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Thread: having a vision for the hobby

  1. #21
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    This question goes to the heart of what a koi show is about. It is not the awards themselves. We all know the ranking of awards. This question relates to the recognition of excellence an award represents. It is not uncommon for there to be only a couple of fish seriously competing for top honors in each size and for grand champion overall. The winner is still the winner, but how competitive was the contest? When there are several in a size in serious contention, the judges' eyes must be especially keen. Nuanced differences become important. The award for Best in Size 4 may not rank at the top of the awards list, but to win it in such a competition is full of meaning. It recognizes excellence that is earned, and is not an award won by default. I would much rather win such an award than to take Best in Size 7 with the only Size 7 fish that did not get selected for a higher honor.

    That is absolutely the correct answer/response. I have judged size three and four kohaku in some of our more competitive ZNA shows and have seen ten to twenty fish show up as good competitors! The fish that wins that dog fight is truly an excellent show fish!
    yet I have judged many a koi show where there are at most, 3 fish that could compete for GC. Indeed, in most koi shows the GC becomes obvious on the first walk around the judges do. Don't get me wrong- it might be a world class show koi, but it just has no competition in the show.

    I once judged a Japanese koi show in the Beppu area of Japan. This is the home ZNA chapter of Dr Kuroki, a great showa lover and his chapter members reflected that love! The entry tank ( Japanese style show) was at least 15 X 10. In it swam 40 size three showa. That's NOT 40 bu, that's 40 fish competing! Now showa is one of the most difficult koi varieties to judge. One must be very careful to review the koi completely. The head judge turned to me and said " pick the top five". I had three minutes to give an answer. -- as an old friend used to say--"The color of adrenaline is brown". JR

  2. #22
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    LOL.

    I recall the first ZNA judging exercise in which I participated. I do not remember how few minutes there were to rank the 4 Showa according to their beni, and for sumi, and overall.... but it was far too few for me! And there were only 4 to rank! At that time, I learned a great deal from the discussion of rankings by the judge, who was from Japan. I learned nothing from the exercise of ranking the Showa. Since then, I've found I learn almost as much from going through the exercise as from what is explained afterwards. I did not know enough that first time to see what was in front of me. Perhaps in time the exercise will teach all, but I doubt I'll live that long.

  3. #23
    Daihonmei
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeM View Post
    LOL.

    I recall the first ZNA judging exercise in which I participated. I do not remember how few minutes there were to rank the 4 Showa according to their beni, and for sumi, and overall.... but it was far too few for me! And there were only 4 to rank! At that time, I learned a great deal from the discussion of rankings by the judge, who was from Japan. I learned nothing from the exercise of ranking the Showa. Since then, I've found I learn almost as much from going through the exercise as from what is explained afterwards. I did not know enough that first time to see what was in front of me. Perhaps in time the exercise will teach all, but I doubt I'll live that long.

    yes, the judging seminars are really for the local certified judges to keep sharp and to fulfill their continuing education requirements. But it is also a very good opportunity for serious exhibitors to 'feel' what it is like to actually judge a koi show. Time is very much part of judging a 200 fish koi show. And making a decision is part of that pressure within a reasonable period of time. Like golf, judging koi takes time and practice.

    You KNOW you are a student of koi however when you can take the visual memory of four koi and study them in your mind long after you have left the actual fish vat.
    Often on the way home from judging a koi show, I review the 'rounds' and 'selections' in my mind. Some are confirmations, other rounds teach a new lesson and still others will bring out a twing of 'judges remorse as some fish are just very very close in ranking.

    As you know, the judging experience in ZNA is that of an apprenticeship training style. That is why it is so important for the head judge to communicate with the DC as to the skills and lackings ( we all have them) of a trainee. We do not want to turn out an 'inferior product'!
    Several years ago, I instituted a policy that all trainees need to judge under senior ranked judges at least once in their training period and with the DC in their final show. By 'signing off' on a trainee we attest to the skills and readiness of a beginner judge within the ZNA core. In truth, five shows and a seminar or two is really not enough to judge koi shows as head judge or even assistant. It takes 20-25 shows to really get the task down IMHO.
    So when it comes to seminar challenges- try, in the future, to memorize the entries and compare the judges ranking to yours over and over after the fact, and see if you can't come to at the very least- an understanding as to WHY the ranking was the way it was. That review is worth the price of admission as you will have trained not just your eye ( which is the assumed goal of every trainee) but also your MIND'S eye. JR

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