A bad experience with a referee

Faith

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Me and my girlfriend as in our first competition last weekend. I got a bronzemedal and my GF hitted the 4th place in poomsae (yey us!).
We was so nervous before the competition and we got mixed feelings about it, I want more but my GF got a very bad review of the referee that made her furious and very demotivated to continue with competitions and im a bit worried if she want to quit taekwondo.

So the thing is:
She is a bluebelt and it was a greenbelt that was supposed to enter the floor before her, but he didn't show up so she was just thrown into the floor before the referees without see how everything is in a competition. She was very nervous and I could see she was a bit sloppy because of it.
She did well on the secound poomsae, but we both agree the first one was "done okey".

After the competition as over and we got the results, the referee came to us and started to critizise her yop-chagi's. I knew about this referee from before and I know he is a bit "im better than everyone else and I know best".. He told her that yop-chagi's like that got nothing in taekwondo to do at all.
Because of this, she is very demotivated and sad - she feels she is worth nothing and everything she is doing in taekwondo is wrong.

Before the competition we have only had two trainings with focus on competitions and patterns, and she is "just" a blue belt and she have just learned the yop-chagi's from our sabonim who also was the referee leader for the competition.

So I have two questions regarding this:

1. Had the referee any rights at all to take to her like this? Being so hard and judge her the way he did? Isn't a referee just a referee and should show the score?
2. Is there any point of sending a complain to our sabonim who was the referee leader so he can take it further with the actual referee?

I don't know what to do or say to her to cheer her up again. She is broken and chokolate or flowers dosn't work to cheer her up..
She accept the 4th place, but not the feedback.
 

Darksoul

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Unfortunately, such situations are a part of life. How we deal with them is what's important. The ref should've held to just a fair and impartial judging of her performance. Sure he could explain his reasoning behind whatever score he decides to give but it should certainly carry no malice nor be condescending. Ultimately we are our own worst critics. Even your instructor should do nothing more than offer constructive criticism. You could bring this up to you Sabonim but chances are he's already aware of this person's character. I say take it as a learning experience and move on. Down the road I suspect both you and your girl will laugh about this memory. Encourage her to keep going.
 
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Tez3

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Me and my girlfriend as in our first competition last weekend. I got a bronzemedal and my GF hitted the 4th place in poomsae (yey us!).
We was so nervous before the competition and we got mixed feelings about it, I want more but my GF got a very bad review of the referee that made her furious and very demotivated to continue with competitions and im a bit worried if she want to quit taekwondo.

So the thing is:
She is a bluebelt and it was a greenbelt that was supposed to enter the floor before her, but he didn't show up so she was just thrown into the floor before the referees without see how everything is in a competition. She was very nervous and I could see she was a bit sloppy because of it.
She did well on the secound poomsae, but we both agree the first one was "done okey".

After the competition as over and we got the results, the referee came to us and started to critizise her yop-chagi's. I knew about this referee from before and I know he is a bit "im better than everyone else and I know best".. He told her that yop-chagi's like that got nothing in taekwondo to do at all.
Because of this, she is very demotivated and sad - she feels she is worth nothing and everything she is doing in taekwondo is wrong.

Before the competition we have only had two trainings with focus on competitions and patterns, and she is "just" a blue belt and she have just learned the yop-chagi's from our sabonim who also was the referee leader for the competition.

So I have two questions regarding this:

1. Had the referee any rights at all to take to her like this? Being so hard and judge her the way he did? Isn't a referee just a referee and should show the score?
2. Is there any point of sending a complain to our sabonim who was the referee leader so he can take it further with the actual referee?

I don't know what to do or say to her to cheer her up again. She is broken and chokolate or flowers dosn't work to cheer her up..
She accept the 4th place, but not the feedback.
It's annoying but not the end of the world but don't patronise your girlfriend by giving her chocolates and flowers, behave like adults.
Firstly, as obnoxious as you think the referee was is there any truth in his comments? Is her technique faulty? If it is, it's not necessarily her fault she may have been taught it wrongly. You need to check with your instructors and if you can watch others to see how they are doing the technique.

If she's doing it incorrectly, she can work to correct it. If she's doing it correctly she can work to improve it.

No one likes being criticised especially if it's done rudely but if whether there's a grain of truth in it or not, the way forward is to train harder and prove the referee wrong. She must show spirit, rise above this and go train.
 
OP
Faith

Faith

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I've tried to tell her that she should listen to her master and not the referee only. Since he was there and saw her go the poomsae, I hope he also can come with more constructive feedback that gives her some bulletpoints to work with :)
I know why she reacts to how he said it, but I am also thinking that she should look at it as an oppertunity to get better.

I just feel so sorry for her when I see her like this.
 

Gerry Seymour

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Me and my girlfriend as in our first competition last weekend. I got a bronzemedal and my GF hitted the 4th place in poomsae (yey us!).
We was so nervous before the competition and we got mixed feelings about it, I want more but my GF got a very bad review of the referee that made her furious and very demotivated to continue with competitions and im a bit worried if she want to quit taekwondo.

So the thing is:
She is a bluebelt and it was a greenbelt that was supposed to enter the floor before her, but he didn't show up so she was just thrown into the floor before the referees without see how everything is in a competition. She was very nervous and I could see she was a bit sloppy because of it.
She did well on the secound poomsae, but we both agree the first one was "done okey".

After the competition as over and we got the results, the referee came to us and started to critizise her yop-chagi's. I knew about this referee from before and I know he is a bit "im better than everyone else and I know best".. He told her that yop-chagi's like that got nothing in taekwondo to do at all.
Because of this, she is very demotivated and sad - she feels she is worth nothing and everything she is doing in taekwondo is wrong.

Before the competition we have only had two trainings with focus on competitions and patterns, and she is "just" a blue belt and she have just learned the yop-chagi's from our sabonim who also was the referee leader for the competition.

So I have two questions regarding this:

1. Had the referee any rights at all to take to her like this? Being so hard and judge her the way he did? Isn't a referee just a referee and should show the score?
2. Is there any point of sending a complain to our sabonim who was the referee leader so he can take it further with the actual referee?

I don't know what to do or say to her to cheer her up again. She is broken and chokolate or flowers dosn't work to cheer her up..
She accept the 4th place, but not the feedback.
In my very considered opinion, that ref (as described in this post) is an arrogant jerk. If he has a big problem with a students form, that should be expressed to their instructor, or kept to himself - unless he can express it in a constructive manner.

As for how to deal with it, I think its worth telling your instructor (I dont remember if sabonim is direct instructor or one level up), and let them decide if its worth taking further.

As for cheering her up, be there for her and commiserate, but dont dwell on it. Move on with life with her.
 

Gyakuto

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A referee makes a judgement on the competition performance before her. She is not there to provide unsolicited criticism - that is not her role.

I dont know what blue/green belt means but Im sure your girlfriend would be the first to admit she is not a Super-dooper-omnipotent-grandest-masterbut she might be one day if she keeps going, listening, learning, being a little self-critical, graciously accepting any kind advice given from those who have gone before her.

Recognising kind advice is a skill
 

skribs

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As @Darksoul said, these things happen. Part of life is dealing with it.

My Master had a "Yield 3" rule. When you're upset about something someone did, yield 3 times. If it's going to be a one-off type of thing, then just ignore it and move on. If the same person is causing you problems over and over again, then it's time to address it.

As to your specific questions:
  1. The referee should just show the score. If the referee is going to make unsolicited comments, they should be positive. If the participant solicits comments (such as "why did I lose?"), then the referee should give constructive criticism. For example, if your girlfriend asked why she lost, then the referee could have said, "The biggest thing is your front kicks were not as good as theirs." This gives an idea of what to work on, but without being condescending about it.
  2. I would bring it up with your Master. Even if your Master wasn't in the position he is over this referee. In most situations I would say that you should try and handle it directly before escalating. But in eastern Martial Arts, there's a power dynamic that the referee quite simply isn't going to listen to someone who is significantly less experienced than they are. Even if your Master wasn't the head referee, they would be able to submit comments regarding the school's experience at the tournament.
 

tkdroamer

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Me and my girlfriend as in our first competition last weekend. I got a bronzemedal and my GF hitted the 4th place in poomsae (yey us!).
We was so nervous before the competition and we got mixed feelings about it, I want more but my GF got a very bad review of the referee that made her furious and very demotivated to continue with competitions and im a bit worried if she want to quit taekwondo.

So the thing is:
She is a bluebelt and it was a greenbelt that was supposed to enter the floor before her, but he didn't show up so she was just thrown into the floor before the referees without see how everything is in a competition. She was very nervous and I could see she was a bit sloppy because of it.
She did well on the secound poomsae, but we both agree the first one was "done okey".

After the competition as over and we got the results, the referee came to us and started to critizise her yop-chagi's. I knew about this referee from before and I know he is a bit "im better than everyone else and I know best".. He told her that yop-chagi's like that got nothing in taekwondo to do at all.
Because of this, she is very demotivated and sad - she feels she is worth nothing and everything she is doing in taekwondo is wrong.

Before the competition we have only had two trainings with focus on competitions and patterns, and she is "just" a blue belt and she have just learned the yop-chagi's from our sabonim who also was the referee leader for the competition.

So I have two questions regarding this:

1. Had the referee any rights at all to take to her like this? Being so hard and judge her the way he did? Isn't a referee just a referee and should show the score?
2. Is there any point of sending a complain to our sabonim who was the referee leader so he can take it further with the actual referee?

I don't know what to do or say to her to cheer her up again. She is broken and chokolate or flowers dosn't work to cheer her up..
She accept the 4th place, but not the feedback.
Big congratulations on the first tournament!

This is for both of you, but tell your girlfriend to use everything she saw, heard, and felt at the tournament as a learning experience and nothing else. Seldom do tournaments run perfectly. And remember, all the people running the tournament rings are VOLUNTEERS. And some people are just coarse and somewhat jerks, so take them with a grain of salt.

1.) Not being there, yes, the ref had the 'right' to say whatever he wished. Especially if it was a request. Like I said, some people are just coarse, and with everything else that was likely going on, he/she was in a rush. Giving you more than just the score could be considered going above and beyond. Because it was not in a polite format really is not part of the equation.

2.) Beyond mentioning the person's bad demeanor, absolutely not.

A tournament, good or bad, does not define our training. It tests it. Remind your girlfriend of this. We are going to meet jerks in all walks of life. The martial arts are no exception. They should never define what WE do.
 

tkdroamer

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Big congratulations on the first tournament!

This is for both of you, but tell your girlfriend to use everything she saw, heard, and felt at the tournament as a learning experience and nothing else. Seldom do tournaments run perfectly. And remember, all the people running the tournament rings are VOLUNTEERS. And some people are just coarse and somewhat jerks, so take them with a grain of salt.

1.) Not being there, yes, the ref had the 'right' to say whatever he wished. Especially if it was a request. Like I said, some people are just coarse, and with everything else that was likely going on, he/she was in a rush. Giving you more than just the score could be considered going above and beyond. Because it was not in a polite format really is not part of the equation.

2.) Beyond mentioning the person's bad demeanor, absolutely not.

A tournament, good or bad, does not define our training. It tests it. Remind your girlfriend of this. We are going to meet jerks in all walks of life. The martial arts are no exception. They should never define what WE do.
@Gerry Seymour , may I ask why you disagree?
 

Steve

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1. Had the referee any rights at all to take to her like this? Being so hard and judge her the way he did? Isn't a referee just a referee and should show the score?

I don't know enough about TKD tournaments to comment on whether this is appropriate or not. But it's unfortunate that he made your friend feel bad. But it's like every sport or activity... there are good coaches and bad coaches. Good coaches motivate people and encourage them to improve.

2. Is there any point of sending a complain to our sabonim who was the referee leader so he can take it further with the actual referee?

Yeah, I'd say for sure. Talking to your coach (whatever they are called) will definitely help. If nothing else, it will give your actual coach/instructor a chance to put things in proper perspective. Hearing some words of encouragement from someone you trust and know is super helpful. Even more so if your friend is discouraged. Left to fester, that might lead your friend to quit, and wouldn't that be a shame?
 

tkdroamer

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***EDIT*** I am unable to edit my post so wanted to add this comment.
I went back and reread the OP and see that the referee's comments were unsolicited. Based on this, it sounds like he/she may have been out of bounds.
Sometimes people mean to help, but in the moment, they just come off wrong. In the hustle and bustle of running rings, they may have just wanted to provide some critique and just came off as a jerk.
I am not taking up for the referee, but I am pretty certain I have been there. It is speculation since I know nothing about the tournament, referee, or the competitors.
 

skribs

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One thought that popped into my head. Different schools do things in different ways. I'm going to guess you were competing in a WT tournament based on the term "Poomsae" (ITF would call it "Pattern" or "Tul" and traditional styles might call it "Hyung").

Even if you're in a WT school, you might be doing the forms in ways that are different from what WT expects. Or maybe you were in a freestyle form competition using a different style of form. For example, at my school we had Palgwe forms (which are different from the official Palgwe forms), and we had variations of the official black belt forms (which we called "Koryo Il Jang", "Keumgang Il Jang", etc.).

One of our students was unhappy with his results in doing Koryo Il Jang. His Mom (a 2nd or 3rd Dan at the time and his coach) believed that the judges gave him a lower score because they're not familiar with our style, and took stylistic differences as incorrect technique. I realize that she is also biased (being his coach and his Mom). However, she wasn't yelling at the judges, she was just venting to me about it, and there is probably at least a bit of truth to what she was saying.

I know some will come and say that if you're not doing the KKW forms in the KKW way then you are incorrect...but that's upper-level politics. If she's doing the techniques the way your Master wants, then she is being a good student of your Master. And you shouldn't be put into the position of defending his choices to someone else.
 

tkdroamer

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One thought that popped into my head. Different schools do things in different ways. I'm going to guess you were competing in a WT tournament based on the term "Poomsae" (ITF would call it "Pattern" or "Tul" and traditional styles might call it "Hyung").

Even if you're in a WT school, you might be doing the forms in ways that are different from what WT expects. Or maybe you were in a freestyle form competition using a different style of form. For example, at my school we had Palgwe forms (which are different from the official Palgwe forms), and we had variations of the official black belt forms (which we called "Koryo Il Jang", "Keumgang Il Jang", etc.).

One of our students was unhappy with his results in doing Koryo Il Jang. His Mom (a 2nd or 3rd Dan at the time and his coach) believed that the judges gave him a lower score because they're not familiar with our style, and took stylistic differences as incorrect technique. I realize that she is also biased (being his coach and his Mom). However, she wasn't yelling at the judges, she was just venting to me about it, and there is probably at least a bit of truth to what she was saying.

I know some will come and say that if you're not doing the KKW forms in the KKW way then you are incorrect...but that's upper-level politics. If she's doing the techniques the way your Master wants, then she is being a good student of your Master. And you shouldn't be put into the position of defending his choices to someone else.
I for one certainly do not think the KKW form set is the 'only' correct way.
That said, if someone is competing at a WT/KKW tournament, they should perform and expect to be judge by those rules. In the TKD world, WT/KKW is so prevalent it is hard to find open tournaments where (other) Korean forms are appreciated.
 

skribs

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I for one certainly do not think the KKW form set is the 'only' correct way.
That said, if someone is competing at a WT/KKW tournament, they should perform and expect to be judge by those rules. In the TKD world, WT/KKW is so prevalent it is hard to find open tournaments where (other) Korean forms are appreciated.
Here are a couple of examples what I'm talking about, one technique and one stance.

Technique: Inside Block
In the Taegeuk forms, you chamber an inside block by "pointing" with your off-hand fist, and holding the blocking arm at a very shallow angle behind you. The block is performed to protect your chest.

In our forms, you chamber an inside block with the off-hand in a hinge block position (similar to the hinge blocks in Keumgang) and the blocking arm at a steep angle, fist right behind your ear. The block is performed to protect your face.

Stance: Back Stance
The Taegeuk back stance is done with the heels in line with each other, feet 1.5x shoulder widths long, and the weight distribution is heavily skewed towards the back leg.

Our back stance is shoulder width apart, double shoulder width long, with the weight slightly skewed towards the back leg. Our stance is also much deeper bend in both knees, which combined with the longer and wider stance brings us much lower.

If someone is judging one of our forms from the perspective of having mainly trained the Taegeuks, they might look at our stances and our blocks and think, "Their feet are too wide, their weight is too far forward, their chamber is wrong, their block is too high" and judge accordingly.
 

tkdroamer

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Here are a couple of examples what I'm talking about, one technique and one stance.

Technique: Inside Block
In the Taegeuk forms, you chamber an inside block by "pointing" with your off-hand fist, and holding the blocking arm at a very shallow angle behind you. The block is performed to protect your chest.

In our forms, you chamber an inside block with the off-hand in a hinge block position (similar to the hinge blocks in Keumgang) and the blocking arm at a steep angle, fist right behind your ear. The block is performed to protect your face.

Stance: Back Stance
The Taegeuk back stance is done with the heels in line with each other, feet 1.5x shoulder widths long, and the weight distribution is heavily skewed towards the back leg.

Our back stance is shoulder width apart, double shoulder width long, with the weight slightly skewed towards the back leg. Our stance is also much deeper bend in both knees, which combined with the longer and wider stance brings us much lower.

If someone is judging one of our forms from the perspective of having mainly trained the Taegeuks, they might look at our stances and our blocks and think, "Their feet are too wide, their weight is too far forward, their chamber is wrong, their block is too high" and judge accordingly.
Like I said, if you go to a WT/KKW tournament and do non-WT/KKW movements you are going to be dinged. And should expect such.
 

skribs

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Like I said, if you go to a WT/KKW tournament and do non-WT/KKW movements you are going to be dinged. And should expect such.
If you go to a WT/KKW tournament and do non-WT/KKW movements in a freestyle forms section, they should be able to tell the difference between sloppy technique or mistakes and good technique in a different style. If they're going to include a freestyle bracket, they should do so understanding that it's not all going to be in their style.

Those that are doing the WT/KKW movements and style will most likely be doing the Taegeuk forms and can go in that bracket.
 
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