Tag Archives: grading

West of England Judo Open 2009, and July’s Budokwai grading

This is perhaps a delayed blog post as the event itself was held on 12th June 2009. In fact, the results are available for download.

This was my first referee outing as a newly qualified National ‘C’ grade. Quite exciting. Being newly promoted this probably meant I was duty bound to make some massive cock-up. Thankfully, this did not happen, which means it will most likely carry over to the next event…

Amusingly, I was still ‘bottom of the pile’ as there were no Area referees present at the event. Ho hum!

We were presented with a ‘Thank you’ certificate during the briefing which was a really nice touch.


The event itself? The lighting took some getting used to. The whole hall had no natural lighting and the artificial lighting had a yellow tinge. It all looked a bit murky. Despite my initial concerns this turned out to be fine.

I was blessed with a great team (Nat ‘A’, Nat ‘B’, Me!) and we worked very well together throughout the day. There was some good spirit and judo on display. This always makes me happy.

It wasn’t a good start as perhaps the most negative judo manifested itself in the first batch of fights (+100 men). There was a lot of just NOTHING HAPPENING, with both players taking overly defensive sleeve grips preventing any attacking moves.

I was a corner judge on the fight I am thinking of. The referee correctly penalised (twice!) but nothing changed. Now, there are two ways of looking at this:

1. Keep giving Shido as the offence keeps happening, until one or both players are disqualified. You may then have a winner, but is it judo? Exercise for the reader: What happens if both players SIMULTANEOUSLY receive indirect hansoku-make because of this?


2. Tell the players to sort it out! The ref was VERY harsh (“Sort it out or you might as well get off the mat now”) but in my opinion perfectly correct. They are adults. They (should) know the rules.

‘Should’. It’s a shame that senior players are still coming out and not knowing the shiai basics (walking in front of the judges’ chairs, not walking around edge of the mat, bowing procedure…). THIS IS SHIAI 101. The loss of competitive gradings for the kyu grades has not helped here as they were an excellent introduction, but really, coaches should be on top of this before sending any player to a competition.

More recently I was invited to referee at the Budokwai again. I was VERY impressed with the standard of the 1st Kyus vying for their Dan grades. It can sometimes be a bit scrappy but there was some stand-out technique and spirit. There were excellent players there who walked away with zero points simply due to the high standard of the opposition. It was a great day.

1st Kyu and the first 10 points for Dan grade

Well, it is a week ago now, and I think it has finally sunk in!

I attended one of the final Kyu gradings before the new Technical Syllabus kicks in. Due to it being one of the last ones, there were Judoka from as far afield as Wales, Dorset and East Sussex.

I went in as 3rd Kyu and had two fights. I won both by Ippon and neither presented me with much problem. I certainly don’t mean this in an egotistical way: It says more for the quality of the Judoka who throw me about on a regular basis in training preparing me well for it! (One of the final sessions before this left me a total wreck, both physically and mentally, and my confidence was not very high at all). But I guess I managed to “turn it on” for the day.

Here’s a video of one of those fights (Thanks to the attendees from Windsor Judo Club for recording it):

Even better, the two club-mates who attended as well both successfully graded up on the day.

As I had nothing to lose at this point, I decided to go for points towards my Dan grade. This was really to assess the standard so I could see where I had to get to. I lost my two qualifying fights quite convincingly, but managed to Tani Otoshi someone in a line-up I was in, so walked away with 10 points (100 required over time). Not a bad start!

I’m not sure when I will go for points again. I feel I really do need to settle into my brown belt before continuing. But we’ll see.

I’ve indulged in a BJJ lesson on the side (Excellent – lots of drills and great techniques), but am not sure if I’d be able to fit it in on a regular basis. Nice to have the option though.

I think it’s more likely that I will make more of an effort to attend the “high-end” Randori sessions, and pick up a thrashing from the long-term black belts. It forces me to capitalise on movement, rather than just wait and be thrown. Watching the video above, I worked the movement and grips, and I need to make sure I do that at all times in training. Easier said than done when doing Randori with people with many, many years more experience though 🙂

Now to get learning that Kata…

Grading and Competing – The Future

It’s strange. After my last grading (where I went from 5th to 3rd Kyu) I decided I should really wait around a year before trying again. I’ve promoted pretty fast in my view, and as that is mostly contest oriented, it would be a good idea for my “general” Judo skills to also come up to the right level.

But it’s always the same. I get anxious after six months or so, and start to go against my original intentions.

Some of those I train with have had great successes recently. Two new Dan grades (one by line-up, always awesome). A new brown belt. A new fellow blue belt. Some new-to-Judo players starting to climb the ranks. And various others heading along to gradings to demonstrate their skills within the week.

My own Judo has developed, although in a way it has changed (Becoming left-handed is a huge shift). I have a new favourite technique or two, but still enjoy the old ones.

So… I don’t know. I really don’t. One advantage of staying Blue involves the Blue Belt And Under competitions, which are fun.

Short-term, I have a competition coming up, and the Referee Practical examination. Should I follow those up with a grading?

Another factor has now come into play: The BJA are changing the grading structure. The current rumour would indicate this would include Senior Kyu grades, making anything up to 2nd Kyu theory only. It would be nice to get up there before this so I don’t need to worry about the new system.

Worry is perhaps too strong a word: I’m not afraid of the theory, but I would like the option of the competing element, and it would seem it may not be available once the changes come in.

Time will tell…

1st Kyu! Well, in theory…

I graded up to 1st Kyu today… albeit only in the Theory components. So nothing changes until I complete the contest examination at a future grading. And I’m in no rush to do that right now, as I feel I have a long way to go. Some details on the required theory here.

Also, in order to experience life “on the other side”, I’ll be going on a Referee training course next month! With my current grade I’m eligible to become an Area Referee (provided I pass the course) which would be interesting.

Training in general was a bit “meh”. Groundwork was nice as I got some nice strangles and turnovers to work (although I need some more ideas when facing someone on the knees… aside from pulling guard and working from there, of course). Standing… not enough movement and attacking spirit on my part. Some gripping “tricks” have started to work but MUCH more practice needed there.

So…. hmm, basically 🙂