Last weekend, I was Tatami Manager at an open Karate tournament. The competition was for both kata and kumite The turnout was massive. Male and female participants of all ages, of various nationalities and from so many different styles and dojos from across the country.
It should have been an active, fun day of competition, with adrenaline flowing off the tatami and onto the medals' platform. The adrenaline was there. But I saw more of it from concerned, angry and frustrated coaches and parents off the tatami than from the competition arena.
With good reason, too! Kids who had been there since as early as 7:30 a.m. were still waiting for their event to be announced 12 hours later! The P. A. system was in audible at the galleries. People were asked (via the same P. A. system!) to leave the competition area and wait in the galleries till their event is announced. But nobody was actually there to usher them out; or back in, for that matter. There was no actual schedule of events.
Modifying rules, changing match times, and generally being a little flexible to ensure a smooth and quick competition are all acceptable practices. What is not, however, is a general lack of preparation. When organizing a tournament, it must be planned and scheduled to, first and foremost, finish at a reasonable hour. Everything from manpower requirements to refreshments; evaluation systems to appeals desk; and a pre-determined sequence of events; should be made available.
As martial artists, we should lead by example in being systematic and organized, and paying attention to details in every endeavour. That should also extend to event planning and management.