View Full Version : Tai Kai Judging

Tom Smyth
29th September 2000, 16:16
I would like to make a comment about several items concenring people and their perceptions of who got cheated out of what and so on. It seems to me that these folks are missing the whole point about what the martial arts are all about and the purpose for having a tai kai or for that matter, any kind of Martial Arts competition at all.

A true martial artist realizes that the battle is within, the goal is to improve yourself. The point of attending a competition is to put yourself in a situation where you learn about your self through performing. The judges, whoever they may be, are there to render their personal opinion of your performance. Whether they say good or bad about you, the whole idea is for you to realize what you did right or wrong and go forward from there. I believe , after personally spending over 26 years in martial arts related tournaments and hosting events for the last 20, that the typical American mindset conecenring tournaments is to "beat the other guy and win the gold.If the judges rob me, then its their fault not mine." Whatever happened to taking a good look in the mirror folks?????

Whatever happened to thanking the judges for their opinion, good or bad, learning from it and moving on??? IF you see it as the "judges robbed me", there may be a damn good reason for it, and one you will never wake up and see yourself !

The winning isn't in the medal or the trophy, the winning takes place in the mind of the competitor. He is the one who will either benefit or lose based on the real reason he chooses to attend an event. These people who think they get or got robbed will never understand what the serious study of any martial art is all about. They only see the "western" version of things. These are the people you will always find who whine or complain about something all the time. The event or location or judges dont make a damn bit of difference...

carl mcclafferty
29th September 2000, 18:48
I think most of us posted that we had a great time and complimented Bob and Hataya Sensei on a job well done. We (people that have done this for 30 years) realize there will be SNAFUs, but that's the way life is. Though your pronunciation needs some work <grin>.

Carl L. McClafferty

carl mcclafferty
29th September 2000, 18:50
There should have been a smile on that last sentence.


29th September 2000, 19:43
This posting is really a response to a conversation between Tom and myself. I have been troubled about the judging being biased in our favor. The satisfaction from a victory is diminished when your opponent was not given a fair playing field. You have no idea if you really won the match or not. I have offered my silver medal in nidan / sandan kata to Tony Alvarez as a personal gesture. I thought he was not judged fairly. I have watched the video from the event, and could not tell if he should have beaten me or not. I do feel he should have won the match for third place. I take personal pride in my placement in the other events. I also think Tom deserved his first place in kata. I believe that skill levels are more important than the Ryu you study under!

29th September 2000, 22:13
I unfortunately was not able to attend (no money) however I have been eagerly following all the threads about your first Tai Kai. There have been some negative comments, mostly about mixups that occurred, but the overall feeling I get was that everyone pretty much enjoyed themselves. In any type of gathering of different personalities, there will be some people who are not happy. You can't please everyone all the time.
It seems that many lessons were learned, and by the time the next one rolls around, I hope to be able to attend as it should be even better. I feel that I have to address the remarks by Animo. Please don't make the mistake of taking things personally. If you were awarded a win over someone, do NOT second guess the judges. Sometimes judges are looking at different things than you are. They are in a different position and may see things that you have missed. They may have blown it and messed up the scores (they are only human). The point is that without knowing just what they were thinking, you can't second guess them. You can offer compliments to someone that did a good job, you can even say that you thought their technique was better, but you should not offer up a medal that was awarded to you. By doing this, you demean everyone involved. It implies that you think the judges did not know what they were doing, the organizers were clueless when they procured the judges, your competitor is only interested in obtaining a medal, and your technique is so bad that you shouldn't have won. While I realize that this is not what you meant, and it is a nice gesture, you should just let the judge's decisions stand, be proud of what you have accomplished, and go on. Sorry about the rant folks, but it is a rather sore spot with me and never fails to get me going. I'll get off my soap box and just butt out now.
(blushing in embarrassment for the outburst)

Paul Smith
(insert standard deep/motivational quote here)

2nd October 2000, 03:00

Thank you for your viewpoint. I never considered what other messages I might be sending. I have the highest respect for the Japanese judges and their opinions. Language and custom gaps are the basis of controversy and not their knowledge and fairness. I believe that some of the normal tamishigiri disqualification criteria were overlooked in an attempt to not embarrass competitors. It would be difficult to assemble a group of judges to rival Ueki Sensei, Hataya Sensei, Sakaida Sensei, and Mineu Sensei. It is amazing that they agreed to come here (and return next year).

I am really new to martial arts competition. I have no martial arts background. I have never been interested in any competitive sport. I started Toyama Ryu because of my fascination with the Japanese sword. I have to thank Bob Elder Sensei for bringing this unique experience into my life. Our southern rebel teacher may never understand the depths of loyalty his motley crew of core students have for him. I proudly include this ex-Yankee in that group of “Bob’s redneck samurai”.

I have heard a number of people voice opinions that Tony Alvarez should or should not have placed better. I was only trying to let him know that I thought he looked good.

Gil Gillespie
2nd October 2000, 05:07
This is somewhat of an "oblique post." I train in Aikido and Bob Elder's Toyama Ryu folks are right next to us on their wood floor. Our Orlando dojo is actually a budokan, housing karate and judo on alternate nights. When both of us are training the energy literally crackles! I do MJERI iai so I'm somewhat connected to Bob & his folks. It is an honor & a pleasure to associate with the Orlando Toyama Ryu bunch. Bob Elder embodies that combination of great humor and excellence in budo. Real people doing serious budo with earnest spirit yet a light heart. There's no such thing as too much of that!

3rd October 2000, 05:48
It looks like there is some difficulty regarding the judging at Tai Kai.

Please allow me to take a different look at this issue.

I do not practice Toyama Ryu, therefore, the cutting pattern utilize at Tai Kai was unknow to me.

Why I shoud be upset about the judging?

Now......... :)

Next year, me and my fellow budokas will not be surprice by the cutting pattenrs and their way of judging kata.

Don't waist your time complaining (BI.....) about the past.

We have a year to prepare and next year we will give the Toyama people a "run for their money."

And that is the right way of viewing this.............

Bob, prepare for battle. :)

bob elder
3rd October 2000, 17:16
That's what I want. This was a warmup. I want Kage tora to kick my bee-hind. If you don't....well let's just make a bet. I want all that have not seen this style of tai kai to study the videos, ( or come to my class) and take over next year. I am so happy that folks that did not do well did not take it personally and have a positive forward moving motivation to come back and suceed. That is my idea of a good tai kai. I have only one more comment about the judges. I thought I saw this but wanted to hear it from someone who knew. This is a counter point to some others . When they saw the dificulty people were having cuting, (some) of the judges wanted to give evryone a second chance, I know it happened in wakizashi cuting cause myself and a few otheres went up 3 times. In Japan after the first"bomb" you're out. But if there was any "stacking" or bias, it was AGAINST the Toyama Ryu guys. Not in every case, I didn't see the whole thing. But in the ones I saw. And now I have video, Animo is selling edited versions, I can check it out again. Sometimes what you see on video is not what you remember. At least in my case. THe whole week was such a blur. Anyway, to those of you that will show up next year hunting for bear, ganbatte! Kick Toyama butt! Bob Elder

5th October 2000, 19:51
"Bring em on, I like a fair fight." :laugh:

See you all next year.

Tony Alvarez
12th October 2000, 21:01
First off i would like to say that this is my first post in this forum. Idon't usually follow the various sword forums that exist out there . This is with exception to our forum at Bugei in which i am a moderator. From what i have seen , the content seems very informative.
I was told that there was a rather large disscussion going on about the Orlando Tai Kai and i should look into posting a reply. Unfortunately i have been in China and Japan the last few weeks both working and training. I apologize for the late response.

I would like to commend Mr.Elder and his affilliates on bringing that many swordsman together for an open event.
I, as some of the others that have posted have also been doing martial arts and involved in the tournament arena for close to twenty four years. I completely understand what it takes to pull off an event of this nature.

I will be running an event on the West Coast in April of 2001. I do not look forward to the headaches that will accompany it.

As for the outcome of all of the events that took place during the Tai Kai. I can say that i am very pleased with my performance. As are the people that support me in the different events that i attend throught the year. (Bugei trading co.). Anyone that knows me can attest that if i have a bad day on the floor during a tournament or in the dojo. I am the first person to say i suck ! I don't try an make excusses for the outcome. I do however expect an even and fair playing field. Period!
Mike Femal's atempt to send his 2nd place medal is not acceptable. I appreciate the offer and the compliment of the performance. You should be proud of the placing you received .You earned it and are a representative of what true Budo is all about.
I will let you buy the beer next time i see you though.

The two complaints that i had during the event were as i feel very valid points and needed to be addressed.
One, was during the nidan /Sandan tameshigiri event in which all participants were not able to cut into the second round. This was the case in the Shodan and below as well as some in the Nidan round .

The other complaint is the supposed regulation height for the cutting stands. The stands may be a regulation height for the japanese,but these stands are in some cases extremely short for the american's competeing in these events. Call it bitching, whining or whatever else you like . I can tell you that when you are looking down at the top of the target and your finall cut out of six is below the knees. This is a problem for anyone over 6-2.Me being 6-7,
it's a bit tough to finish rokudan giri correctly.

There are some things that i would like to discuss with
Mr. Elder regarding next years event should i be asked to attend again. I will do so with Mr.Elder in person hopefully
over many a cold beer!Remember Bob, i drink alot!!!!

Should any of you want to discuss this further . I can be reached through Bugei trading co.

Again , congratulations to all of the winners and participants in the event.

Tony Alvarez
Bugei Trading Co.

Kokusai Iai Tate-Do Renmei

bob elder
12th October 2000, 21:31
Hello Big Tony. Glad you're back . What is it you train in? I could not recognoze the style. But I will tell anyone that will listen how graceful you move for someone your size and how your focus is right on. Also, now that the madnes has died down and I have some video to study , I can get a grip on the tai kai. I would say that I can't tell about who cut once or more than once without taking a tally, but someone did say the one of the judges was confused and several times called the wrong name. I know now from the judges meeting at the house that next year the registration will be finished 1 week early so the charts can be done in advance. That way we start on time and also folks from the same dojo don't initially compete with each other. I had hoped when the dust settled that in the winners pictures was 1 of our guys and someone else from the visiting dojos. I did get some photos from some participants and was trying to get them on ( our soon to be up) Toyama Ryu webpage. But I am off to Japan tomorrow ( along with Mike Femal and Bob Lampp) for training and a tai kai on the 22nd. So the web page will not be up before Nov. I hope you come back next year for a better run event. Bob Elder , and yes I have been known to drink one or 2 beers! Also, what event are you hosting? Thanks for the time

15th October 2000, 06:55
The tameshigiri events were supposed to be single elimination and were run as single elimination.

However, there was an error in nidan /Sandan. A participant that was eliminated in round 1 was accidently called up for round 2 and the error was not discovered until after he cut. They corrected it by having the correct pair cut. That is why it appeared that some people were getting 2 chances.

In Yodan and above there were only 4 participants, so if you are awarding 3 places each one will get to cut twice.

I hope this helps some.

By the way I had a great time partying with you and the others after the banquet. Believe it or not, I did end up going to Denny's after the rest of you went to your rooms. I was too jazzed to sleep. :D

15th October 2000, 15:39
"However, there was an error in nidan /Sandan. A participant that was eliminated in round 1 was accidently called up for round 2 and the error was not discovered until after he cut. They corrected it by having the correct pair cut."

Not the only error. I made it through the first round in nidan/sandan tameshigiri, but was eliminated (by Tom Smyth) in the second round. Best I could have gotten from there would have been third. However, in the third and final round, I was called up to cut for 1st/2nd place, and Tom was called up to cut for third place! We approached the judges together and tried to fix this, but they were sure nothing was wrong. Maybe it was just a long day, jet lag, whatever, but now that the dust has settled, you should be able to check this on the video that someone is making.

Don't let isolated incidents like this be your overall impression of the Tai Kai. It was still a great success, with a very good turn out and lots of support. Met some great sword people there that I hope to form lasting friendships with, or at the least, lasting (friendly) rivalries. Stuff happens, we try to fix it and move on, hope to do better next time. I'm sure Bob and company would be receptive to constructive suggestions for the next one (like giving Tom a 'bye' so he doesn't kill me in the first round of kata next time).

I'd be very interested to hear comments and comparisions of the West Coast Regional tai kai that is going on even as we speak (email?).