COVID MODIFIED TSUBAZERIAI RULES – Explanatory Notes

Explanatory notes on each of the rules have been inserted below.

These Rules are introduced to minimise the risk of transmission of coronavirus during shiai and they will remain in place while the pandemic continues.

*They are primarily related to tsubazeriai, the ways to separate from each other and also associated hansoku matters in the process of separation. Whilst these are meant to be tentative rules to mitigate Covid risks, there is also a clear intention to adopt them as permanent rules in consideration of Article 1 of FIK Shiai and Shinpan Rules and Regulations. Both Shiaisha and Shinpanin are expected to be fully aware of the nature of these rules and the reasons behind their introduction. They should become accustomed to these rules and able to put them into practice.

1. Shiai-sha shall avoid tsubazeriai.

*Tsubazeriai is the situation where both tsubas are locked against each other at about chudan hight with both kensen tilted to the right. General contacts should not be mixed up with tsubazeriai. Shinpanin are expected to distinguish general contacts from tsubazeriai and take appropriate action depending on the circumstances.

2. When tsubazeriai or any other contact occurs, shiai-sha must either:
 
• execute hikiwaza, or waza after taiatari, as soon as they come in contact with each other, or,
 
*Hikiwaza may be delivered after taiatari as soon as they come into contact with each other or immediately after going into tsubazeriai. In this situation, legitimate kuzushi techniques – a technique to break the opponent’s kamae or composure is permitted. 
 
• if no waza is executed (from tsubazeriai or after any other contact), both shiai-sha shall proactively and immediately separate themselves from each other. 
 
*This applies when the players are either in tsubazeriai or in any other form of contact and no waza is delivered.
 

3. Shai-sha shall make effort in separating themselves without waiting for the shinpan to call “wakare”.

*Wakare is called only when the players are in tsubazeriai and not separating mutually from tsubazeriai. It is wrong to call “wakare” while the players are not in proper tsubazeriaiand during the initial process of mutual separation (sometimes shinpan calls wakare too early).

4. If this does not happen and tsubazeriai continues, shinpan shall call “Wakare” immediately.

*Shinpanin need to identify if it is tsubazeriai or other contact. If identified as tsubazeriai and it is continuing, then wakare should be called. If it is identified as other contact and it is continuing, then yame should be called and depending on the situation hansoku may be appliedafter gogi.

5. Shiai-sha shall be penalised with hansoku if refusing to separate, if intentionally wasting time, or if they continue to approach their opponent with defensive posture (i.e., avoiding fighting). 
 
*These are not new rules. These situations need to be assessed against the article 1 of FIK Regulations of Kendo Shiai and Shinpan and if judged as unfair or illegitimate, hansoku should be given to the offending player. 
 

6. When mutually separating, whether of their own accord or as a result of “wakare” being called by the shushin, shiai-sha shall do so together, in equal spirits, and with the shinogi in contact. Shiai-sha shall not open or lower their kensen. Shiai-sha shall move to a distance where their kensen do not touch.

*This is specifically in case of tsubazeriai and not for general contacts.Tsubazeriai needs to be established and identified first. Then a process of mutual separation from tsubazeriai identified. Otherwise, these hansoku cannot be applied. Mutual separation being a process of separation taking place of players’ own accord in mutual agreement.

7. Shiai-sha shall not press, strike or maki (twist) opponent’s shinai, or gyaku-kousa (cross shinai on the ura) whilst separating.

8. No waza shall be attempted or executed whilst shiai-sha are mutually separating. If a waza is executed, that waza shall not be considered yukou-datotsu.

9. If a waza is attempted or executed whilst shiai-sha are separating, the offending shiai-sha may be penalised a hansoku. This includes oikomi datotsu (chasing datotsu) or feigning to separate then executing a waza.

*These rules are specifically about players’ conduct during the process of mutual separation either tsubazeriai or any other form of contact. Shinpanins are expected to identify as to whether the players are in mutual separation or otherwise.

Tsubazeriai needs to be established and identified first and the process of mutual separation needs to be identified. Just because a player steps back does not mean they are mutually separating or a player wants to separate.

10. In each situation above, shinpanin shall confer in gogi and make a judgement as to whether apply hansoku based on each cause and circumstance.

Issued by VKTC for use at 2021 Victorian Kendo Championships