Learn how to follow the Olympic rules of judo contests. This guide explains the basics of judo rules for scoring and judging international tournaments.
RULES OF JUDO: Judo is one of the most modern of all Japanese martial arts. It was originally developed around the early 1880s in Japan.
The traditional rules in judo techniques and its adaptive traits derive from an older martial art form called jujitsu.
Some rules for judo may seem a little confusing to the untrained eye. But, the word judo basically translates to 'gentle way'.
Thus, this simplified explanation will help beginners score and judge professional contests. The information in this guide comes from the IJF Judo Official Rules Book used in judo tournament rules.
After all, it has now become one of the most popular competitive sports. This came about after it made huge waves at the All-Japan Judo Championships in 1930.
Judokas became even more popularized two years later. That is when the rules of judo made their first formal appearance at the Los Angeles Olympics (as an exhibition sport).
Judo game rules became an official Olympic sport for men when Tokyo hosted the Games in 1964. The same thing occurred for women at Barcelona in 1992.
The aim of judo, as a competitive sport, is to beat your opponent on points. Competitors try to achieve a higher judo score - whilst displaying honour and grace.
A judo competition takes place on a mat called 'tatami' which measures 14 x 14 meters square. There is also a smaller combat square area of 10 x 10 meters marked inside the perimeter of the mat.
Each judoka (athlete) must wear a traditional uniform called a 'gi'. The gi originates from the kimono and other Japanese garments.
A competitor's gi must be durable enough not to tear or to rip during the battle. When a judoka's limbs get extended, the gi must be no more than 5cm above the ankles and wrists.
All competitors must wear a belt wrapped around the jacket. They must tie the belt with the traditional knot.
Athletes can achieve three different types of judo score in a bout:
There are two types of penalties awarded in judo:
As a rule, the contest should get officiated by three referees. Each referee should be of different nationalities than the two competing athletes.
There is usually one referee on the mat with a radio communication system. It connects to the two judges at the table of the mat who assist with a video CARE system. The referees get assisted by scoreboard keepers, timekeepers and contest sheet writers.
Judokas (judo athletes) win a match by either:
A period of 'Golden Score' ensues in situations where the scores are identical at the end of a bout. This overtime period means the first score of any kind wins the match for the athlete
Hantei (the majority decision of the referee and the two corner judges) decides the contest if the scores are still level at the end of this extra period.
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IJF Judo Rules 2021 PDF: [Free Download Option]
Olympic Judo Rules and Regulation used by Judokas in the United Kingdom