September 3rd, 2011

color cycle (slow)

Random personal nostalgia

Sometimes, I just want to share a piece of memory-

As much as I enjoyed my judo classes (back from when I was being homeschooled), I was never very good at them in competition. My little collection of judo trophies comes from the small size of such tournaments, and represents a proud little array of last-place finishes; the exception is the kata tournaments- demonstrations of form with the cooperation of a partner, rather than applying techniques in a fight- those my partner and I won.

While I wasn't very good at competing (actually, I did just fine, but Sensei tended to put us at least two divisions higher than our actual weight class should have had us in- she was a very good teacher, and anything less was basically noncompetitive- at least for most of the rest of the class; I've never been the most athletic), I did wind up very good at running the scoreboard. It gives you a great front-row seat, teaches you to pay attention to what the judges care about for scoring points, and it's more fun to do something than just watch. Someone had to take over for me when it was my turn to compete (or my turn next), but that was really a very small fraction of the matches- divisions were small, but there were a lot of them.

A standard judo tournament scoreboard is not a high-tech piece of equipment. It is a wooden frame on which house numbers and flags made out of dowels and squares of cloth are hung and attached, and the official match timer is a $5 stopwatch. As well as recording the scores and tracking penalties, I had to watch for match end conditions: the pin timer, the match timer, and two half-points. (One point wins, but only half-points actually "add up" to any higher point; the two smaller points are infinitely smaller than the previous level. There's no "one point" mark on the scoreboard- that's just game over.)

There are two common ways to note an end of a match when the judge doesn't notice. Either a beanbag is tossed into the ring, or an air horn is blown. The air horns are loud and annoying and make everybody jump, so they've fallen out of favor. The beanbag has the opposite problem, though; the judge doesn't always notice. We have a couple of spares, though.

The correct thing to do is to throw it gently into the ring in front of the judge, near the competitors. There was one judge who almost never noticed, though.

He actually didn't mind when I got into the habit of aiming for him with the beanbag. He noticed it then!

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