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Tournament Scorekeeping

Scorekeeping at a Kendo tournament is an important job.  Keeping correct match time amd posting the winner of each match helps with the smooth operation of the tournament.  Tournaments can be long, drawn out affairs and be lengthened by incorrect information and disorganization.  The IKF rulebook outlines all the rules and procedures for conducting a tournament.  Unfortunately many of the people performing this important task have never had the chance to read the rulebook.  It is also quite a job to memorize it all.

Below is a handy instructional handout used by the Pacific Northwest Kendo Federation which has been updated for this web page.  It is not comprehensive but a quick guide to assist personnel working the tables.  If you would like to download the Word document click on the link below.

MS Word Format Scorekeeping Instructions

Please note that this page will display and print best on Internet Explorer 6.


TIMEKEEPERS (Tokei Gakari)


The timekeeper's job is extremely important to the integrity of each and every match. The time limit for the match and each overtime will be determined before each tournament but may change from one to the next (this is most noticeable when changing from children's to juniors or seniors matches).


1. Start and stop the time only at the start and stop of the match as

called out by the one head court judge (Shushin). The head court judge will

raise one or both flags, this is when time should be stopped.


2. When the clock is stopped, hold the yellow triangular flag up.


3. At the end of a match, do not reset the clock until both

participants have stepped out of the court.


4. When the match time runs out, stand up, hold the yellow flag up and yell "TIME!" immediately.


SCORE KEEPING (Kiroku Gakari)

Scorekeepers have the responsibility of keeping an accurate record of each match.


1. Points will be marked as follows:



(Strike to the head)

- M


(Strike to the wrist)

- K


(Strike to the torso)

- D


(Thrust to the throat)

- T


(Full point from two 1/2 point penalties)

- H


(Penalty - 1/2 point)



Victory by judges decision

- Ht


2. The first point scored in a match will be marked with a circle around it

(i.e. ,,, etc.)


3. In the event a point is granted and then taken away by the judges, it

will be recorded as the point with a single slash through it.

(i.e. ,,,, etc.)

4. If match time runs out, and:

a. the score is 1 to 0, write beside the match "Ippon gachi."


b. there is no winner by points, write beside the match "Encho" until a

point is granted in overtime by the judges. Remember to record the

winning point scored.


5. Two warnings for the same thing, or chui ( ), constitute a 1/2 of a

point or hansoku (). Two 1/2 points of hansoku () against a

competitor constitute a full point for his/her opponent , recorded as

( H ) hansoku.

Remember, score keeping gives a record of the matches, but it is not that

critical. In other words, don't worry about minor mistakes.


RIBBONS (tasuki)


Persons putting on and taking off ribbons have the following responsibilities:


1. Putting the ribbons on the next two or three persons to compete. You must find

these persons either by sight or calling their names out loudly. Persons not

responding to 3 loud calls will be considered forfeit.


As soon as the person is done competing, take off his/her ribbon. You may leave it

on if that person is to fight again soon (within 1 or 2 matches) and will be the same



2. For team matches, put ribbons of the appropriate colors on each team member

before the team bows in. When putting ribbons on, make the tails hang at even

lengths. Generally, the head court judge's (shushin) right hand is always the red ribbon side. On the score sheet, the top person in a bracket will be red and the bottom person white.


Each ribbon person should have a roster of the competitors' lineup. If you do not have

one, ask the court coordinator for one.


Your job is very important to the smooth and efficient operation of the taikai. Persons

not ready to compete because they did not know they were next or they did not have a

ribbon can be alleviated by following the guidelines on this sheet.


Generally, the table scorekeepers will use flip cards or operate light boxes, flip over (expose to shinpan) one card or turn on one light of the appropriate color for each full point awarded by the head court judge. Remember to flip back all cards or turn off all lights before the beginning of each new match.


Referee's Announcement & Use of the Flags








Commands of the Match




Start of match



End of/stop in match

Both flags held straight up


Start of Nihonme (2nd Point)

One flag is brought down


Resume match @ at 1pt to1pt

One flag is brought down

Encho; Hajime

Beginning of OT- extension



End of Match

One flag is brought down


Ippon-gachi One point match win

Flag of winners side raised


Fusengachi Victory without fighting

One flag upward 45 angle to the body


A draw

Both flags held crossed overhead with red in front

Hansoku Ikkai

one Hansoku

One flag downward 45 angle to the body

Hansoku nikkai, Ippon-ari

Point given for 2 penalties

One flag downward 45 angle to the body, then one flag upward 45 angle to the body


When tsuba-zeriai has come to a stalemate. Match time is not stopped.

Raise both flags straight forward and then call Hajime a nd lower flags.



Consultation of referees

Both flags are held in the right hand and raised up


Point Announcement





Valid strike to Men

One flag upward 45 angle to the body


Valid strike to Kote

One flag upward 45 angle to the body


Valid strike to Do

One flag upward 45 angle to the body


Valid strike to throat or breas

One flag upward 45 angle to the body









Fouls and Other Terms




Committal of a Foul

One flag (or both) downward 45 angle to the body


Penalty; out of bounds

One flag (or both) downward 45 angle to the body

Shinai hanashi

Letting go or losing one's shinai

One flag downward 45 angle to the body


Tripping opponent

One flag downward 45 angle to the body


Violent and rough play

One flag (or both) downward 45 angle to the body


Taking the point away

After bringing down the flag and wave 2 flags sideways


Forfeit point, no Zanshin

One flag upward 45 angle, then down



Flags crossed in front of lower body


Refusing to recognize point

Flags lowered and waved back and forth in front of body

Kousei O Gaisuru Koui

Unsportsmanlike conduct

One flag upward 45 angle to the body



One flag upward 45 angle to the body


Use of prohibited equipment

One flag upward 45 angle to the body


Copyright © 2002

Site Disclaimer: This website is posted for informational purposes only about Kendo in the United States. Information on this website is posted from many different sources and every effort is made to post accurate information. The study of Kendo must be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor and with proper equipment. Failure to do so could result in serious injury or death. Errors may occur and users use this site without warranties of any sort implied and at their own risk.