by Cichorei Kano Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:42 am
AmbientFire wrote:what does the term Waza ari (技あり) actually mean? I know that 技 means "technique", but what does the "ari" portion mean? is it a form of 在る "aru" (to have)? Am I correct in wondering if a hyper-colloquial translation would be akin to "There be a technique!/that's a technique!" (or should i say pirate coll.?) ("Waza ari!") or is it literally as Wikipedia suggests, "half a point!"?
any and all help is appreciated!
It means that there is a (valid) technique but lacking for being awarded ippon and thus the end of the match. To understand this you have to pictures yourself in the days when jûdô wa still jûdô and not disco. Just have a look at the videoclip which Budo Italy posted in the competition section and which depicts the 1961 world championships. You see people being thrown flat on there back and the contest simply goes on. It isn't the kind of perverted judo you see to day where someone goes sit on their knees and then touches the tatami with their shoulder and gets awarded ippon. Nope, there only were to awards: ippon, and waza-ari. Ippon, really was the equivalent of throwing someone that hard if this would happen outside he would be out and no longer move. Waza-ari were techniques where you still would throw your opponent hard and mostly on his back but either lacked some control, some promptness or some speed. For example, a tomoe-nage where you threw your opponent hard and flat on his back, but where before that occurred, he kept hanging in the air for some time, could maximally score waza-ari. There was no yûkô and no kôka, so saying that "there is a technique" was sufficient for people to know because in the other case if more than just a technique it would have been ippon, and if less, nothing.
No, it does not literally mean "half a point". "Half point" in Japanese would be something like "hanbun pointo", which is not jûdô terminology. Assigning the meaning "half point" to waza-ari comes from its mathematical value in the sense that obtaining twice waza-ari, makes ippon. You also have to consider the meaning of this in the time that a single ippon did not suffice to be a winner, and that you had to score two ippon to win a match. The mathematical value of waza-ari was thus important, just as it still is if the contest does not follow a single- or double-elmination system, or the former "Brazilian" system.