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  • #31
    Sportsmanship is a very valuable part of the kendo culture, I agree, although even kenshi can be horses arses as we all know. Sportsmanship in general is in a bad state here in the U.S. as much as in other parts of the world, in some ways worse. If I can get putfile to work this morning, I'll post an interesting vid I have on my hard-drive: ESPN's 10 Best Baseball Fights. Hoo boy.

    So, Teddy (if I can call you that), quick question: in the non-electric fencing scenario, do all five refs have a say in what happened? Or do the other four simply give their opinion and the head ref is final arbiter?


    • #32
      Here's how it works

      Originally posted by Charlie
      So, Teddy (if I can call you that), quick question: in the non-electric fencing scenario, do all five refs have a say in what happened? Or do the other four simply give their opinion and the head ref is final arbiter?
      Theodore is fine . When one of the judges sees what he feels is a valid hit he raises his hand. The referee then stops the action and reconstructs the phrase (for weapons with the right-of-way convention he essestially decides which fencer has priority [it's more complicated than that in fact]) and then polls the judges. Each judge can vote, yes, no, or abstain and his vote is worth 1.0. The referee votes to break ties (i.e., one yes, one no or one yes, one abstain) and his vote counts as 1.5. I takes 2 yes to award a touch. A well referred bout is a joy to behold. A poorly referred one is chaos. As others have posted you have to have control of the bout but not intrude into the fencing.


      • #33
        Theodore it is. Bully!


        • #34
          Originally posted by Neil Gendzwill
          Yeah, but pro sports is a different kettle of fish - they're marketing a product and like it or lump it, the public seems to like to see bad behaviour. Fights in hockey, stupid end-zone dances in gridiron football, screaming arguments with the ump in baseball... turf it all, I say, but the money speaks otherwise.

          We had some local fencers show up at our last tournament/seminar and they were astounded at how well-behaved and organized the players were. OTOH a few years ago Canadian national fencing championships were here and I was quite appalled to see what a mess it was - equipment strewn haphazardly everywhere, temper tantrums and flung helmets, pistes scattered seemingly randomly around the room so that there was very little good vantage point for spectators...

          And you know what? Enforced good behaviour breeds natural good behaviour, in my books. Nobody in kendo is allowed to get too stressed over a bad call or a lost match, and so nobody really does get too stressed. Or if they do, they keep it internal because you just look like a knob otherwise.
          I love that you said "knob". It's so Aussie.

          OT but... I agree, pro-sport owes more to the antics of the Roman Colliseum than the Olympic ideal, i.e., the crowd just wants to see blood.



          • #35
            The thing that bothers me about #2 (and #1 to a more limited extent) is that I am not sure if yuko-datotsu is as objectively determinable as a ball or a strike.

            The implication in the discussion for #2 is that there is something objectively real about the status of the pitch. It truly is a ball or a strike, independent of any observer, and the umpire makes a call based on what it looked like to them. This necessarily means, however, that there is nothing interpretive in making the call -- a set of high-speed cameras and a random person with a rulebook should be able to make infalliable judgements. And, I think that calling a ball vs a strike is indeed like that.

            However, I don't think that kendo is really like that. Some aspects are, of course, such as if the strike is made with datotsu-bu, and that sort of thing. But, is there really some objective measure for zanshin and kiai that is independent of any human judgement? My feeling is that the kendo we learn today is, in part, defined by shinpan. That makes the role of the shinpan more like #3, since they decide not only if a kiai is good in the match, but, in doing so, also what kinds of kiai are good in general.

            I suppose it is worth distinguishing the individual from the collection. That is, of course no individual shinpan makes the kind of impact I am talking about. I mean the action of shinpan as a whole. However, I have heard several times that the shinpan are supposed to act as a single entity. So, instead of saying "it is nothing until I call it," I think it is more "it is nothing until it is called by us." That eliminates the problem of personal perspective brought up before.


            • #36
              Nice post Arthur. There is undoubtedly a didactic aspect to shinpan duties. As a shinpan you know if you award all the gyaku-do that you see then there will be a spate of gyaku do amongst kyu-grade kendoka over the next 6 months.

              And there is a collective ideal about shinpan as you say, however I think that is connected to the homogeneity of Japanese society which is a cultural factor that's fast disappearing. IOW shinpan all were able to award points the same because of how deep the consensus of Japanese society ran. It is the next challenge of the IKF to maintain one single definition and appearance of "yuko-datotsu" in the face of the globalisation of kendo.

              Interestingly and in support I suppose of viewpoint #3, my sensei told me that in pre-war kendo there were no rules, no rule book, no time limits: just one sensei who ruled on whether a cut would have been effective if delivered with a sword. A definite example of "if I say it is a cut, it's a cut" being the basis for decision.

              Actually I'm not supporting one of these three mindsets over another. I'm just having fun with the discussion (and yes Charlie, KWf has gone to the dogs lately).