Shodohai Equipment

Shodohai and club competition equipment

To run a shodohai or similar event you will need the following minimum equipment:

A suitable matted area with a safety surround. (Usually 1m of red mat)
The competition area for an aikido shiai match is 9x9m square. But not all clubs have this amount of space. It is important to ensure that the players are safe, and this may include placing people around a possible obstruction or hazard to keep players away or ensuring that the mats do not move during the bout.

A timekeeper with a stopwatch set for 1m30sec.
Most mobile phones have a stopwatch app. It is good to get at least 2 people learning this job and rotating them with the players.

A scorekeeper with a large easily visible scoreboard and whiteboard marker pens.
The best scoreboards are made from magnetic whiteboards. This is so that magnetic circles can be used to denote shido on the board. But if not, ordinary whiteboards can be used and a red marker pen used to draw in shido points. (see below for a diagram of a scoreboard.) It is good to get at least 2 people learning this job and rotating them with the players.

3 or 5 referees.
Ideally, there are 5 referees for embu. But this may not be possible. The minimum number is 3. Shushin control the rei ho (bows), direct the players to their positions, and start the embu. They call for a decision “hantei” at the end of the embu. All referees raise their chosen flag on shushin’s command simultaneously. Referees should rotate around so everyone gets a chance to be shushin.

3 or 5 pairs of flags (white and red).
Flags are easy to make. You need some red material and some white material cut and sewn into squares and attached to lengths of dowel wood. Make sure they are attached as calls are made vigorously and flags can fly off the end! The red flag is held in the hand nearest to the red player. The red player is always to the right of shushin.

Marker tape to mark on the mat the starting point of players.
Players need to know where to stand on the mat and this is denoted by a line of tape. It doesn’t matter what kind of tape it is, so long as it is sturdy enough to withstand players feet sliding over it. Gaffer tape is very good.

Red and white sashes for the competitors to wear over their belts.
Any length of light red and white material will suffice. Red and white belts are not ideal since they are thick and are going over the players own belts. Also, if you have white and red belts competing it can get very confusing for referees!

Competition formatted sheets of paper to write down the competitors and results.
Different competition formatted sheets can be downloaded from this page.

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