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The Rules Of Judo

Judo is a game of controlled aggression that features various rules and regulations that ensure the safety to the participants but still allows for a good showing of elite martial art skills. As a competitive sport, the simple aim in a Judo bout is to beat the opponent. To win a Judoka must score more points than his/her opponent by using various techniques. Points are awarded for well-executed throws or holds, and penalties are given for infringements against the rules. Judo is completed on a tatami (mat) with the measurements ranging from fourteen by fourteen meters to a smaller ten by ten meter Tatami. Judokas have to wear the traditional uniforms called a Gi worn with a belt.

Figure 1: A referee enforcing the rules and watching over a Judo bout.


There are three official ways to score in Judo:

If a Judoka is awarded an Ippon (one full point), then they automatically win the match as an Ippon is the highest score that a Judoka can receive and results in immediate victory. A Judoka can earn an Ippon by throwing their opponent on their back or putting their opponent in a hold that forces them to submit.

The second best score is a Waza-ari (half point) if a Judoka is awarded two Waza-ari points this translates into an Ippon, and they win the match. Waza-ari's are awarded for holding down an opponent for a lesser time as compared to an Ippon or for more secondary throws.

The last score that can be gained is the Yuko (moderate advantage) acquired for short holds and locks and less effective throws. A Waza-ari point is greater than any number of Yuko points


Figure 2: The referee’s hand held up high means he has awarded an Ippon to the Judoka in blue.


Judokas must bow before stepping onto the Judo mat. Judokas must also bow to each other before the competition begins and this also rule is also in effect during practice sessions

Judokas must wear appropriate Gis. The Gi's must be no more than five centimeters above the ankles and wrists.

For International competitions such as the Olympics, the regulation time for a Judo bout for men is five minutes and four for the women. There is no extra time; therefore if a match ends with no winner, then the Judoka's compete in a sudden death round. If after the sudden death round there is no winner then the decision will rest with the referee and the corner judges

Once a bout is over the Judokas must face each other and wait for the referee to indicate to them who the winner of the fight is. After the referee has indicted the  winner, the Judokas have to bow to each other before leaving the mat 

Penalties are awarded for Shido (minor) infringements or Hansoku-make (major) infringements. If a player receives four Shido, his/her opponent will be granted an Ippon. If the opponent receives one Hansoku-make, then his/her opponent is awarded an Ippon and automatically wins the match. 

Judokas are not allowed to use illegal techniques such as attacking opponents' joints that are not the elbows. Judokas are not authorized to punch or kick opponents, and they are also barred from touching their opponents' face. Deviance is also not allowed, and Judokas cannot intentionally injure their opponents in any way.

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