Coincidental to my last post on tsubazeriai, I was asked some interesting questions stemming from an incident that happened at the Mumeishi 3’s Championship last weekend.According to an eyewitness report, there had been a controversial shiai, where one kendoka, had through a succession of taiatari shoves, put his opponent on the floor and then hit him across the back. I was asked for my view on the legality of such an attack and my view of the reaction of the referees. Now the Mumeishi taikai is quite popular with 3 courts and this year, 84 teams. My job was as shinpan shunin for Court A and this happened on Court C, so having seen nothing of the incident, a considered opinion was impossible. Still, thanks to the wonders of the internet and the digital camera, someone had captured the action and posted it on YouTube.
Having held back for as long as possible, I trawled youtube and found the offending match. Surprisingly, I had no problem with the attack on the floor. It looked as if the attacker had aimed for men, and if the referees had not called yame, this was perfectly legal. What did attract my attention were several taiatari attempts where the culprit was pushing at chin height and it was the last of these that “decked” his opponent. In my view this is unforgiveable. Taiatari should be at waist height and if you happen to nudge the opponent out of the shiaijo then good for you, but pushing to the face to either disorientate or weaken your opponent is just not kendo.
I do not know what the referees decided as the the video showed them stopping for gogi. I did not see a hansoku given, but that may have been because of the video rather than the shiai outcome. Had I been shushin however, I would have penalised each of the pushes with hansoku.