The decision of the fight is in their hands.
Ringside at every Rebellion Muay Thai bout are three judges. They rule the game. The decision of the fight is in their hands.
And Shane Byrne is one of the judges that sits ringside at Rebellion. He shares 3 key insights on judging Muay Thai.
1: There has to be an effect for it to score
Bryne is former fighter who started in martial arts at 19 years old.
He turned to Muay Thai at 22 and ran a gym in Australia for over a decade. His work as a judge began 15 years ago, because he wanted to have an effect on the sport.
After studying through several courses he submitted his application to judge.
“To apply for the Combat Sports Board of Australia,” Byrne said. “You need to go through some regulations through that as well.”
The process involved shadow judging. Sitting next to an experienced official and seeing how they scored it and why. He learned on the job.
“It was watching lots and lots of fights and seeing what was scoring. And, if I came to the conclusion that I scored that fight wrong, it was like, ‘Oh, what have I missed,’” Byrne said.
He would go back and review the fight.
Pro Tip: You Can Watch Rebellion Muay Thai fights here and practice your scoring!
The determining factor for fights was “landing, clean, effective strikes. Taking somebody’s balance with their strikes. And having nice strong technique,” Byrne said. “There has to be an effect for it to score.”
Being busy and volume are not indicative of scoring. Being active does not equal effect.
This simple concept shows itself in several ways during the fight.
“Somebody getting into a clinch and just throwing knees up that’s not scoring. It's pushing that center, driving the knee through that center. The quick technique that's not scoring. They're not putting a hundred percent effort into,” Byrne said.
Returning to a stabilized position is also a key concept.
“They've got good balance after they've thrown the technique,” Byrne said. Being off balance is a sign that a shot is ineffective.
A final situation is catching the kick.
”Somebody catches a kick and they’re not moving to the side,” Byrne said. “It's landing. Some people forget that that's a scoring shot as well.”
2: Keeping Track Of The Score
With the quick action in high level fights it’s important to focus.
Byrne keeps his eyes on the fight, especially in close bouts. Byrne writes notes between rounds. This allows him to bring up areas of discussion amongst the officials. He writes at least three things on why he scored the round one way or another.
He also uses a very practical device when scoring. He uses his pen as a pendulum.
“As someone scores I'll move the pen one way or another. So I always know where I am in a fight,” Bryne said,
This comes especially handy when there are pauses in the action due to fouls, or technical issues. If the judge doesn’t have something physical in front of them, it’s easy for them to lose their way.
Other judges used their fingers to count scores on one hand for red, and the other hand for blue.
3. Understanding The 10 Point Must System
The basis of scoring is the ten point must system.
“A 10-10 round is an even round. You can’t give the round to either fighter,” Byrne said.
“A 10-9 round you have a winner for the round.
A 10-8 round can be a knockdown and a clear win of that round. Or it could be total domination of a round. There doesn't need to have a knockdown. It could be just total domination.”
A 10-7 are two knockdowns in that round.”
At the end of the fight the scores are collected. The winner’s hand goes up in victory.
For Byrne judging at Rebellion is fun. But it’s not easy. The fights are often equal.
“The matchups are close. Sometimes you can walk into an event and think, 'That's a strong fighter for that particular opponent,'” Byrne said. “But Rebellion they're well matched and have been doing it for quite a few years now.”
Make sure to tune in for more close fights. As Rebellion is excited for its next installment on August 12th.