections have been completed today in Leicester. Our guys were all selecting for Team or Pairs Kata to compete at the Federation European Wadokai Championships in Budapest in October. Carl (along with Sensei Mick Ryde from Ripley) was also mirror judging the final Kumite selections and a giant Team Kumite match made up of 18 of the England fighters heading to Japan in a few weeks for the Wado World Cup.
Well done to Lewis Muldown who has maintained his positions on the squad from last year, well done to Joe F who maintained his Kumite position and also got selected for individual and Team Kata. Also a massive high five to both Joe H and Harvey on being selected to the Wadokai England team for the first time.
- Joe Flounders – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata, individual Kumite
- Joe Hind – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata
- Harvey Kerridge – Selected for Pairs Kata, individual Kumite
- Lewis Muldown – Selected for individual Kata, Team Kata, individual Kumite
Unfortunately, both Paul White and Daniel Spires were unsuccessful this time around in the very competitive 14-15 year category, this was possibly made more difficult by being a Wado World Cup year. Daniel also stepped up to this age group this year after winning 12-13 year Male Team Kata Gold at last year’s European Championships in Reading, this is Paul’s first year of training and competing with the squad.
As you can expect, this is disappointing for them both, especially given all the hard work they’ve put into their Karate this year and their successes in recent championships. Thankfully they are tough lads, and they know that this is just one small part of what they train so hard for.They will therefore bounce back from this with more focus and determination in their training, no doubt twice as hard as previously. Both, along with most of the other lads above will continue working towards the British Karate Federation Championships early in September and a number of other events after that.
Well done guys, no rest though as we have our Club-Only Summer Championships tomorrow at the Dojo. See you then.
Sunday 28th June 2015
On Sunday the club entered four athletes (Harvey, Joe H, Paul and Lewis) into the TASK Open at Billingham Forum. The lads didn’t disappoint with all performing well and all bringing back trophies…
Photo courtesy of Ian White
Joe Hind – Silver Kata, Silver Pairs Kata, Bronze Kumite, Gold Team Kumite
Harvey Kerridge – Silver Pairs Kata,
Paul White – Gold Kumite
Lewis Muldown – Gold Kata, Silver Kumite
Joe lost his Kata final to a European champion, nothing wrong with that… Paul had a tough first round draw, losing to the category champion and no repercharge. Harvey lost in the third round to one of the category finalists, just missing out on a medal place. Lewis met Wadokai England team mate Rebecca Boakes (Sakura Karate Academy) in the semi’s before going on to secure Gold.
Joe lost in the Kumite semi’s against the same lad who beat him in the Kata final, score was tied 4-4, but Joe lost out at Hantai (judges decision), but he must have impressed, because he was asked to join his fight team later on in the day – where they won Team Gold! Harvey unfortunately didn’t get through the rounds due to Hantai going against him. Paul didn’t drop any points on the way to his Kumite final, which he took Gold in.
Thanks to Graham for looking after the athletes and Rachel for the real-time updates whilst Amy and I were at our friends engagement party.
Referee’s (especially in sports like Football) are often slated for being biased and / or incompetent, and they are often not the most liked people in the world of sport. So why would anyone want to become one?
I’m going to start this post with a controversial (but in my opinion true) statement, ‘without Referee’s and Judges, Karate competition will cease to exist’. Some traditionalists would love nothing better but I personally believe that Karate competition gives more to the Martial Art/Sport than it takes away.
Judges and officials are often in short supply at competitions so it was great to see a small army of referee’s and judges at the 1st English Karate Federation Kyu Grade Championships in Sheffield last weekend. They covered the full range of qualification and experience levels from Novice to Association, National, European and no doubt International level. Their was also an army of table officials.
I may be wrong but I believe that I was one of the youngest judges their and if that’s the case then what does that indicate? I may feel old but chronologically I’m not yet ‘past it’. So why were there not more ahem… youngsters there? I don’t know how many judges/referee’s are qualified in England and I certainly don’t know the average age of them but I DO think this is something that really needs looking at.
If we don’t get more young people interested in refereeing and judging then at some point in the future we are going to run out of them. Full stop. By the way, the same argument can be made for Karate Instructors too!
So, what’s stopping people from signing up? effort? cost? time? other commitments? Lack of opportunity? image of referee’s & judges?
Without knowing what the barriers are we can’t expect to ‘fix’ the problem.
From my personal experience as a competitor and coach, I can say that I’ve had my share of good and bad decisions against me. I’ve also been on the receiving end of blatant cheating and incompetence by officials too. I think that for the most part I’ve managed to ‘take the hit’ and have always explained to my students (& parents) that referee’s are only human and mistakes/bad calls can and do happen.
Know the rules. If instructors don’t understand the competition rules, then it’s unlikely that their students will. So my first simple suggestion is that every instructor at the very least should know the up to date WKF Competition rules. Also if they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves, they should encourage someone from their club to attend referee training courses. This could be association, regional or even national level. every little helps!
Competition organisers also have a big part to play, it shouldn’t cost referee’s and judges to attend an event and volunteer all day. It can work out very expensive if you have to travel, pay for food and sometime even accommodation. Most competitions will turn at least a modest profit, and ‘judge expenses’ should be factored into the event costs. Even a token payment of (for example) £20 would be appreciated. At these rates you’d be looking at at least £800 for 40 judges to cover six areas (new rules, 1x referee, 4x judge, 1x match controller – per area!). This is a lot of money but remember, this is an investment in the future of the sport.
We need the best possible referee’s at as many competitions as possible. They need to be experienced enough to make decisions accurately, to only score points that are actually good enough to score. If they don’t, then athletes will think their sub-standard techniques are great and then get destroyed when attending an overseas competition!
Another issue is that athletes need to compete. This may seem like a silly point but it’s quite surprising when you look at some squads how little they actually compete. This isn’t a criticism, it’s merely an observation but even our own style’s national Team, Wadokai England has members who only compete at the Wadokai European Championships each year. Some don’t enter domestic competitions and if they do, they only enter the ‘small ones’ or the ‘Wado only’ ones. It’s often the ‘big fish in the little pond’ scenario. Athletes don’t like to enter the big or multi-style/open events because they think they won’t win (especially in Wado Kata), so they become insular and the standard stagnates. If there is poor attendance at events, competitions will lose money and will cease to run meaning less opportunities in Karate!
The excuse: ‘the judges don’t understand Wado Kata’ is often used by coaches and athletes to explain why they didn’t win at a particular competition. This may be true BUT if Wado athletes refuse to enter open competitions then how will they ever know what a ‘good Kata’ looks like? I know of a number of very good Wado clubs that actively enter the open circuit and do very well so I think it’s more down to performance standard than what style Kata a lot of time (but not all!).
Also, back to my first point… we need more referee’s and judges, so the Wado fraternity should invest more £££ in their respective in-house referee training programs. The graduates of these programs can then move onto national qualifications and thus help bolter the number of great Wado ref’s out there. The more good quality referee’s and judges out there the better and we all have our small parts to play. If you have 50 officials at a competition and only 1 or 2 are biased or inexperienced then that is great, if you’ve only got 10 officials at the same event then the bias and inexperience is going to be felt more.
- We need referee’s & Judges, they should be encouraged
- Instructors need to learn the rules & teach them to their students
- Competition organisers should pay expenses for all referee’s and judges
- Athletes need to enter competitions
I am NOT an expert in refereeing and judging and I don’t claim to be. These are my own observations from my limited experience of national-level judging and running a number of very successful championships. The post is by no means exhaustive and I’m sure people may disagree, comment below and we can continue the debate.
The next referee course is: Sunday 29th January in Barnsley, England.