by Elie A. Morrell, Shichidan

The purpose of this paper is to discuss some observations and present some constructive comments and suggestions regarding the current IJF contest rules currently in use. In particular, Articles 20, 23, 24, and 25 of the rules will be discussed.

At the present time, Article 20(a), the first of four requirements for Ippon, reads as follows:
(a) When the contestant with control throws the other contestant largely on his back with considerable force and speed.

This statement requires that four criteria be met to be awarded Ippon. For this to be true, the four criteria must be mutually and exclusively independent of each other. That is, they should be independent variables. In addition, the referee must be capable of visually perceiving the physical action of the four variables.

No problem exists when we examine the requirement of putting the opponent largely on his back with control. These are visibly perceptible and independent of the remaining two requirements. When we attempt to look at the “force” requirement we encounter a problem. We cannot consider force by itself. The reason for this is because force is functionally related to speed. Put another way, if speed is present so is force and vice versa. Force is abstract in that the referee sees the results of force and not force itself. On the other hand, speed, or the lack of it, is visibly perceptible. If four criteria are to be met, some considerations should be made which will ease the burden on the referee. Before making suggestions on this, let us look at the ramifications of Article 20 on Articles 23, 24, and 25.

Article 23(a), the first of two requirements for Waza Ari, states that for a throwing technique Waza Ari shall be given in the following case:
(a) “When a contestant with control throws the other contestant but the technique is partially lacking in one of the four elements necessary for Ippon. (See Article 20(a) and Appendix)”. (This is the exact wording of the written rule, but the author contends this should read “Three” since “Control” is always a requirement for any score!)

Close examination of this article 23(a) reveals a glaring error when one attempts to correlate the article as written to what typically is assessed as Waza Ari in a tournament.

Assume that a player is thrown with control and considerable force and speed and the requirement for impacting largely on his back is partially lacking. Would your call be Waza Ari? Based on the writer’s observations, the most likely call would be Yuko. However, the requirements for a Waza Ari score have been met.

Assume that a player is thrown with control largely on his back and is partially lacking in speed and therefore must be partially lacking in force for reasons stated earlier. Would you call Waza Ari? Again, based on many observations of this condition, the most likely call would be Waza Ari! However, the requirements for a Waza Ari score have not been met. The correct score is a Yuko!

Article 24(a), the first of two requirements for Yuko, states that the referee shall announce Yuko when, in his opinion, the applied technique corresponds to the following criteria:
(a) When a contestant with control throws the other contestant, but the technique is partially lacking in two of the other three elements necessary for Ippon. Examples:
(1) partially lacking in the element of “largely on the back” and is also partially lacking in one of the other two elements of “speed” or “force”.
(2) largely on the back but partially lacking in both the other two elements of “speed” and “force”.

Only example 2 can meet the requirement for the score of Yuko. When the “largely on the back” is met both speed and force can be partially lacking. The author strongly feels that most referees would award Waza Ari in this case. Item (1) could not and should not result in a score of Yuko because partially lacking in either speed or force independently is physically impossible.
Once again we are confronted with the paradox of trying to match the literal interpretation with the practical application of the rule.

Article 25(a), the first of the two requirements for Koka states that the referee shall announce Koka when, in his opinion, the applied technique corresponds to the following criteria:
(a) “When a contestant with control throws the other contestant onto one shoulder, or the thigh(s), or buttocks with speed and force.”

It is interesting to note that three of the four requirements for a score of Ippon are required to obtain a Koka. The score of Koka imposes more stringent requirements than one would expect. True, the impact environment differs markedly for a Koka score. Also, unlike the ‘Waza Ari’ and ‘Yuko’ score requirements, a ‘Koka’ call does not have to consider the ‘partially lacking’ aspect associated with the assessment of the Waza Ari and Yuko scores. In that regard, the requirements for a Koka score are clear cut.

To give more credibility to the Waza Ari and Yuko scores, a relaxation of the requirements for a Koka score should be considered while still maintaining the integrity of the requirements for this score.

To this end, a deletion of the speed or force requirements could be considered. When a Koka call is made by a referee, it is most likely that force and speed will exist.

Based upon the apparent inconsistencies in Articles 23(a), 24(a), and 25(a), some suggested improvements appear to be in order.

No exception can be taken regarding the fact that speed and force are functionally related since this is a scientific fact. In addition, any requirement stipulated by the rules for assessment of any of the scores must be such that the requirements be visibly perceptible to the referee and independent of any other requirements. This would suggest a modification of the force and/or speed requirements.

A proposed solution would be to delete the force requirement for Ippon, Waza Ari and Yuko and retain the speed requirement since force would exist anyway.

A suggested revision to the requirements for assessment of the four possible scores from a throwing technique is shown in the included table. Whether any consideration is given to the suggested score changes is unimportant. However, it behooves those who are responsible for score requirements to seriously consider making appropriate changes.

In summary, these changes must satisfy the following criteria:
• (1) Individual requirements for any score must be mutually exclusive of each other and visibly perceptible to the referee.
• (2) Individual requirements for any score must adhere to physical laws.
• (3) As scores become lesser, requirements should correspondingly decrease.

POSSIBLE SCORE REVISION TABLE

ASSESSED SCORE: (Defender must be thrown as indicated)

IPPON

1. With control
2. Largely on his back
3. With considerable speed

WAZA ARI

1. With control
2. Largely on his back
3. Partially lacking in speed

YUKO

1. With control
2. Partially lacking in the element of “largely on the back”
3. Partially lacking in speed

KOKA

1. With control
2. On one shoulder, or the thigh(s) or buttocks


daisho.gif