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.