Who Scored?

Happy New Year!  Let’s start off 2012 with a bang!  Here’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.  I know my ideas probably won’t get very far officially, but it’s important that we at least discuss them to see if they make sense for general skill development and self-defense.

If you’re like me, you’ve probably been asked many times in class or at tournaments who scored after a throw when at first glance it isn’t obvious who did what to whom.  These “gee, what just happened?” moments almost always involve a counter- I really want to say “always” involve a counter, but I may be overlooking other situations.  And they produce controversial referee decisions, none more so than the one during the Douillet-Shinohara final at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The IJF rules as written are not very helpful: too little information to really understand what a counter is.  The commentaries to the rules are more useful, but they differ from referee to referee.  The upshot of the lack of clarity within the rules is that many counter techniques have been abandoned by players who fear being on the wrong end of the decision.  My own daughter Valerie abandoned her pretty awesome Ura nage counter after seeing a few wrong decisions at the international level.

Look at the controversial Douillet-Shinohara throw/counter at normal speed, and you have to admit that the referee has an almost unmanageable task.  It’s a blur with lots of action going on.  Even at slow speed, you can interpret the action to reflect your own preferences and assumptions.  Here’s a good analysis of what transpired during this fight.  The Japanese author makes a good case for Shinohara.  In his opinion, Shinohara executed a counter to Douillet’s Uchi mata, which is called Uchi mata sukashi.  That counter put Douillet clearly on his back.  Unfortunately, Shinohara also fell on his side where Douillet was throwing him.

The author suggests that Douillet’s summersault onto his back was due to Shinohara’s actions, and not Douillet’s.  I buy that.  On the other hand, he gives little credit to Douillet for putting Shinohara on his side.  I don’t believe for one moment that Shinohara on his own volition decided to land on his side.  That is not how Uchi mata sukashi is done.  Douillet put him there.  And while Douillet was knocking Shinohara down, Shinohara managed an incredible feat to turn Douillet.  Thus, I believe that Douillet threw Shinohara, but that Shinohara also threw Douillet.

It’s interesting to note that the IJF Referee Commission ultimately ruled weeks later that neither contestant should have scored as both had lost control.  Folks,  I’m at a total loss to understand how control was lost.  I guess I don’t define control the same way the IJF does.  In my opinion, both players had enough control over each other to create a throw and a counter to the throw.  The real question is what do we do with this type of a situation where it appears that both players scored?

This type of throw-counter controversy will continue if the IJF doesn’t change the rules.  It needs to better define the parameters of counters.  In addition, there are two options that should be considered.  The first one is that if it takes a whole conference of officials (referee team plus referee jury) to make a decision, then perhaps the best thing is to not award a score to any of the players.  Even with the use of video replay, the right decision is not necessarily attained.  Maybe the IJF can take a look at the Instant Replay Rule in the U.S. National Football League, where the evidence must be indisputable.  The NFL has many cameras shooting from different angles and locations- many more than what the IJF uses for international events.  Even with all the cameras employed by the NFL, the video doesn’t always get the best view of the action to give a sound and fair decision.

The second option is to consider awarding two scores, which is not something that has been discussed much, if ever, as far as I know.  Judo loves the idea of only one player getting a score, even if it turns out to be the wrong player.  I believe a two-score decision is more fair than awarding a score to the wrong person.  In the Douillet-Shinohara case, Douillet gets a yuko and Shinohara gets an ippon.  And this is precisely how the referee team on the mat split the scores.

The other benefit of the two-score option is that, as we try to live up to the self-defense aspect of Judo, it compels players to pay more attention to the landing after a throw.  Case in point: you threw me with O uchi gari for a score, maybe even an ippon.  I countered you, slammed you on your back as I was landing, and then had the audacity to pin you.  Because of the terminal ippon in Judo, the reality of a fight vanishes.  Why don’t I get a score for the counter?  You should have been able to throw me and remain in a stable, dominating position so I couldn’t turn you to your back.

Now, you tell me.  Who is the better fighter?  The one who pulled the trigger first or the one who wound up at the end in the better position?  The reasonable man might suggest that latter.

7 thoughts on “Who Scored?

  1. “On the other hand, he gives little credit to Douillet for putting Shinohara on his side. I don’t believe for one moment that Shinohara on his own volition decided to land on his side.”

    I saw the video, but the author explains the reason for Shinohara’s fall on the right side of Photo 8. After an explanation he concludes “That is, shinitai Douillet did NOT throw Shinohara, but he merely PULLED Shinohara’s obi and FELL with him by the RESULTANT force of INERTIA from Shinohara’s uchimata-sukashi.”

    I like your idea of awarding two scores, but even if this rule is applied to this case, it should have been ippon for Shinohara and no score to Douillet, as Shinohara’s fall was not due to Douillet’s throw but it was a mere result of shinitai pulling.

    I totally agree with you that IJF should clarify the counter rules. In my opinion, it should clearly state that no point is awarded to shinitai’s any action.

  2. The author of the video clip can say what he wants. Remember that he’s Japanese. The story of control is rather silly. If I foot sweep you and put you on your back while not having any grip on you, do I score? Of course, I do. Since Shinohara is heading to the mat just as Douillet wanted him to go, I don’t understand how Douillet has nothing to do with the throw. Now, if Shinohara had landed differently, then I would be singing a different song. Note that the IJF referee commission backs my opinion on Shinohara’s landing, while concluding that there was lack of control by both players. Both players stumbled for no apparent reason. Get that? LMAO

    Finally, why is it important to consider Douillet’s belt pull if you can score without a grip as in the foot sweep example? Bottom line is these controversial rules are determined by a lack of clarity in our rules. And I still say we should give two scores.

  3. “If I foot sweep you and put you on your back while not having any grip on you, do I score? Of course, I do.”

    Of course, you do.

    But what if I hold your belt while I am in the air and pull you down with me by the resulting force of the inertia from your foot step? Do I get yuko in your double score system? Of course, not.

    This is exactly what happened. As in Photo 5, Doullet was in the air, or shinitai, and pulling Shinohara’s belt while Shinohara’s right foot is holding on. Looking at Douillet’s foot in Photo 4 and his shinitai position in Photo 5, he could not possibly have exerted this force by himself.

    So, yes, as you say, Douillet has something to do with the Shinohara’s fall, but that does not deserve any point in the Judo.

  4. Since you ignored my question to your rude racist answer, I posted my comment in the YouTube page “Shinohara vs Douillet Analysed!!!”

    I read your other comments like headrolls etc. Frankly speaking, they are jokes. The fact that you believe what you think in your little brain can exceed hundreds and thousand years old knowledge itself demonstrate how little you understand the Judo.

    This is well demonstrated in the way your daughter fight. (I tried to look for video of your fight but could not find any.) There are reasons why she cannot produce ippons, and I can see why you fail to see that given your comments.

    It is because you fail to understand the basics of the Judo.

  5. My reasoning for the double score is premised on the fact that tori should maintain a strong landing and not be thrown to his side or back after effecting his throw. ZControl must be exerted over not only uke’s body but tori’s as well. So, yes, if I foot sweep you and you manage to get me to my side or back, then you deserve a score too.

    Douillet had more to do with Shinohara’s fall than merely pull his belt.

  6. “Since you ignored my question to your rude racist answer…”

    I didn’t realize that I needed to answer your comments immediately. Sue me! I have no idea where your “rude racist comment” comes from. I was simply stating a fact that the author of the video clip was Japanese. Had the video been produced by a Frenchman supporting Douillet, that too would have been a relevant comment. Nationalism can cloud logic and judgment. By the way, I am married to a Japanese woman so maybe the racist label is not warranted.

    The rest of your comments show your myopic view of Judo. Perhaps you’ll have the balls to tell me who you are and not hide behind your email address.

  7. Hayek218 you need to check yourself, I will admit that I’m a student of Sensei Lafon and he and his Daughter certainly don’t need me to defend them.. However pulling out the RACE Card really is poor form while discussing the complex nature of refing a highstakes Judo match.. You may disagree with quite a few things Sensei Lafon has to say and he will consider your point of view as long as you can back up your beliefs, he may even say something that might be taken the wrong way or didn’t come out the way he intended this is hardly a (GOTCHA MOMENT) but we have all been down that road also.. In respect to your response date 1/12/12 ( 3.03 pm ) you mention that you searched found nothing on Sensei Lafon but found some footage on his Daughter.. and proceeded to attack his daughters record and abilities… This I find to be disturbing because NO MAN least of all with Martial Arts Training would stoop so low… I for one will reserve my opinion however if you decide that you would like to as they say ” MAN UP ” San Diego is great place to visit lots of Touristy things to do.. You can enlighten us with your presence and knowledge of Judo..

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