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What do Judges look for?

What do Judges look for?

What do Judges Look For?

There are many factors an offical considers before assigning a score, including appearance, presentation, attitude, basics, difficulty, power, speed, balance and endurance. Let's look at each factor separetly.


When you enter a tournament you should look professional. Do not enter the ring with torn, dirty or wrinkled uniform. Sparring equipment should not look like it's been through a thousand rounds of sparring. You never get a second chance at a first impression. This is a excellent example. A judge makes his/her first judgment of you by how you look.


Your presentation to the judges is very important. In forms and weapons, a competitor has a opportunity to speak to the judges by giving a short explanation or summary of what he/she plans to perform. From the time you enter the ring and speak to the judges you create an impression. Show respect at all times. Remember, the judges aren't getting paid to be there. Some may be nervous because the competition is tough, or they have someone breathing down there backs. Other judges might be masters in the various disciplines. Always bow to judges and your competition when entering or leaving the ring. Never turn your back after making your presentation to the judges. When you say your name and the name of the form to the judges, speak with confidence, loud and clear. Don't approach the judges as a shy little kid afraid of their own shadow. Look each judge straight in the eye. Do not fidget or look all around. When going into a fighting ring, enter with confidence and energy. Even though you are striking your opponent and trying to intimidate him/her, always respect both your opponent and the judges.


In any type of competition, you need to put forth a positive attitude. In forms or weapons show confidence before and after your routine. When sparring, keep a confident, no fear attitude. If you have any doubt or fear during the match, your opponent will read it, gain momentum and be victorious. No matter how much of a war the match may have been, always bow to show respect to your opponent and the center official. Even though you may not like the outcome, be respectful. Win or lose, maintain a good attitude. Be a good sport and shake your opponent's hand at the end of the match.

Basics, Speed, Diffuculty, Power, Focus, Balance, Endurance

Forms & Weapons

Judges usually score a forms or weapons performance on your basics, speed, difficulty, power, focus, balance, and endurance. When you train, think about only one area each time you do your routine. Really concentrate on power, or perfect basics, etc..Also try to watch a video of your routine judging only your speed. Watch the video again judging the difficulty of the form. Continue reviewing the video, each time looking for ways to improve. Work on your weaknesses, practicing until you think that you could earn a "10" in each criteria being judged.

Basics, speed, difficulty, power, focus, etc.. are important as well in fighting. Each of the characteristics can give you the edge over you opponent. Being faster, stronger, in better condition. The judges, however, will ahve to make a decison on a clash of techniques and will probably call the stonger technique. Judges also look for good focus, not blind techniques. The kick or punch delivered with proper balance and correct form(basics) will score over a sloppy technique thrown as a fighter is fallen down. A kiai will draw attention to you and will make your strike look stronger than your opponent.

Have the Ability to Adjust and Know When to Do So

No matter where in the world you compete, there will be judges from many different styles, with both modern and old fashioned ideas. They are all looking for something in particular. As a competitor, you must learn what judges are looking for and adjust your style accordingly. If you can't adjust to a situation, you'll find yourself winning only half the time. A true champion can adjust to any situation. In the fighting division, watch the matches before yours. Try to watch how the judges are calling the points. Are they very picky, do they like flashy kicks or very strong techniques? In forms and weapons competition, watch how the judges score other competitors performing before you and try to adjust your performance accordingly to what there looking for.


Remember it does not matter how popular you are with the audience or even how good you are. The 3 or 5 judges sitting in front of you are the ones who matter and you must impress them to score well. Intense training before the event is very important. However, your success will depend on your presentation, appearance, and ability to adjust to the situation at the event. Be respectful. Win or lose, maintain a good attitude! Good Luck!