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Thread: doing my koi homework

  1. #11
    Daihonmei dick benbow's Avatar
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    I find the same thing true with bonsai. In japan, you'd not see a tree shown that wasn't ready, not so here in the states.

  2. #12
    Nisai
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    Interesting Point...

    But here is the question i have - where does it become unacceptable to enter a koi into a show? (note:- I only say enter not win)

    Old Injury that has led to a clipped Pec?

    Missing Barbel on a 90cm+ GC level koi?

    Slightly deformed Mouth that 90% of the viewing public will never notice on a stunning koi?

    Lets face it i often see Showa that are riddled with defects, pointy heads, short tail tubes, twisted mouths, the list seems to go on and on. From very minor stuff to the obviously horrendous. If we simply said ZERO defects then it suddenly becomes impossible to sustain and people would simply hardly own a koi and the amount of show koi would drop dramatically.

    Its interesting that you guys have used the car paintwork analagy as this i can relate to as i have been in this career all my working life. I now work for a very high end sports car manafacturuer in the final paintwork rectification process. We CANNOT work for perfection.... it isn't achieveable... we would never get a car passed to sales if we did, so we operate a standard process that we stick to of differing levels of acceptable. Now this varies upon car type, colour and even the country the car is being sold too. (Interestingly Japan has a much higher audit standard than any other country we ship to in the world) We actually call it - Jap Spec - and it is accepted that this car will be difficult to achieve this standard of quality BUT they pay extra for it!! BUT... even then the standard is not ZERO defects - because it isn't possible in manafacturing and least not with a human element because......

    back to koi....

    I don't think its as clear cut or ideal as we think it should be. It often seems to me that its subjective / based upon personal opinion and this is another example of that i feel. As someone pointed out earlier there has been a slackening in entries allowed to keep numbers of exhibitors / koi entries up. Now the level i operate at in this hobby most if not all of my koi have defects of one kind or another from minor to a plain old stuck open mouth (which doesn't go to shows incidently)... if they ruled a ZERO DEFECTS POLICY all that would happen is i would stop showing all my koi - would i get rid of them and only buy koi i could show? - no i wouldn't, i would just think stuff the shows - which is probably worse for the hobby than a few defects that 90% of the viewing public would never spot.

    I realize this probably makes me part of the problem but i don't see how we can sustain a hobby without something having to give.

  3. #13
    Nisai
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    I think for the US let people enter what they like. they will anyway. It is up to the Judges to protect the Standards and educate. Let the Judge Gods sort it out. Then eventually people will have to see what they can get away with and what not to bring.

  4. #14
    Daihonmei
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    Well this then begs the point-- People travel from all over the world to see Japanese koi shows. Why? I'd submit they do this because the expectation and standard of entry is so high.
    Personally I was SHOCKED to see the level of deformities present at the last All Japan Shinkokai show. The members were pumped and cajoled to bring out of retirement the best of the best (yesterday’s fish).
    The effect was interesting. Upon first glance the look of the show was eye popping. And from a historical perspective the it was fascinating seeing some of the older gals of the past ( like seeing Liz Taylor, Raquel Welsh and Joan Collins). Very cool.
    But then on critical review there were more bends in that show than on a banana boat! One was truly pressed to find a fish that was NOT carrying some defect or deficiency.
    This was VERY disappointing to one that has seen the ALL JAPAN when it was THE show of shows.
    There is no question that when koi get 90 cm we need to begin to accept some of life’s bumps and bruises. And it is indeed ridiculous to try and knock a world class super jumbo for small defects of time. But at a point— an invisible line is crossed and it no longer becomes something a judge or a koi god can over look. At some point, the Emperor has no clothes on and western dealers who hunt for these hard to see defects will spread the misteaching to the west. Remember, the standard of expectation is low in the beginner community and the dealers will always test this line. It is where the real profit is, to buy a fish for 3 K and sell it for 12K because the buyer has not been educated to see the reason why it is only a 3K fish. JR

  5. #15
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by koiboi31 View Post
    Interesting Point...

    But here is the question i have - where does it become unacceptable to enter a koi into a show? (note:- I only say enter not win)

    Old Injury that has led to a clipped Pec?

    Missing Barbel on a 90cm+ GC level koi?

    Slightly deformed Mouth that 90% of the viewing public will never notice on a stunning koi?

    Lets face it i often see Showa that are riddled with defects, pointy heads, short tail tubes, twisted mouths, the list seems to go on and on. From very minor stuff to the obviously horrendous. If we simply said ZERO defects then it suddenly becomes impossible to sustain and people would simply hardly own a koi and the amount of show koi would drop dramatically.

    Its interesting that you guys have used the car paintwork analagy as this i can relate to as i have been in this career all my working life. I now work for a very high end sports car manafacturuer in the final paintwork rectification process. We CANNOT work for perfection.... it isn't achieveable... we would never get a car passed to sales if we did, so we operate a standard process that we stick to of differing levels of acceptable. Now this varies upon car type, colour and even the country the car is being sold too. (Interestingly Japan has a much higher audit standard than any other country we ship to in the world) We actually call it - Jap Spec - and it is accepted that this car will be difficult to achieve this standard of quality BUT they pay extra for it!! BUT... even then the standard is not ZERO defects - because it isn't possible in manafacturing and least not with a human element because......

    back to koi....

    I don't think its as clear cut or ideal as we think it should be. It often seems to me that its subjective / based upon personal opinion and this is another example of that i feel. As someone pointed out earlier there has been a slackening in entries allowed to keep numbers of exhibitors / koi entries up. Now the level i operate at in this hobby most if not all of my koi have defects of one kind or another from minor to a plain old stuck open mouth (which doesn't go to shows incidently)... if they ruled a ZERO DEFECTS POLICY all that would happen is i would stop showing all my koi - would i get rid of them and only buy koi i could show? - no i wouldn't, i would just think stuff the shows - which is probably worse for the hobby than a few defects that 90% of the viewing public would never spot.

    I realize this probably makes me part of the problem but i don't see how we can sustain a hobby without something having to give.
    My response to your example is that there is a point where the exhibitor should not bring a fish. And if the game is to try and enter fish hoping the judges miss the defect then what kind of winner is that fish???
    As I say in a previous post, the koi show is:

    A beauty contest and a competitive when the best of the best and the worst of the worst might compete against one another to find the best or the least worst.
    It is also a live stock exhibition- and in this description we are weeding out the unsound and those that have the potential to pass along genetic defects to future generations.
    Any time you breed and inbreed animals you intensify the positive ( the looks) but also concentrate the negatives. This is why we have dog breed with so many congenetical defects. people can't resist breeding a fine specimen even if it's hips are dysfunctional and the dog is destine to be in pain the rest of it's life and likely need to be put down at an early age.
    In koi, we try and concentrate rare recessive genes for a phenotype or look. If we overlook showa with bad mouth defects we see more and more defects as the years go by. It is something we have come to expect actually. This may be reality but is it the right thing to do?



    It is important for the budding exhibitor to understand that there are deformities that koi are born with and deformities that are caused by living and life's accidents/disease. Both will knock your koi down in the judging. Indeed some deformities are the benching team’s responsibilities (something that most benches avoid doing like a root canal!) and then there is the moral responsibility of the exhibitor.
    An example we can all agree upon I think is a showa with a missing eye. This may be from a birth defect or from an injury. Doesn’t really matter as this is a beauty contest. The issue is not likely a breeding problem. If the own things because it is a showa the missing eye will be missed if the fish is in shallow water- I content that this is immoral. If the bencher handles the koi while measuring and sees the missing eye and says to himself “let the judges worry about it" then the bencher has failed the show. If the judge misses it and makes it Grand Champion that is their own reputation and future credibility. We all play a role and we all have a responsibility to make a show sound and educational and to protect the gene pool from concentrating congenital deformities via winning show fish. JR

  6. #16
    Nisai
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    JR,

    Have to say your perspective of the All Japan is one i was more expecting as i have never visited it. Only the Wakagoi koi show i have visited - I was quite surprised at Koidoc's - "you don't see deformed koi in Japanese koi shows" statement but could not be openly saying i felt he was wrong as i have not seen with my own eyes in the flesh and was only relying on comments from hobbyist friends who have been a few times.

    I wonder if the fact that we are seeing deformaties more often in koi shows both in Japan and abroad is because:-

    i). A reflection of a tougher hobby and we are letting koi slip through benching as we have talked about.

    ii). We are as a general rule more "open eyed" and seeing them when we wouldn't have maybe in the past.

    iii). Pushing the limits of breeding genetics in the quest for size over the years has had an effect.

    I happen to think its probably all of the above. I know Ray Jordan when he put together the History of the All Japan on another forum often referred to "catch up" when the size was ahead of the quality. I wonder if this is our catch up time and we are missing it as we are living it rather than looking back through time and trends.

    I think IMO there needs to be a balance of DQ - If say i as a hobbyist brings a koi that COULD have its health affected by and injury or deformity while in the vat then its and automatic DQ. However, if a 90cm stunning koi is missing one barbel and there is no infection - let it stand - but note to the owner and on the benching cert.

    As an exhibitor i try never to have an expectation of ANY success so if i take a koi with a minor defect then i am not looking to "beat the judges" i am just taking the best koi i have on the day to the show. If they do well great - equally if they don't still great as people will have seen the koi and some i hope will have enjoyed them. I see koi shows as a beauty contest from two points of view

    a). The judged one that they and the exhibitors particiapte in with an official set of results.

    b). The one the visitors see and personally enjoy and in particular before the results are known. Forming their own opinions.

    I liked the point somebody made earlier that it is about as hobbyist understanding the koi that is in front of you either with or without its defects. As long as when they purchased it they were aware and they can live with it - then in a way that's ok. We ALL have to make sacrifcies with our budgets as long as you know the sacrifices you are making then you are growing as a hobbyist.

  7. #17
    Nisai
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    When I say we see less defects in the Japan show I was thinking more of the missing or deformed items more than the spine bends. It does make sense as the fish get longer at the shows that more bends show up. It has been a long time since I have been to the show. When top sizes were around 90 bu and there were more fish to compete, I think there was less bent spines. I think as you push the 100 bu, we start to see more bends. Hard to keep those long fish straight and also move them without helping to bend the spine. When my Chagoi got to 40 inches it started to bend. It seemed to concide with me taking it to its last show for a jumbo award. I retired it to a large home one acre pond after that, to live out it's days and no body to hurt it anymore. I am not sure but maybe it was me being stupid and moving her. Trying just Nicole and I to get it out of the pond.
    While we are on the Japan Show, imagine how much harder it is to find defects in say 16" fish when they are judged in a bag. I would think if you had a great pattern on a smaller fish now you could slip it easier into the Japan Show.
    I think it takes a trained eye to spot spine bends and sometimes two judges can not agree. I have seen several fish that I would bet the farm on that were bent but when I suggest the same to the other judges they do not see it, or do not want to see it and say it is an optical illusion due to color. Many times if it is close I do not even bring it up anymore but rather just reflect it in my order of finish when I am asked. Not many DQ"S anymore. People are afraid to offend anyone so when the Koi are left in for judging, I just vote the fish last. Then others can agree with me or not.
    What I meant as far as American shows is that people are going to bring what they bring. The average hobbyist eye is not as advanced as the Japanese hobbyists eye. This is not a cut against American hobbyists but they do not get to see as many good fish to learn in one place at a time as Japanese do. I have had hobbyists arguing against the whole group of judges that they do not see it and sometimes you just have to say Ok and just walk away. If JR and I lived in Japan you would find us every weekend up in the mountains sitting for hours by one large vat doing our Homework. I would love to hook up with JR to study as I think we have similar eyes and similar opinions on what is acceptable and what is not. I am a little more adament about what I think is OK and not OK and I speak my mind. That is how I became the hobbyists friend as I told it like it is. But at the same time not every other judge liked me because I was called "Adament". I was told by the AKCA Judging Comm that I was too pushy. I am still amazed as fish that judges still say are"OK". Or that say" It is not that bad or yes I see it, but the fish is still so good".
    I think the fish will still show up at American shows and to some extent at Japanese shows but it is up to the Judges to put their foot down on what can fly and what can not. Then we will not see that fish again and people slowly learn one fish at a time. The problem I think at least in America and other places is that Judges can not even agree on what is acceptable. I still bring it defects I see, as people should know but over the years I just get tired of people saying"OH that? That is not a big enough problem." Jim and I can preach all we want but we judge with a team. At least US shows are not judging in a bag yet.

  8. #18
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by koidoc View Post
    *** but it is up to the Judges to put their foot down on what can fly and what can not.
    Right. There is understandable concern that judges express themselves in a manner that does not discourage participants from entering fish in future shows. It is not easy to point out defects without hurting feelings. It is the judge, however, whose decisions determine the directions taken in the future of the hobby. Overlooking defects only encourages acquisition of more koi with defects. The greater duty of a judge is to the advancement of Nishikigoi. Slighting that duty to avoid giving offense to an individual is an offense to the hobby.

    Being kind does not require being blind.

  9. #19
    Daihonmei
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    we don't want to see koi shows become 'no keeping score kids soccer games where everyone gets a trophy at the end of the game, lest we damage some kids self image!
    pointing out a defect can upset and embarass a budding exhibitor- no doubt. And that is harmful to the ambitions of a local chapter who's goal is to grow membership and the hobby. On the otherhand, to dance around or avoid the lesson is to misteach for a 'higher good'. But is that good really higher?

    When I was an active exhibitor many years ago now, I would want a judge to tell me exactly what was good and not so good about a koi I thought was great. As I look at the old pictures of my past winners, I can now very easily see what was I liked about them and what they lacked. I don't think I would have gotten to this point if I was always told how wonderful my fish were ( and spared the obvious defects). I'd have a bigger ego of course ( if that is even possible LOLs) but I'd also feel like I was coddled and as a result, once I found out the truth, I'd feel like I was
    played as a fool. IMHO. JR

  10. #20
    Tategoi
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    Since the (Butterfly) Koi Gods and Goddess are Koi Judges in America, isn't it their fault for not being a good Judge.

    "I think for the US let people enter what they like. they will anyway. It is up to the Judges to protect the Standards and educate. Let the Judge Gods sort it out. Then eventually people will have to see what they can get away with and what not to bring. "

    With this being said, it is the judges fault for not educating the general public about Koi and Koi standards. Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who wants to learn about koi, so stop being Japanese (and Americans stop bowing) and start sharing instead of selling your skills, education and experience.

    So to sum it up, blame yourself (Gods) for not educating the non Gods and wanna be Gods.

    And JR is right, how do you expect to ever raise or hold the standard of Koi if Deform kois are Loved by Judges. And again, it's the Judges fault first because they are the all mighty Judge. How do you expect a newb to learn the hobby if there is not enough resources to learn from.

    From My experience, I want to learn koi.
    This by far is the best online forum to learn in. JR is also by far the best poster to learn from. But there is no archive that has a compiled learning section. Again, the I am a God part "Straight from Japan... For the Serious Hobbyist!". Look, Seriouse Hobbyist don't mean that you already know all there is to know... instead, there could be Seriouse Hobbyist that knows very little about koi... thus the search for knowledge. And I can't wait for JR's book. I hope its not too much Japanese culture history. However, I do want to know more about the lines/history of the gosanke.
    Akitsushima Tombo

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