Edit: as i typed this, Kevin's response came in, and I haven't read it yet, but I'm going ahead and posting!
I'm going to address a number of things here and risk pushing this topic into further new directions. Fortunately, they all fall under the stated topic of "food for thought."
I've recently heard that it is rude to quote someone, break their points up into sections, and address them piece by piece. I'm tempted to make that into a topic itself, because I think that NOT doing it muddies discussion. So far, I've only heard people like me saying they've heard it is rude and thus not doing it, rather than hearing someone who was actually offended. Part of me wonders whether the offense is that their points have been clearly and systematically refuted. However, for now I will fall into line and try not to be rude. This is tangential but related to my main point which is about clear and robust debate and discussion.
There will be other asides. If anyone breaks my post into separate points to discuss them, I won't be offended.
So working backwards through some previous posts, my first comment is related to Scott Brown's comment about the stress of tournaments. I personally buy that they are stressful, and that the increased stress is one useful tool in testing our athletes and our interpretations of systems. I disagree with and (and actually kind of resent) the assertion that no one who has fought in an international tournament as the only rep of their country has a right to discuss the notion though. Different people are stressed differently by different things, and most adults have a pretty good understanding of what sorts of situations do and don't stress them out. I will acknowledge the caveat that no one knows for sure how they will respond to a situation until they encounter it, but that in and of itself is a good reason for them to assert their beliefs, if only to hear of the experiences and responses of those who have been there. It also smacks of an arbitrary elitism. That said, I know Scott wrote these comments in a hurry. He may not have meant to close down discussion, but rather to suggest only that attitudes will change with experience. I respect his experience and the point that his experience has more value in this discussion than someone else's lack of experience. I just object to completely ignoring or worse, shutting down, the comments of the less experienced.
My main point here is that shutting down people who are outside of something (anything) only lessens the flow of information rather than increasing it.
As a personal aside, getting to tournaments is not easy for me. I'm working on it. This year I went to longpoint, and decided to not fight in the tournament. I KNOW it would be stressful for me, and thought I'd get the lay of the land this time so that I'd be better prepared to fight next time. Of course, then I ended up judging, which was its own kind of stress!
I'm intrigued by the kick rule. I generally prefer to require techniques to be taken to their conclusion, but admit that I have done similar things in freeplay exercises to encourage techniques we were working on in class. I commend the decision to use that rule to encourage the technique until such time as kicks are established well enough that competitors can use them successfully to complete an action. I'd also encourage changing up rules like this so that other techniques that get ignored, are encouraged as well. Nothing particular at this time, just like the idea.
Here's where I wish again I was just working through quote texts. my next point is that Scott makes a general comment about tournament angst, without singling anyone out. I'd personally rather see the singled out comment that he's talking about. I get that he doesn't want to offend an individual (something I'm apparently going ahead and risking
, sorry Scott!) but I compare it to his earlier comment on lack of technique in tournaments. Show us the specifics, and address the points! see how this gets back to my initial comment about quoting and dividing text?
And honestly, I'm singling out Scott here in part because he's making points that relate to what I'm saying anyways (and I think he's tough enough to take it!).
I also understand, again, that the kind of discussion I'm talking about is hard when you're rushing out the door to a tournament.
Okay,s so on to the comment about citing video. Video is great, and there is more and more available. However, video is a bit like the whole internet. There is enough of it out there that it's easy to find a bit of it that supports your point no matter what your point is. The problem isn't that there isn't enough info. the problem is that there is too much info, and none of it has been organized in a format for making statistical statements. Until we can present some sort of statistical analysis of what techniques were used with what frequency over a broad array of tournament videos, all we can do is offer a variety of counter examples or general impressions based on wide viewing or personal experience. I wish it were otherwise, but I'm not about to take on the herculean challenge of enumerating the techniques in the videos, especially when we aren't at a point of agreeing on what the techniques are, and sometimes it is hard or impossible to tell what actually happened from a video (or even as a judge). Plus we have our friends who work with Fiore or other systems that categorize the techniques differently to contend with (although it is my impression that there are many more JLT practitioners in tournaments).
I actually think a better solution would be an improved recording/judging system that enumerated techniques, but I don't think we are anywhere near that yet.
And to clarify. I'm totally in favour of backing up statements with actual documented evidence. I'm totally in favour of using video to discuss technique etc online. I'm just not convinced that it will help this particular discussion.
I'm going to add my personal experience of having been to and judged at exactly one tournament event. I was surprised at how many fighters relied on very few techniques. And I mean this in a bad way (they were buffels), not a good way (they focused on basics). I was surprised (a little) that some of them got some mileage out of this. I was happy that none of them got much mileage. I was happy that the fighting in the second round was generally better and showed more technique than the first. In general, in addition to stress testing, the tournament worked. There were people who relied on power, or gimmicks, or even gaming the rules, and they could gain advantage over less experience fighters. But generally the top fighters were the ones that were the actual top fighters.
Okay, I've spent way to long typing this. Sorry for going on so long. i occasionally type long responses like this, and then delete them, because it's something I just need to get out of my system rather than actually discuss. But since a lot of what I'm trying to put out there is creating robust and open discussion, I'm going to let this one stand, and maybe trya nad clarify my thoughts in a new topic later.