This year’s National Senior Examiners Conference took place on Sunday 18 June at Samurai Judo Club in Kidderminster. On the hottest day of the year, the conference was delivered by the Promotions Commission as a highly interactive workshop with over 60 judoka, actively taking part on both discussion and practical elements. The interaction among the participants was amazing and a vast amount of knowledge and experience was shared in a congress of eclectic Judo skills and experience, 32 judoka being of the grade 6th Dan and above.

Participants included IJF referees, ex GB Internationals, Kata experts, four current members of the BJA Board, area committee members and BJA staff members. The first hour was a working lunch where all participants had the opportunity to network, talk to Board and Commission members, share ideas and best practices.

Kata and IJF Rules

On the mat, the day started with a display of Koshiki No Kata by Joe Foster and his Uke Dale Fenwick. They then led a practical workshop on an introduction to Koshiki No on the first six techniques, where participants practiced the basic elements of the Kata. This was then followed by a video demonstration of a recent Kata International Competition on Nage No and Katame No Kata with Promotions Commission Chair Andrew Haffner and Kata Commission Chair Eddie Awford leading a discussion, where it was greatly appreciated by all how the Kata has evolved into a more dynamic presentation.

Dave Stanley, IJF referee, then led a presentation using video analysis of the current interpretation of the new IJF rules and their influence on Dan Gradings. It was accepted that at Dan Gradings it was a collaborative team effort between the Referee and the two Senior Examiners.

Working in area syndicates, all then had a working session on how to complete Dan Grading sheets electronically using trial documents that had been produced by Mike Leng of Yorkshire and Humberside and amended by Simon Smith from North West area. Various suggestion were made including offers of contribution from other attendees and it was agreed to form a working party to develop a final draft document for trial in the areas.

Technical Grading 3 Course

BJA Regional Delivery Manager Dave Horton-Jones then gave an abridged presentation of the Technical Grading 3 course that is delivered in the areas by BJA staff. The purpose of this course is to help coaches prepare their judoka for the Dan Grade Competitive skills and Technical exams so it was appropriate that the Senior Examiners were made aware of what the coaches are doing in their clubs.

The congress worked through the procedures and differences for examining both exams and Dave gave a short demonstration of an example on how it may be possible to examine a Ne Waza technique demonstration for Competitive skills but then for the Technical exam demonstrate a greater understanding by showing the same technique three different ways, then partner on all fours, on stomach, defences, with leg trapped and the variations of how the techniques have evolved in competition. Dave also then offered some methods for examining/coaching combination techniques focussing on the link between the two techniques and not just the actual technique. A similar exercise was then carried out on counter techniques.

Coaching tools such as sequencing were discussed where Dave as an example showed Judoka 1 attacking with Tai Otoshi, Judoka 2 countering with O Uchi gari transitioning to groundwork where Judoka 1 then applied Juji Gatame and then Judoka 2 defended the attack and countered it with a hold down.

It was appreciated by all that Tori and Uke must work together both in their exam preparation and the actual exam. This was then followed by discussion in syndicates on how to assess the demonstrations. Ideas for an improved marking criteria were discussed with an action agreed to formulate a standard document in order to achieve a National standard of assessment.

The Conference ended with presentations and thanks to all the presenters, in particular Joe and Dale for their undeniable extensive preparation and also commission members Steve Lesik and Nick Fletcher who carry out a great deal of research and development behind the scenes. New Senior Examiner Shane Byrne was presented with his certificate, badge and card with other new SEs not in attendance having their certificates passed on to their areas for presentation.