Journal of a Taekwondo referee

Friday, May 13, 2005


This was another district tourney held in Klang. Came early for a bak kut teh breakfast. 4 arenas, headed by Mr W again. Pretty relaxing tourney, at least for me it was. We take turns being center referees. Its kind of a rotation basis thingy where u come in, sit as a corner judge until its yr turn to be center. when yr center, u do maybe 2 to 3 matches (KOs dont count!) and then u come out for a rest. The amount of rest u get depends on how many referees get assigned to any arena. If there are only 4, then there will be no rest. This is how I spend my rest time

  • toilet break, tie my hair
  • drink a few sips of water
  • hunt for coffee or mint
  • snap a few pix with my phone camera
  • chat with the HOC
  • look at other amusing matches
  • hunt for players in the next match
  • hunt for score sheets at secretariate table

this tourney was a little irritating as the organizers had not thought of separating the competition area from the spectators & emotional parents. the results are having people screaming practically in your ear when they cheer & having them breathing down your neck when you write down yr score. pretty distracting. i found myself fanning them away with my clipboard or simply shooing them away from me.

some funny/interesting/gross stuff:

  • This happened in the arena next to mine. i could only see the back of the player. suddenly something white pops out at face-level. how do u lose your mouth guard in the middle of a fight?
  • Player stumbles back to coach area in the middle of fight, hands cupped near mouth & proceeds to vomit. he dumps his stomach contents in a plastic bag, washes his hands & proceeds to win the match. bravo!
  • blue kicks red in the head near the corner judge. red's headgear flies off to land on judge. judge hands back headgear to red.

food for thought:

when i signal for a time out, i expect the time keeper to be alert & follow my instructions instead of talking to his friends. so there i was saying shigan over and over again until i managed to catch his attention. suffice to say, i told him off.

i found out my shigan hand signal has been wrong all this while. jeez! its supposed to be a cross with two fingers with the fists pointing toward each other, and here i was, pushing them outward. tried to change it, but old habits stick like glue!

after the tourney:

had a seafood dinner with the gang. check out the pix below. could only eat cuttlefish, bean curd & chicken due to allergy. poor me!

dinner proceeded to supper at starbucks. pretty tired the next day.

Up next:

Sukan Melaka & National Juniors



This is a district level championship held at the Cheras badminton stadium. This is the first time i officiated in this stadium. the last time i was here, i was half limping & i couldnt fight anymore. looking back now, i think about how i've improved in this 2 years.

anyway, reported in at 8am, called up by Mr V, RIC was Mr W. 4 arenas, if I remembered correctly. Wore black shoes, thought better of it, changed to a pair of white ones. but they were old & peeling at the front. After several incidents where I nearly tripped over my own feet, changed them to another white pair (yeah, i got a boutique & shoe shop in my car!) that was peeling at the back. A few trainees sported super saiyan hair styles. either that, or they stuck a finger in an electric socket.

pretty uneventful tourney except a parent banged the secretariate table during protest. and also a protest over wrong decision by HOC. here's an incident worth mentioning:

player gets kicked in the neck. he moves away, stunned, with red-teary eyes, as if he cant breathe. centre referee asks if he wants to fight. player shakes head NO. centre referee asks 2 more times. NO & NO. centre referee declares other player as winner. Coach walks angrily to HOC table & demands why his player lost, insisting that his player can still fight.

Now, point of interest. Decision whether to stop a match rests on these people: HOC, center referee, player & finally the coach.

Now, here's a few points of interests i noticed during the recent nationals.

Stupid things that coaches do:

  • OK, OK. turning kick, back kick, chopping, reverse swing. Ha, turning kick some more. faster, faster aka blindly yelling all techniques that do not suit the situation
  • looks at other direction or answers their cell while their player is fighting in the ring
  • stands up & screams at player to perform particular technique. yeah, as if thats gonna make a difference
  • looks helplessly around while player rolls in agony on the ground (normally after a kick to the groin)
  • wears headgear the wrong way for player, thus embarassing player & self in the process
  • occupies the seat during break when player is close to exhaustion & dying of exhaustion

I'm not an expert at coaching as im not much of a talker but I do know that the duties of a coach are to

  • observe the weakness of player's opponent & think of ways to counter measure them & conveying this to the player during break
  • moral support esp when player is tired or losing
  • look out for injuries in player & responsible for calling time out if necessary
  • remind players of fundamentals during sparring esp blocks & look out & minimize players' weaknesses from being exposed in the ring

I just love doing junior tourneys. The little ones esp the 7, 8 year olds are so cute when they are in full gear & its their virgin match. Of course, in these type of matches, u gotta be more alert as they are amateurs, be a tad lenient & explain the fouls clearly to them. i used to be like:


now, i slow things down a bit and

kalyeo-shigan-chung-kyonggo-hey dont push, understand? jangan tolak, faham? ok?- kyesok

it helps when i explain in both languages.

Monday, May 02, 2005

A group photo

After the championship

A referee lineup

Taking a break