An analysis of the Degree of Difficulty ( a.k.a. the C-Score a.k.a Nandu)

By Roger Rosales (Actuary, Wushu Athlete/Coach/Judge)

The third score of a wushu athlete’s overall score in a taolu competition is the C-Score which evaluates the degree of an athlete’s chosen difficulty movements. If you are not familiar with wushu taolu difficulty movements, think about Olympic single’s figure skating. When a figure skater attempts a double or triple jump, the skater is trying to complete the required number of rotations in the air and land cleanly onto the ice. The same concept applies to competitive wushu taolu. The athlete chooses, beforehand, their difficulty movements in the form of jumps, tumbles, leg techniques, balances, and weapons throws and catches. In addition, the athlete may also choose a connection between or after difficult movements. For example, an athlete may elect to perform a jumping inside kick with 360 degrees rotation and land into a horse stance (in Chinese, that would be a Xuan Feij Jiao 360 into a Mabu). If the athlete takes no more than 4 steps before the jump, kicks with their toes at or above waist level, completes the required degree of rotation, and lands cleanly into the horse stance, they will get full points for that chosen difficulty combination.

The maximum number of C-score points that a taolu athlete can earn in a routine is 2 points. Let’s analyze how many C- score points each female changquan (longfist) earned by the event’s final rank in the 2017 World Wushu Championships.


Women’s Analysis

Women's Changquan Overal Score vs. Total C Score

Out of the 37 competitors in this event, 18 scored the maximum C-Score points of 2. In fact, the top 15 ranking athletes scored full points. Let’s look at the same plot by placing category.

Women's Changquan Overal Score vs. Total C Score by Placing

It is clear that if you want to place in the Top 10 in the world for female changquan, you need to score the full 2 points. You can really tell the strong athletes from the not-so-strong athletes in this C-Score distribution. Let’s look at box plots for each placing category.

Remember: Each color category will have its own box plot where the line through the middle of the box plot represents the Median (middle C-Score value of those group of competitors). The top of the box is the Upper quartile where 75% of the C-Score points in the category fall below that value. The bottom of the box is the Lower quartile where 25% of the C-Score points in the category fall below that value.

Women's Changquan Overal Score vs. Total C Score by Placing Box Plot

The box plots tell us that the Top 10 and Top 20 athletes really score high on C-Score (indicated by the green, yellow, and red dots). The Top 30 placing athletes had a median C-Score of around 1.70 and the Top 40 placing athletes had a median C-Score of around 1.35.

The summary table below gives us great insight into the number of C-Score difficulty movements that athletes miss, attempt, and the accuracy of getting those points.


Women’s Changquan 2017 World Wushu Championships: Analysis of C-Score
Average values are shown below for each Final Placing Category

Placing Category

Avg. Nandu Misses (Difficulty Movements including Connections)

Avg. Nandu Attempts

(Difficulty Movements including Connections)

Nandu Accuracy

Gold

0.0

9

100%

Top 10

0.0

12

100%

Top 20

0.4

12

97%

Top 30

1.5

12

88%

Top 40

2.1

12

75%

Total

1.1

12

91%

We can see from the summary table that again the top athletes are usually 100% accurate on their Nandu and as a result, earn full C-Score points. Also worth noting is that the gold winning athlete, Xue Wang, got full points on only 9 total difficulty movements including connections. The majority of athletes chose 12 total difficulty movements including connections and on average missed on one (1.1) of those attempts.

The final graphic below for women’s changquan shows us the spread of Nandu attempts in a routine. Many chose 12, followed by 13, followed by 11, and only 1 athlete chose 10 movements, while the gold winner attempted 9 difficulty movements including connections.

Women's Changquan Nandu Attempts


Men’s Analysis

Let’s apply the same analysis to Men’s Chanqquan at the 2017 World Wushu Championships. Again, let’s first look at the spread of C-Score earned points by final ranking for the event.

Men's Changquan Overall Score vs Total C ScoreAs you can see similar to the women, the top placing male athletes earned the full 2 points on their C-score. Let’s add color for each placing category to see the varying skill level.

Men's Changquan Overall Score vs Total C Score by Placing

Again, all of the Top 10 placing athletes scored full points. Even a majority of the Top 20 athletes scored full points. Let’s look at the box plots for each placing category.

Men's Changquan Overall Score vs Total C Score by Placing Box PlotThe skill level is quite high for the Top 30 placing athletes. We begin to see a drop off for the Top 40 and Top 50 athletes. Even if you are scoring 1.90 C-score points, it is difficult to place in the Top 30.

The table below breaks down the success rate of Nandu for each placing category.


Men’s Changquan 2017 World Wushu Championships: Analysis of C-Score
Average values are shown below for each Final Placing Category

Placing Category

Avg. Nandu Misses (Difficulty Movements including Connections)

Avg. Nandu Attempts

(Difficulty Movements including Connections)

Nandu Accuracy

Gold

0.0

9

100%

Top 10

0.0

12

100%

Top 20

0.2

11

98%

Top 30

0.5

12

96%

Top 40

0.7

12

94%

Top 50

2.1

12

82%

Total

0.7

12

94%

As we can see from the table, the men’s changquan competitors complete their Nandu at a high rate. The Top 10 average a 100% success rate on an average of 12 attempts. Overall, the average miss for a male changquan competitor is 0.7 moves out of an average 12 attempts (94%).

Now let’s look at the distribution of Nandu attempts for the male changquan competitors. We can plot the event’s final rank on the horizontal axis vs. the Total Nandu Attempts on the horizontal axis.

Men's Changquan Nandu Attempts

The simple plot shows us that most male changquan competitors attempted 12 difficulty movements including connections. The first place winner, Zhizhao Chang (China), received the full 2 C-Score points on only 9 Nandu attempts throughout his routine.

This analysis has shown us that for both male and female changquan, the top competitors complete their Nandu (difficulty movements including connections) in a highly accurate manner. The top place winners for both the women and the men only attempted 9 Nandu. Professional Chinese wushu taolu athletes usually attempt the highest level of difficulty moves, which as a reward carry the most point values. This is why they attempt less moves because the moves they do attempt, carry so much value. Most other competitors attempt 12 Nandu in their routine.

The key takeaways from this article on the C-Score score is:

  1. To compete with the best, you need to be perfect on your Nandu. You cannot afford to lose any of the 2 points if you are trying to be in the Top 10.
  2. Most changquan competitors attempt 12 difficulty movements including connections. If you are attempting the most difficult moves (C-level), you can model the strongest athletes by getting your full Nandu points on only 9 attempts.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the C-Score, which evaluates an wushu taolu athlete’s degree of difficulty. In the future, I hope to break down the Nandu combinations that athlete choose in their routine. Also, it would be interesting to break down the missed Nandu by difficulty moves vs. connections.

Jiayou! (or how we say it here, Jiayo!)
-Roger Rosales

Roger Rosales

Article and analysis by Roger Rosales FSA CERA
Roger Rosales is a wushu coach and athlete at Summit Wushu Academy (Portland, Oregon USA) and is the head wushu instructor at Oregon Hope Chinese School Wushu Program. He is a Certified Taolu Judge in the Pan-America Region. Professionally, Roger is a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries who analyzes risk and opportunity on a day to day basis. Follow him on Instagram at roger_wushu and if you have other Wushu data ideas or if you (or your school) need help analyzing your data, feel free to email him at rosalesjrr@gmail.com.

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