Well today I took a step back in time. I went to and competed in a tournament. It was the Bailey’s Copper City Championships in Rome NY. This tournament has been running for a long time. I competed in it coming up through the ranks. I remember going there and seeing some of the “senior” Black Belts from other schools with belts that looked old worn and tattered. Now I am one of those Black Belts. In fact my belt is older than some of the adult men Black Belts I was judging.
The tournament was run very well. Tournaments have come a long way. It used to be the event would start around 10:00 in the morning and would not be over until maybe 9 or 8 in the evening. Now everything is very organized and they keep all the rings occupied and moving. They also created a new scoring method for Kata. They divided the divisions into groups of four and/or 3 competitors within the division. We would watch each small group and then each judge would hold up a card signifying the order we thought that competitor should be placed within the group. Then each competitor is given a medal, gold for first, silver for second, and third, and fourth place are given a bronze medal. The competitor that receives the gold moves on to compete against the others within the divisions that won gold in their groups. The winner of the group of gold medal winners is awarded with a large trophy cup. This new method solves many problems inherent to scoring each competitor one at a time. Judges are not sitting for a long periods of time giving each a competitor a score. I always found that method tedious, flawed and time consuming. The biggest concern about individual scores concerns the number of competitors the judges might see. A judge may, in the beginning, give one competitor a fairly high score and then see a competitor they think is better than that person. The only way around this is to keep giving higher and higher scores. They would usually judge the first four competitors and not give them the scores until after the fourth person had performed their Kata. The idea is: to give the judges a baseline to work from. Many times, however, the first four would just happen to be either the best or worst of the bunch. Again in this case, many times, judges would end up painting themselves into a corner. The new method eliminates that aspect of individual scores. It also provides a reward for each competitor and further rewards the winners by giving them a chance to perform again and win the trophy. This system is a very positive way to run a tournament and gives each competitor (especially the children) a since of accomplishment. Sparring is done in similar manor with the gold medal winners competing for a cup.
I did well winning a silver medal. Many people thought I had the best Kata in my group. Too bad the judges didn’t see it that way. Mr. D. ended up taking the division. He won the gold in his group and definitely had the best Kata in our division. He decided not to compete for grand champion. I think he should have, he would have won. I was still very happy with my performance. Mr. D said he was very impressed with my Kata and I know he meant that. Hearing that meant more than any trophy I have in my collection.
I will go over some tournament stories good and bad soon. I have some really sad stories, funny stories, and many some may find interesting.