2013 Shufu Referees’ Clinic at DeMatha

February 4, 2013


Participants in the 2013 Shufu Referees’ Clinic

Robert Fukuda

Congratulations go to all of the nearly 100 judoka who were able to attend the 28th annual Shufu Judo Yudanshakai Referee Clinic on Saturday, February 2nd, at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville Maryland. This clinic, originated and run by Olympic referee Gaile Spadin for the first 11 years of its existence, was organized by Shufu Referee Development Chairman Mr. Roy Englert Jr, the 17th year he has done so.


This year the guest clinician was Mr. Robert Fukuda, an International Class A referee, 2012 London Olympic Games referee, and head of the USA Judo Referee commission.  It was an awesome clinic for all who attended, with Mr. Fukuda not only providing insight into the world of top-level refereeing and the international refereeing world, but having the ability to address the needs of referees at all levels.  Mr. Fukuda did a wonderful job blending the details, humor, and stories of refereeing adventures, offering rewarding, challenging, and educational experiences.  In attendance was a mix of IJF-A, IJF-B and PJC-C, as well as local, regional and national certified referees, along with many coaches, teachers, competitors, and other judoka.  The participants hailed from 30 different clubs in the regional area covering Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Washington DC and Pennsylvania, but also with participants from California, Massachusetts, Georgia, and Texas.


After beginning the day with introductions, the morning session focused on the 2013-2016 IJF refereeing and competition rule changes.  With only one week since he returned from the PJC meeting in Mexico City where the new rules were explained, Mr. Fukuda had prepared a 15-page handout on the rule changes for each of the participants , and a document with copies of each of the 63 slides from his presentation enabling participants to take notes and have all of the information at hand.


Mr. Fukuda also spent significant time reviewing IJF video examples of scoring, particularly important in view of the revised definition of ippon, which has now reverted to the classical definition.  In addition, he reviewed the details and subtleties of scoring using the new rules on bridging, gripping, breaking or avoiding grips, bear hugs, and particularly the new rules eliminating attacks and blocks below the obi using the hands and arms.  Also important to referees, coaches, and competitors was the clarification of the new rules on continuation of action outside the actual contest area.  Discussion of the new rules included the new osaekomi times, proper bowing, and the elimination of the kinsa and hantei.   Administrative rule changes included guidance for tatami safety areas, junior ages, ranking listed events and delegation fees.


One of the main ideas that Mr. Fukuda and Mr. Englert both stressed in the environment of changing rules was to “apply your own wisdom and experience in judo, not just following rules to the letter”


Mr. Daniel Lee presented the new CARE (instant replay) system for video review of challenged decisions.  It is a new and exciting program that will continue to grow and develop. Shufu Judo Yudanshakai has purchased a system to begin training on and testing at our regional events.


A delicious buffet lunch was provided by Shufu Yudanshakai.


Much of the afternoon session was conducted on the mat to further clarify new rules, answer questions, and give guidance on the importance of referees’ mechanics, line of sight, and positioning.  Mr. Fukuda demonstrated ways that referees can project confidence, show authority, and have a presence about them.  He spoke about posture, the use of taisabaki, maneuvering on the mat, and holding gestures to be seen.  He discussed the importance of anticipating the action and reactions of the contestants, and not blocking the lines of sight of key observers.


The day’s events finished back in the classroom, covering the scoring continuum, middle score, jury work, and the need to avoid “Humpty Dumpty” situations.  Mr. Fukuda wrapped up a very full day with final comments and opened the floor to more questions.


Kevin Tamai, the event director from Hui-O-Judo in Beltsville MD, later stated, “It was a wonderful clinic that was very well presented. It was a rewarding and enriching experience for all judoka who were able to attend. I was pleased that we had over 90 participants representing 30 different clubs. Shufu Yudanshakai is very fortunate to have so many high level referees to help mentor our next generation of new referees. We are also very fortunate to have Mr. Fukuda present this material to us.”


Roy Englert

In his closing comments, Roy Englert mentioned that the heroes for the day (along with the presenters and organizers) were all of the participants. He was proud of them for taking the time to come get the new information to make themselves better referees, coaches, and competitors. He reminded the participants to try to continually improve relationships with coaches and to learn from each other, and the importance of knowing that you are part of a team and that you know the members of your team and maintain its cohesiveness.  Every referee is also a mentor and adviser to constructively critique and improve others’ refereeing.


Please note that this year’s clinic was shifted from late January to early February to allow Mr. Fukuda to attend the Mexico City clinic on the date originally planned for the Shufu clinic.  In 2014 Shufu expects to return to the traditional January scheduling of the referees’ clinic.


 Photo Gallery


Don’t let your skills deteriorate while you’re watching old Twilight Zone reruns during the shutdown!  Check out this first list of videos that can help keep your technique sharp and your body fit.



Twilight Zone Reruns

Coach Certification

SafeSport Certification is now required for all USJF registered clubs. If you have already completed the course and submitted a copy of your certificate, you do not need to resubmit. For more information or to take the course, please visit https://athletesafety.org/

Heads Up concussion training, through the CDC’s website, is a requirement for all members of your USJF registered club who function as teachers at any time. Please advise all of your instructors and assistant instructors of this requirement. The training can be accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/headsup/