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National team requirements

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  • National team requirements

    I was just wondering what the national team requirements were in other countries.

    In Canada (which has a fairly good national team) having a 2nd Dan means you can participate in the Team Canada regional try-outs (Western, Central and Eastern) which take place before the national tournament. If you're selected in these try-outs you get to participate in the finals which consist of a couple of judging methods to select the final 10 member team...I think it's 10 (round-robin of selectees + tournament results at the nationals + selection commitee choice). Western Canada and Central Canada get to send 5 members to the Team Canada trials while Eastern Canada (Qubec and the Maritimes) send only 2.

    2nd Dan may seem like a low requirement (yes, I'm talking to you Confound) but Canada ain't Japan after-all: limiting selction to something like 4th Dan and up would not be pretty and would be limiting (especially in this part of the country where good, high-ranking kenshi are rare: those holding that kind of ranking are usually a bit, how should I say this, old (pardon sensei)). Do remember that we start kendo at a more advanced age because, well, ummmm, we're not Japanese.

    By the way, the nationals themselves are basically "come one, come all" (which explains how a 1st Dan buddy of mine wound up fighting Suguru Asaoka (5th Dan, eventual winner, Team Canada member and very scary dude) in the second round at the nationals).

    How does this compare with other countries? Do you think the selection process impacts the quality of the national team? I'm particularly curious about requirements for France and the US (don't ask me why I want to know this).

    Happy kendo!

  • #2
    In Japan, for the All Japan Kendo Championship (individuals), you've to fight your own prefecture at the preliminary contest before you can go to the Budokan in Tokyo for the big one. The only restriction is you've to be male, aged 20+.

    However, "Grades are irrelevant in the competition court", as seen in the Jan 2000 issue of Kendo Nihon magazine.


    • #3
      I keep trying!!!!!

      Still at least they do ask me to fight.

      There was a Godan limit before.

      These damn Kidotai guys have all the fun



      • #4


        • #5
          Interesting thread!
          In Sweden, which is a small kendo community in comparision to Canada, the selection is made by the coaches from a number of criteria stated on the homepage of the national team:

          I like this approach for a number of reasons:

          In a small kendo community the mere possibility to participate in international contests is often the best training availible. Therefore, having been selected once your chances of continuing to be among the top five or ten rises considerably. This might have a severe conservating effect on the community as a whole if only the best are chosen in national competitions of some sort. Worst case: same ten guys are selected year after year and in ten years time we do not have anyone with international experience who can participate under the age of 35.

          Also I like the approach since I believe that a team can be both better or worse than the parts. A team who has the right composition and direction can do marvels even if the members of the team are not outstanding and vice versa, a team of incredible individuals can fail miserably.

          As a former math student it also makes sence to make the coaches responsible for the result of the team in competions, the growth of the team over time (making the number of potential team members bigger and bigger) etc. and not put additional restrictions as to how these objectives are best met (e.g. quotas for different regions in the country or for different clubs). In my book, the mandate for a coach should be more or less binary, either he/she have the mandate or he/she hasn't the mandate to pick the team and train/lead it.

          The problem with giving total discretion to the coaches is obvious though: if they are free to chose as they see fit there is a distinct possbility that kendokas not chosen will complain, refering to some factual difference or other between the picked ones and themself. This will also most probably grow over time if the coaches are doing their job, since the group of potential team members then also will grow.

          So the question is: is it ineviteble that large kendo communities must have formalised national-team try outs? It would be interesting to know how it works in big kendo-comunities like USA, France, Japan in comparision to smaller countries (kendo-wise) .


          • #6
            In our country, which is in terms of kendo very-small, we have something like ladder - made of tournaments (currently 5) which are held throughout each year. Competitors gain points by winning or good placing in these tournaments. So this ladder is some tool to select the best competitors. The ladder is not the only criteria, the final decision is made by the nat. team coach. There are no grade restrictions.
            Last edited by Mr.Tvola; 3rd May 2004, 10:22 PM.


            • #7
              Alex didn't give the whole picture. There are 3 ways to land on the national team in Canada: national championships, round-robin selections and coach's choice. As Alex said, there are regional round-robin selections held in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The top 12 (2 from Montreal, 5 each from Van/TO) feed into the final round-robin selection. That final selection is held the day after the national championships. The best 4 from the round-robin make the team. Note that this is for men only, the women don't have a round-robin - I'm guessing we just don't have enough prospects to justify the cost of the process.

              Anyone can enter the national championships. Top 2 in both men's and women's divisions make the team (assuming they are at least 2 dan for men, 1 dan for women). The remaining members are picked by the coaches (3 for the men, 5 for the women). The coach's choices allow them to direct the team for the future, and also to fill any holes that they feel are missing, as the coaches look for different styles of players to make up the team mix.

              There are also numerous team practices held leading up to nationals that any prospect can attend, which are a good chance to show the coaches what you're made of. And of course some good showings at big tournaments wouldn't hurt your chances either.


              • #8
                We have somtething similar, a ranking system in which you are awarded points if you make it to the final eight in a national competion (you also get points for EKC and WKC). Eventhought the top positions in that system usually are on the national team, it is not said the ranking alone will get you in or out. As in your country, the coach has the final decision.

                That sounds like a good compromise between the two different approaches. Do you know if it has always been that way or if Canada earlier had a system more resembling to the current swedish system? Is my hypothesis about correlation between more formalistic requirements for national team members and the size of the kendo comunity accurate in your opinion?


                • #9
                  This is the way it's been the last two teams, although IIRC for the 2000 WKC we sent 10 men, and then it was 2 from nationals, 6 from round-robin and 2 coach's choices. Before that, I think it was top 4 from nationals and 6 coach's choices. However, the national championships like any tournament has too much variability in it to be a reliable way to pick team members.

                  At any rate I don't think you can ever eliminate the coach's choice positions, there are a lot of good reasons to let the coaches intelligently fill out the teams. At the same time, having the round-robin elimination gives people a clear, objective path to the team where nobody can claim any favouritism - work hard, kick ass, make the team


                  • #10
                    I think in England I think it depends on how much money you have . Here is the link.


                    The site says

                    'We particularly want to encourage more women to come and join the squad.
                    The only requirements are that you are keen to compete and willing to attend squad training sessions.'


                    • #11
                      In New Zealand we have squad trainings about a year out from the World Champs (about 4 a year) of which you must turn up to at least 3 (I think).

                      On top of that we have about 2 tournaments a year and of course placing in the top 5 can't hurt your chances!! You also have to be 2nd Dan and up.

                      Then approx 6 months b4 the World Champs start we have a squad selection.
                      @ the squad selection the sensei's and the National coach then take into consideration attendance at squad trainings and the standings of the squad members tournament results. Also the general attitude of the squad member with regards to team work, coachability etc. Then the squad selection is made and hey presto! You have the NZ team.

                      I think the above is accurate


                      • #12
                        I can't believe that this thread I started over a year ago has been resurrected. I thought this thing was dead. People are finally answering to boot. Woohoo!

                        About N-Zealand,

                        I think the question on everyone's minds is: Does Dr.A actually make it to the squad tryouts or does he let his prestige (and I use the term loosely) carry to him to a berth on the team? Maybe he's in charge of the selection for all we know. He can't be "Dr.A in Kyoto" and show up for the tryouts too? Can he?

                        Should those who live in Japan, publish a magazine dedicated to kendo, write about budo and have attended Budai get preferential treatment in the selection process? NEVER! Never I say!

                        Also... are sheep eligible for the team? :P


                        • #13
                          So, to sum up, in Sweden and Czech Republic the coach has complete discretion to chose the squad. In NZ there is a deciding group of coach and senseis. Who are defined as sensei: leader/trainer of a club or simply a person holding a sufficient rank (and what rank in that case)? Canada has a combination of systems with competitions, try-outs and coachs choice. (It would be interesting to se statistics on performance of team members in reference to the way they got their place in the team, and also over time if there is a natural progression from being picked by the coach to getting a place on championship merits).

                          Other countries? Anyone knows how team Japan is picked?

                          Alex: The subject of would be members of a national squad, training in another country, is interesting. It seems unfair if someone get a position without jumping through the same hoops as everyone else, but it is equally unfair if they are out of the race altogether when they still are training and improving, just the same as everyone else. Also I think it is problematic to focus to much on fair and not fair, in some respect the coach and the team must have the development of the nations top level kendo as the main objective. You joke, but it would be interesting to hear how different national squads (or their leaders) think about people living and training overseas.


                          • #14
                            In Malaysia you basically need an international passport and show you have a reasonable amount of skill. Well, you get selected from the regional tournaments like ASEAN and the Goodwill Taikai.

                            At the moment there aren't enough kendoka to have the same selection levels as ie. Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Canada...etc

                            Hey, AlexM talked to Confound recently? She's dropped off the face of the earth.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Isak
                              So, to sum up, in Sweden and Czech Republic the coach has complete discretion to chose the squad.
                              I would rather say, that the coach makes final decision based on the ladder placing, performance in the national team training sessions (which take place usually once per week about 2 months before EKC or WKC) and in other events, like competitions abroad.

                              I like the canadian system, but for small countries a small kendo communities it is way too "big" :-) as the coach is more in direct contact with all possible candidates and can see the whole picture by himself. But for larger countries such system necessary in order to make fair and effective choice.