Guest Post: Making your own luck in Goldern Score

This is a guest post from Tristan Greaves of http://extricate.org/
Tristan is a qualified football and Judo referee who often pops down to practice at Windsor Judo Club – his last post here was popular enough that we dragged him back for a second one.

Golden Score was changed at the beginning of the year to three minutes for seniors. However, it can be shorter than this depending on the circumstances at domestic events: Juniors may only get two minutes, or if time is really pressured just one!
Golden Score ends if a player gets a score (either directly or as a result of their opponent being penalised). The way you don’t really want it to end is if time runs out and the referee team have to make a decision (hantei).
Let’s go back a step further. Don’t let a contest go to Golden Score! Yes, this is a repeat of the usual ‘Go for the Ippon’ mantra but more contests than I would have liked went all the way to flags at the weekend. The removal of Koka has perhaps contributed to this but hopefully over time the technical base will develop and make it less likely. That said, a stalemate is a stalemate.
I do appreciate that a player may possibly let a contest go into Golden Score for strategic reasons: Their fitness may be superior to their opponents and they know that they can look a lot more ‘busy’ in order to appear superior, and thus gain the decision. This is rare to see though: Generally both players are equally tired.
So, you’re in Golden Score (After trying REALLY hard to get an Ippon but not quite getting it, of course). You’re going to keep going for that outright win, but want to have all bases covered should it go to decision. What now?
1. Remember the scoreboard is wiped. This includes penalties. More importantly, this includes the minds of the referees: Only the Golden Score time is counted if it goes to flags! You could have made five hundred more attacks in the preceding time period but it counts for nothing.
2. Valid attacks only. Just tapping your opponents legs every so often or ‘flopping’ will not count for anything. What is a ‘valid attack’ ? Definitions vary but two examples: Actual attempt at kuzushi and Tori must be putting themselves at risk to a counter.
3. Going for strangles, trying to pass the guard etc on the ground will generally NOT be counted. Securing Osaekomi will though, but it is MUCH easier to gain kinsas in the tachiwaza phase. NOTE: I’m taking this up with some senior referees – it has not been an issue for me so far (has not changed a decision…) but I want to be sure.
4. Some valid attacks count more than others. Both you and your opponent make strong Osoto Gari attacks. You are the one who gets knocked down, managing to land on your front. Your opponent’s attack counts for more.
5. ATTACK FIRST. Straight from the grip. If your opponent is going for drop throws then that ‘wastes’ time on the ground before you can try something yourself. Do it first!
6. Combinations. Put in flurries of attacks. Don’t just look busy.. actually be busy!
Just remember, if you can get a nice swift Ippon in the first 15 seconds of a judo contest, you don’t have to worry about any of this…

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