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Competition Trick Lists

Started by BKA, 12 July, 2020, 19:10:55

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We just found this on our hard drive, written in 2014. Don't think it was ever posted anywhere, so we might as well stick it up here. (Still seems vaguely relevant!):

When setting competition trick lists, the BKA takes the following things into consideration:

1) The audience
We always try to set the format so that the competition is entertaining to watch, as well as (hopefully) to compete in. With this in mind, it is worth considering that an audience watching predominately missed attempts will not be "seeing much kendama". Therefore we try to set the difficulty level somewhere around the 50/50 mark as to whether it is likely that a competitor will succeed at a trick. In knockout divisions, the difficulty level will increase as we go to the higher levels, since the strongest players will be progressing. Therefore, hopefully the 50/50 level will be maintained throughout. Similarly, for Speed divisions, the audience don't want to wait 5 minutes per battle, so one or two awkward tricks should fit into a list of more standard ones.

2) Difficulty
It is to be noted that kendama is getting more and more popular, so the standard is rising. For this reason, we like to "creep" the difficulty level up a little each year for repeat events.

3) Stage pressure
When considering the difficulty of tricks in the list, it must be remembered that trying a trick in practice is much easier than trying in competition. "On stage", "in front of an audience", and "when it matters" are all pressures that ramp up the difficulty. Even the best players can miss a seemingly simple "Around.." trick in competition.

4) Novelty
For repeat events, we also try to introduce new tricks each year. For this reason, we like to release the trick lists several months before the competition, to give players a chance to practice new tricks they don't know. But we have noticed that the majority of competitors sadly do not spend much time practicing the trick lists. It is quite typical to hear a player arrive at a competition and say "what's the trick list?" or "I don't understand number 15" or similar. For this reason, we try to keep some "familiar" tricks in the list, so that people do not have to learn a huge number of new tricks.

5) Variety
We try to keep the types of trick varied, so there are a mixture of Balance-, Around-, Air-, String-, Western-, Japanese -style tricks.

In recent times, we feel that we have arrived a well-balanced level of trick lists. The competitions now seem to run well, both in terms of audience enjoyment, speed, and eventual result.

But, we would be happy to hear your opinions. Do you think lists should be completely new each year? Would this make anyone less likely to enter? ("Too many tricks to learn") Should the lists be harder?


I think you sent me these suggestions when I asked for ideas to set the tricks for IKO, it worked out quite well.
Spanish Kendama Champion 2010, 2012, 2014-16
Depth Perception is Overrated.