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2A.1.c  Referee Positioning

The position of the referee to tori’s throw of uke greatly influences how the referee scores or doesn’t score the throw.  It’s critical that the referee always move into the best position possible to view the potential score.

Two factors contribute to the referee being in good position.  They are the distance from the  contestants and the viewing angle to the action.

Distance from the Contestants

Too far away-

The referee’s hand signals are for the score table, coaches and spectators.  The referee’s voice is for the contestants.  If the referee is constantly too far away from the contestants, they will not hear nor react to the referee commands, such as “Matte!”.  This certainly could become a safety issue for the contestants.

Too close-

If the referee is constantly too close to the contestants, they will feel like they are constantly dodging out of the contestant’s way.  Similar to being too far away, being too close could become a safety issue for the contestants.

Proper distance-

Generally, the referee should be 3 meters (about 10 feet) from the contestants, but it also depends on the contestant’s size and speed.  There is a size and speed difference between refereeing the 6-year-old division versus the 81 kg Black Belt division.  The referee needs to adjust accordingly.

Viewing Angle

The referee’s viewing angle to the action is the second factor that contributes to the referee being in good position.

Positioning for the best viewing angle requires the referee to use their judo knowledge.  Imagine if the two contestants are demonstrating a technique for you (the referee).  You need to move to the best position (angle) to be able to see all the points being demonstrated. 

Now imagine that you don’t know who is tori nor what they are demonstrating to you.  Use your judo knowledge; Who has better throwing posture, who has a higher activity level, what are each contestant’s tachi-waza and ne-waza tendencies?

Quartering the Mat

Armed with distance and viewing angle knowledge, the referee is equipped to be in the best position to properly score a throw. 

On occasion, the referee can lose track of proper distance and viewing angle on the mat.  A tip to help keep the distance and viewing angle is to mentally quarter the mat.

In these examples, mentally quarter the mat.  The referee should be in an adjacent quart to the contestants, but never in a diagonal quarter.

The following video is a humorous look at some mannerisms to avoid.