Rules of Judo | How it is Played?

Some people may confuse it with Karate, but it is different. Karate is a relatively old sport while Judo was developed in the 19th century. It is a modern martial art game developed by professor Jigoro Kano, who was born in Kikage, Japan.

Kano studied under one of the finest practitioners of his time and developed his excercises/game called Judo. Slowly and gradually, the game made progress and soon became an international sport.

Rules of Judo

Judo became an official sport for men when Tokyo hosted the olympic games in 1964 and for women in 1992 when the games were held in Barcelona.

Object of Playing Judo

Although it looks like wrestling or a casual fighting game, the game of Judo is based on martial art and it is mandatory to follow the rules and legal ways to win points over your opponent. Not only by taking you down but your opponent also wins points whenever you cause minor or major infringements.

How to Play?

Judo is a combination of Martial arts and wrestling. Two players try to take down each other by using the legal moves and judges allot points based on the cleanliness of their moves. These points serve as the criteria of choosing the winner if no participant manages to pin down his opponent.

Unfortunately, Judo can’t be explained in 3 lines. Infringements in Judo are classified in different categories, and it is essential to learn them because some of them dictate disqualification of the offender from the game in case of those violations. You can learn all about them in the Rule of Judo discussed below.

Time Duration of Judo

The game is played in one period of 4 minutes and the one who scores the most points in this duration wins the game.

General Rules of Judo

  • Generally a Judo game is won by the player who scores an ippon. But if no ippon is awarded, then the player with highest marks (from judges) wins the game.
  • If the game is tied, then it is decided by a period of golden score. And if it still remains a tie, then judges choose the winner.
  • Penalties are awarded for major and minor violations of the rules. 4 minor penalties or 1 major infringement can result in ippon to the opponent.
  • You can’t touch an opponent’s face, attack his joints, kick him or intentionally injure the opponent in any way.

Equipment in Judo

There is no equipment required, players usually wear traditional Judo dress which is quite similar to the one worn during Karate games.

Judo Field

Judo is played on mats measuring 14m x 14m, with a combat area of 10m x 10m.

Referee in Judo

The referee stands in the middle of the contest and he examines the severity of infringement, rendering all Waza (penalty) and win/lose decisions.

Ippon in Judo

One ippon is the ultimate way to claim victory. It is like a highest score in Judo. It occurs in three situations:

  • If a player brings the opponent down with strength and speed so they fall on their back.
  • The fighter manages to hold the competitor down for 20 seconds or more.
  • When the opponent is caught in an arm-lock and can’t move.

Wazari in Judo

Two wazaris are equal to one ippon. A wazari is when one player manages to take the opponent down but the technique is not good enough for it to be deemed as ippon. It is all judged by the judges.

Golden Score in Judo

If the game ends as a tie with no ippon scored by any player and same marks awarded by judges, then the match goes to golden score. This goes on until one of the opponents scores a point or ippon and the referee will announce, “ippon”, this means the game is over and the scorer will be adjudged winner.

Judo Terms

While watching a typical Judo game, you’ll come across these terms many times. Jude has its own vocabulary. Let’s have a look at some of these japanese words commonly used during judo games by commentators.

  • The person performing a technique – Tori
  • The person on the receiving end of a technique – Uke
  • Attention – Keiotsuke
  • Begin – Hajime
  • Belt – Obi
  • Bow – Rei
  • Break Your Fall – Ukemi
  • Carry On (continue the contest) – Yoshi
  • Collar of Uniform – Eri
  • Counter Techniques – Kaeshi Waza
  • Evasion – Sukasu
  • Foot – Ashi
  • Foot Techniques – Ashi Waza
  • Form or Pattern – Kata
  • Free Style Practice (non-scripted) – Randori
  • Give Up – Maitta
  • Grappling Techniques – Katame Waza
  • Ground Techniques – Ne Waza
  • Hand Techniques – Te Waza
  • Hip Techniques – Koshi Waza
  • Joint Locks – Kansetsu Waza

Famous Judo Tournaments

Judo is part of the Olympics and is played in various different tournaments. Some of the them are:

  • Olympics
  • World Championship
  • Asia championship
  • European games
  • Grand slam

Governing Body

The International Judo Federation (IJF) was founded in 1951. Today, more than 200 federations worldwide are associated with the international judo federation. All international judo events are organized by the federation and some of the recent changes in the game were also made by the member communities and officials running the federation.