Hey! Pavel Ershov here.
Sometimes, a CEO can kick ass at both physical and digital things in life (being humble is a virtue, yes). So, since I’m an expert at Wushu, and especially its subtype Tuishou (aka Pushing hands), I made a system that connects viewers, referees, and contestants together in a single dashboard. Just for fun, because I can, and because it’s worthwhile to keep the tradition of martial arts intact—unless it comes to administrative work.
This short case will tell my story, and what I built with Directual in my spare time.
Wushu (more commonly known as Kung Fu) is the most popular type of sport in China, with tens of millions actively practicing it. It’s an unofficial Olympic sport, too. There are a number of disciplines in Wushu, one of which is Tuishou. It’s focused on exploiting the balance between opponents, instead of meeting force with force. Basically, you find the tipping point to throw your opponent off-balance and off the square mat you’re fighting on. The one to remain on the mat wins.
I practice Wushu a lot—been doing that for more than four years now (special thanks to my shifu (“master” in Chinese) Anton). Twice a year, I attend the country-wide alternative (unofficial) tournament called Legends of Tuishou. At some point, I decided to digitalize the ole’ paper system into something everyone can enjoy.
Wushu is ancient. So is the administrative part of the tournament. The rating system is point-based: from -2 to 4 (-2 for glaring misconduct, and 4 for putting your opponent down or off the mat). Traditionally, the referees would put everything on paper during the tournament, and then have someone boost back and forth to update the information on the screen. Usually, that’s the case because there are a number of fights going on simultaneously. It’s really hard to keep track of live events, especially as a viewer.
Thus came the idea to use Directual to automate everything, and make sure viewers, referees, contestants, and the main screen are all synced.
I built it together with Nikita. Yup, we’re the OGs!
Backend – Directual
Frontend – also Directual
A fully synced tournament management system.
Referees can access the system on their tablets and quickly input their scores, live. The information is automatically fed to the main screen where the viewers can see the updates live.
The contestants apply for the tournament by providing their name, category, gender, and weight. They have their own account on the website, along with the rule section and stats. Based on their parameters, they are automatically assigned to the right group. At the beginning of the tournament, the referees double-check the information and reassign contestants that should be in different groups (you lose weight, you gain weight—it’s a standard procedure).
The main screen shows every active fight, with the point-based system updated live. By going to the event’s website, you can also sort the information by a particular referee. The data is fed via WebSockets.
The viewers get to participate as well. Every registered viewer can cast three votes for the most popular contender, and the winner gets an extra prize at the end of the tournament. A video recording is also automatically provided once the tournament is over, one for each category, with an archive available on the website.
Finally, the administrators can configure the settings for the tournament, accept/refuse participants, and manage customization.
Let’s take a look at the details! Here is what was built into the tournament management system.
I’ve made a form the applicants can use to offer their participation in the tournament. The data includes their physical data, the school or league that they represent, and, of course, their weight. The scenario behind this form automatically arranges each applicant into the correct category.
The administrators have full control over the categories. For instance:
30 people have applied for the 70-80kg bracket. Whatever should we do? The answer is: split the bracket into two separate groups: 70-76 and 77-80kg respectively.
The scenario will automatically rearrange the applicants into their respective groups, and everyone’s happy!
Every mat that has contestants on it usually has 3 referees. They are pretty easy to spot, as they dress in black and white and wear a bow tie. One of them is the chief referee, overseeing the entire process, shouting out the points as they come and go. The other two manage the process via their tablets—information updates mostly.
If we are to talk data, every secondary referee is responsible for one of the contestants. Thus, a protocol is formed to manage it, and it has objects tied to it, such as scores (every score has a timestamp on it). If the referee makes a mistake, it can be canceled immediately. The system automatically crunches the numbers down and outputs the median score, which is then shown on the main live screen.
On top of that, the main screen has a timer component (available on the Marketplace) on it, which shows how many seconds the contestants have left to yeet each other off the mat.
Once a certain weight bracket competition is over (usually that takes about an hour), the system automatically highlights the top three leading contestants.
Every single spectator has the ability to register on the platform and vote for their contestant of choice. That extends to both live and online spectators. Every spectator gets three votes they can use. Directual’s synchronic scenario sums the votes and doesn’t allow users to put more than 3 votes forward.
While it’s a blast to see championships live, you learn by analyzing everything you can lay your eyes on. Not everyone can participate in the event as it happens, either.
That’s why the platform also offers championship archives, where anyone can view every single recorded championship. Not just the footage: the scores are also there (alongside the timestamps). If you’d like to see how they work, hop in here (but be warned: it’s in a tricky language).
Because…I am one of the founders. The entire system took less than 3 days to build—and that’s just spending a few hours here and there. With every new tournament, some new additions are requested, and it takes something like 30 minutes to introduce them.
In terms of technology, Directual fits the bill on every front. Introducing new features has been a breeze so far, and I can’t see how that’s going to change any time soon.
Big plans! By the time the next tournament comes around, we’ll have live feedback via Youtube, translate the platform to Chinese (so that our Chinese friends can also watch and vote as well with more ease), and whatever else the tournament hosts would desire. It’s always a pleasure for me.
Got questions about this case study you’d like to ask? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org or hop into the communities listed in the footer of the page.
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