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How often do you Shinpan

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  • How often do you Shinpan

    I am interested how often the majority of our members have experience being a shinpan. I am lucky enough to get to shinpan about 3 to 4 times a year (the number of small tourneys in my area). When I pass yon-dan that number goes up to 7 or more per year. Based on some of the previous polls it would appear that we have a young group here. It also appears that the impression that shinpan are too subjective. In my experience being a shinpan is very hard and requires a tremendous amount of concentration. I am interested in others experience.
    none I'm too young
    1 or 2 times
    3-5 times
    over 5 times

  • #2
    Just to be clear

    I dont think we have a young group per se, more an inexperienced one (based on the polls). I'm 34 and in my first year of Kendo - most of the beginners at Hizen are at least in their mid twenties (I'm guessing). Given that many people come to Kendo from another art, the logical conclusion is that (outside Japan etc) people tend to start older. Unless you were meaning "young" in the sense of inexperience, in which case apologies for the waffle.....




    • #3
      Sorry, I ment inexperienced group. I am not implying that everyone young in age. I mean kendo age... if there is such a thing. for example I am 32, but in Kendo years I'm eight.


      • #4
        So you got Yondan in eight years? That's a very good mark.


        • #5
          I think sandan in eight years...


          • #6


            Although there might be a large number of people who are young in their Kendo life....... This should not really stop you from being a shinpan (all be it in a controlled area).

            I have been practicing for almost three years now (Nidan in October so fingers crossed). I have been lucky enough to act as shinpan a number times.

            The BKA has decided that Shiai and refing will be a major part of all seminar's in Britian.

            I found this to be a realy good Idea. The way they run it is that you have six ref's. Three are the inexperienced kendoka and the other three are experienced Kendoka, who follow the other three around telling them what to do and say.

            This has seemed to work really well. I'm not sure what others from Britain think ? but personally this has been really good. Not only from the point of view of, getting to try it instead of just slagging the ref's off saying they missed my points, but you get to have a bit of a shiai fence.


            • #7
              Sorry Alex, I am san-dan but I should have yondan in ten years.

              Gareth I am interested in how you fit six shinpan in the court? Was this is a real shiai?


              • #8
                It can work, i've seen something similar done at tournaments here. A;though there was just ONE master shimpan. s/he sat at a desk, beside the corner of the shiai area (there were 4), and watched the shimpan. At the end of the match, the head shimpan would talk to the three who had officiated the match, like a master class on being a shimpan.

                i only saw a very few instances where the teaching shimpan stepped in and stopped the match over a call with which s/he disagreed. However, it was a student tournament, so i saw a great deal of whinging. teachers would approach the teaching shimpan every so often and whine about a call, or about the lack of one. there was very little respect for the shimpan who were perceived as 'fake shimpan' by some of the teachers. it bothered me a little.

                then again, at this tournament, many of the 'teachers' were school teachers, some of whom were not kendouka. thus i suspect that some of them lacked a bit of kendou ettiquette.



                • #9
                  One sempai told me once that in Japan some shinpan don't have to see the strikes, but just to hear the sound to judge if it was or not a valid point.
                  Is that true, or is that common in Japan and in other countries?



                  • #10
                    I don't know about not seeing the strike, but there is a distinct sound when a strike is executed correctly on the men and kote. They obviously use this as a reference in judging whether or not the technique hit the target. But that's only one aspect of a valid cut. Ki-ken-tai no iichi (Energy-sword/technique-body in unison) is required for yuko-datotsu.


                    • #11
                      I personally have only been shinpan once and the match was observed by highly ranked kendoka. The whole point of the exercise was give beginner kendoists an insight into the tough job of of being a shinpan.
                      It really was an eye opener for me because prior to that exercise I was in a match where a kote was awarded to my opponent when it clearly hit my tsuba. I was just about to protest with a mouthful of abuse when I decided just to shut up and get on with the match (which I lost by the way ).
                      Then after doing the shinpan exercise it made it clear to me that there should be a huge amount of respect paid to shinpan. Keeping up with the speed of some kendoka let alone scoring the points at the same time- what a job! I think the shinpan have a special quality were they can somehow keep up with the match but at the same time be detached from all the hype so that they can try to award points when it happens in a split second. So all you shinpan out there I salute you!


                      • #12
                        I agree

                        I had drawn a little diagram but, it was far too much hassle to put it on the web so I'll just try and describe it for you.

                        The three trainee Ref's stand in the normal place. Then three experienced Ref's stand behind them and help them move about the square, in an ordally fashion and also help them with the flag's and commands. But the decission's are left up to the three guys who are refing.

                        I get the impression that I didn't explain it properly last time. But this is a very informal freindly training shiai. There is nothing riding on it, and it is all very friendly. It usually ends up with people laughing and joking afterwards about the pionts that where missed and also the pionts that they got when they shouldn't.

                        After trying Refing a few times myself it makes me realise how difficult it is, I think it was something my sensai said about the Ref's have to be high grade so that they can anticipate when the Kendoka is going to cut so that they almost know before the Kendoka's do when something is going to happen.

                        I have actually seen this when you watch the ref's and you can sometimes see them participating in the match they feel the pressure build and are alomost willing the kendoka to cut(I don't know if I have explained that very well. But I know what I me )


                        • #13
                          I'm now expected to shimpan at every shiai I attend, even if I am competing. I wish this wasn't the case but until there are more people to chose from...

                          Shimpan is a very hard job, like working in the payroll office of a large company. People only notice what you do when you make a mistake. No-one comes up and says "well done. That match was beautifully judged." They usually go and congratulate the competitors, even though the quality of a match rests as much with the shimpan as the kendoka.

                          Often after judging I feel like I missed certain decisions, but you can't have the time back. Fortunately most people are sportsmanlike when it comes down to it. The thing I remind myself of is that when one is a shimpan, there are only correct decisions.

                          IOW, even when a shimpan is wrong, s/he's right.



                          • #14
                            Gareth - did you see the BKA newsletter? Looks like this is becoming a bigger issue....

                            (For the rest of the world - the British Kendo Association is trying to incorporate refereeing for all higher grades (3rd and above) as part of the requirements for grading. This down to the chronic shortage of active referees in Britain...)




                            • #15
                              I have only been shinpan once or twice and only within my own dojo (hope that still counts). Despite the fact that I've only been practicing kendo for a year (about three practices a week) I think it is important to get this kind of experience. In fact, our sensei has been encouraging dojo members to try refereeing internal matches and to not hesitate to stop the match when something is less than clear to those of us with little experience. It's really a learning experience for all those involved.
                              Two important points seem to be:
                              1) Watch the fight as if you "are" the opposing fighters and try to sense the flow of a match (helps in atticipating what will happen and not get caught "sleeping").
                              2) If you make a call be ready to justify your decision because it will be questionned (not right away but later on).