Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rule changes in action at the Junior Worlds

Last Janurary, the IJF made some rather large changes to the rules of Judo. As of last New Year's day, they abolished the score of Koka and it's corresponding first Shido became a warning - which only has value in a referees decision if the score is tied. They also banned grabbing the pant leg directly from 'Hajime' - you could grab the legs, but only after attempting to take a standard grip.

The IJF - seemingly no fan of throws where the leg is grabbed - also decided to experiment with banning leg grabbing altogether - using the Junior World Championships as a testing grounds. The new rule would give you a warning for the first infraction and disqualification for the second one. When this rule change first came out, I ranted a bit about it, especially because of the ambiguity of the language. For example, while it was very clear that you couldn't initiate an attack with a leg grab, it wasn't clear if you were able to use a leg grab as part of a counter - For example, using Te Guruma to Counter a hip throw. They are also experimenting with having one referee and video assistance for close calls.

 Well, the Junior Worlds were last week, and I got an e-mail from USA Judo telling me that I could watch them live via streaming. Unfortunately, the match I wanted to watch (Katelyn Bouyssou of the USA) was not streamed, but I got to watch several others and interestingly saw a lot of the new rules in action. Here are some of the matches that I watched, and my observations:

Campese (ITA) vs. Huang (TPE) -55kg Bronze Medal Match

 - This match went the full 4 minutes, plus 2 minutes of Golden Score. The only points in this one was a 'Warning' shido recorded in the original match against Campese. Huang one, but had to go the full distance to make the Koka stand up. I know that these rules have been in place since Janurary, but this is a weird one, I wonder how many times this has happened so far this year. On the one hand, I like this rule, so that the penalties do count, it also gives both Uke and Tori a second chance. The only bad side. If I am up Wa-zari to Yuko, with 15 seconds to play, what's to stop me from taking the warning shido as a means to win the match. If I had my druthers, this 'warning' shido wouldn't apply in the last 30 seconds of the match. Here is the video:

Shishime (JPN) vs. MUSHKIYEV(AZE) -55kg Gold Medal Match:
 - Mushkiyev, about a minute in, tries to dump Shishime with a Te Guruma, he instantly gets his warning shido. At 2:55 in the match (about 1:54 in the video link below), Shishime tries to take a grip and go in for a hip throw. Mushkiyev brushes his hand aside and then attempts to counter him again with Te Guruma. The Referee calls matte, and then ends the match right there - calling the match for Shinshime because of Mushkiyev's forfeiture. 

Incidentally, about 1:20 into the video, Shishime tries an unsuccessful O-Uchi-Gari, and then attempts to follow up by grabbing Mushkiyev's leg, but didn't get penalized. This last bit speaks to the 1-ref situation - he might not have seen it. I really don't like this new rule - I am willing to agree that leg grabs from Hajime should be banned, this is a just a wacky rule. Even if counters are allowed - how can we differentiate? Espeically when there is only one ref on the mat! Here is the video:

Abdulzhalilov (RUS) vs. Urani (FRA)
- I couldn't find an offline video for this one. But the decider here is a Yuko that should have been a Koka. I guess when you remove Kokas, it takes a while to redefine which get bumped up to Yuko and which don't 

1 comment:

Pat J said...

Both the "no leg grab" and the one-referee modifications strike me as folly. What about morote-gari? Kibisu-gaeshi?

And speaking as a referee, my God, I want some backup out there. I make mistakes and my judges catch them. When I'm in the chair, it's my duty to catch the ref's errors.

Hopefully these rules disappear.