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Referees News 2011

Posted 22nd June 2011
European Regional Referees Report

European Regional Referees Report

This year's European Championships for regions took place in Ankara Turkey, over the weekend of 4th & 5th June. The English Karate Federation was represented by three of its refereeing officials, Tony Dent, Peter Bibby and Brian Jarvis. The trio were due to be joined by Paul Gunn, but unfortunately Paul had to decline the invitation to attend the day before the group set off to event.

The European Regional competition is the one and only time in the year where prospective officials can sit exams within Europe. On this occasion the English trio were to sit a total of four exams between them. Peter was to attempt his Kata Judge 'A' certificate and would also attempt his Kumite Judge 'B' certificate along with Tony and Brian.

Following registration on the Thursday evening and the referee briefing which followed, it was back to the hotel for a good night's sleep before Friday morning's written exams. Friday itself was to get off to a less than ideal start, with the taxi ride to the venue being less than five minutes old before it came to an abrupt halt. The car was in a collision with another vehicle and although the group was in the main unhurt, it caused enough of a delay to make the three officials late to the venue. With everyone already seated in the exam hall, the exam was all but ready to start and finding an available seat was the next problem. The only seats available by this time were at the back, a long way from the screen displaying the questions. The problems earlier didn't seem to upset the concentration too much however, as discussions between our three candidates following the exams seemed to be positive and hopeful that successful written papers had been submitted.

This section of the exam was followed by practical Kata training with senior members of the European Referee Commission. With Peter attempting his Kata 'A' certificate, it was compulsory for him to attend. However Brian had asked Dale Gamble to register him for the Kata training and was also allowed to participate. The training took place for 1 ½ hours up to lunch time and was followed by the practical Kata assessments. Candidates are assessed in numerical order and with Peter's number being in the 40's, it meant he had a long agonising wait for his turn. His turn came however and his performances included Jion from his own Shotokan style, with his alternate style Kata being Bassai Dai from Shito Ryu. Peter's confidence was apparent as he left the Dojo, but you can never tell if your performance or answers offered to the exam board's questions are acceptable. His results along with everyone else's would have to wait until Sunday's briefing following the event. Friday was finished for the group now, all that was left was to go back to the hotel, eat and rest.

Saturday was the main body of the competition, but the second stage of hopeful official's assessments. For those doing Kata exams such as Peter, it was now time to adjudicate over competitive matches. This Peter did with confidence on each occasion he was selected and things seemed to be going according to plan. By the end of the preliminary rounds and as the Kata competition reached the crucial medal positions, all Kata officials stood down and made way for the Kumite assessments to start. Kata would feature again later in the day, as those teams contesting Bronze medals would once again take to the mats.

The Kumite assessments would follow a similar pattern as the Kata, with hopeful officials adjudicating over competitive bouts. Peter was now joined by Tony and Brian at this stage, albeit on different areas. This part of the competition/assessment took the majority of the day and all three English hopefuls were working hard to impress the examiners. It was almost 6.pm by the time the Kumite assessments were complete, but once again confidence was high in the group. Discussions were all positive and the decisions made during the afternoons proceedings were all analysed and dissected, in the hope of trying to pre-empt their chances of success.

Peter would now be back on the area for Kata as he was selected to judge a Bronze medal final. Tony was also to be asked to do the same for two matches on a different area. This would be the end of the main competition day and the end of the assessments as a whole. However all Kata judge 'A's were told to report to the competition areas on the Sunday for the finals. This held the prospect of selections for finals for Tony and Peter as a prospective Judge 'A'. As a result, it wasn't time to relax just yet.

Sunday arrived as did the English delegation and overnight the teams of officials for each final had been selected. It was decided those attempting certificates would officiate over the finals, which meant that Peter would be the lone English official on the mats. He was chosen to judge two of the four Kata finals, with the completion of the second his cue to relax and await the results later in the day.

As the competitive weekend drew to a close, the trepidation and anxiety started to build within the prospective officials. The results were to be given out in numerical order, with this meaning that Brian would be the first of the English officials to get his results. Following his brief meeting with the commission members Brian was to learn that his written exam was successful, as were two of the elements of the practical assessment. Unfortunately Brian fell just short of the mark on other practical areas. Never the less he showed a good understanding of the rules and procedures during the competition. This is sure to stand him in good stead for another attempt next year.

Peter would be next to re-appear from the results area. He had for the second year running managed to pass an exam at such a high level and in doing so elevated himself to European Kata Judge 'A'. Further success was to come in a successful written exam in the Kumite assessment too.

Tony was the only one left now anticipating his results. Following his allotted time with the commission he was to learn that he also, had been successful. This result meant that he has added Kumite Judge 'B' to his European qualifications.

In summary it was a mixture of success and disappointment for the English group. Hopefully the next European Championships for Regions in Moscow 2012 will see another opportunity for Brian and for Paul to attempt a European qualification, along with others who may be selected by Dale Gamble and the English Karate Federation.

June 2011

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