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Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Kendo - The Way of the Sword

1. Goals of a kendo match (shiai)
A shiai or a kendo match is fought between two competitors in an individual match or between two teams of 3-5 persons. In the European Championships and the World Championships the size of the teams is 5 persons for male and female teams. The juniors compete in teams of three at the European Championships.
The maximum amount of points scored in a kendo match is two. The match is fought until either opponent has scored two points or until time runs out. After that the opponent with more points wins the match. The match time is from 3 (juniors) to 5 (adults) minutes.
The match may also end in a draw in the preliminary phase of the competition or in the team match. In the drop-out phase of the competition there may be no draw between individuals or between teams. Then there will be an overtime (encho) which ends until either opponent has scored one point.
In a team match each team member holds a specific position in the team and has a match with a member of the opposing team holding the same position. In a team match the team with more wins on its side wins the whole match. If both teams have an equal amount of wins, then the team that has alltogether scored more more points, wins.
2. Scoring of points
A point is scored by performing a valid strike on the opponent. Valid strikes are the following:
a. MEN (head). The forehead and the left and right areas above the temple. The forehead is the cushion part of the helmet and not the metal screen. However, the screen may become a valid strike point if player throws their head back.
b. KOTE (hand). The area on the forearm covered by a padded glove. Generally the right forearm, the left forearm can also be a valid point.
c. DO (torso). The left and right sides of the torso.
d. TSUKI (throat). The tsukidare (throat flap on the helmet). A valid strike, or YUKO DATOTSU is defined as an accurate strike or thrust made to the valid parts in kendo equipment with the SHINAI at its DATOTSU BU edge (the part of the shinai ment for hitting) with KIAI (spirit and positive voice), the right posture, and ZANSHIN (mental and physical alertness against the opponents attack; positive follow through of attack and strike).
3. Refereeing
The match is refereed by three referees, who are standing inside the court (shinpan), a presiding referee for a match court (shinpan shunin) and a referee director for the entire tournament (shinpan cho). There are usually several courts in a tournament.
Of the three referees inside the court, the one standing alone on one side is the head referee who calls the start, ending, scored points and penalties in a match. The two other referees assist him and stand on the opposing side to the head referee. In order for a point to be scored, 2 of 3 referees have to agree on its validity. If both assisting referees agree on the point, then the head referee has to announce it a valid point.
The presiding referee for a match court supervises the referees on the court. The referee director is the highest authority in the competition and may give directions to all match courts.
Referees give their judgings using a red and a white flag. These flags correspond to red and white ribbons tied to the contestants backs.
4. Posting of match results on a score board
A score board holds the names of the contestant on opposing sides. Officials mark scored points, IPPON, warnings, HANSOKU and draws, HIKIWAKE on the score board.
(1) HANSOKU, warning. A red triangle tag shall be posted near the applicable name.(2) Upon two HANSOKU being committed, a tag ( I ) for ippon shall replace the HANSOKU tag but shall be posted near the name of the contestant not in violation.(3) Tags for scored points shall be posted in the same manner as the previous example: (M) men, (K) kote, (D) do, (T) tsuki(4) When an overtime match has been fought, the tag (E) ENCHO for overtime will be posted over the center line and in the lower half of the space.(8) When a match ends in a draw, a tag (X) for HIKIWAKE, draw will be posted over the center line

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