The Rules of Judo

Like all sports and games, Judo has rules, applicable both in practice and in competition, and when one examines them, they all affect safety, respect for others and fair-play. After every Olympic Games, changes are introduced, sometimes minor and sometimes major, but always with the aim of improving Judo, making it safer and more spectator-worthy, ruling out unfair or dangerous tactics.

Of course, in ordinary practice in a club, these changes are introduced so that they become habit and judoka avoid penalties or disqualification. Dangerous techniques, restrictive variations or fitting of judo-suits, negative play and stalling are banned. Recently, senior match-time was reduced to 4min instead of 5mins to encourage continuous action, since a Judo bout is intended to be a non-stop activity that ends dramatically.

From the very beginning of one’s journey in Judo, and since it involves bodily contact, there are basic rules that show respect for the dojo, the mat, one’s opponent/training partners, hygiene and senior ranks.

Shoes or footwear are NEVER worn on the mat – for obvious reasons.

Shoes or footwear are ALWAYS worn on the surrounding floors or approaches to the mat – for obvious reasons.

Judo-suits are washed REGULARLY and kept in good repair – for obvious reasons.

The senior grade on the mat is responsible for safety and discipline – his/her instructions are obeyed and judoka enter or leave the mat – for ANY reason – with his/her permission.

Japanese terminology is used – in practice and in competition, because it is the ‘language of Judo’ anywhere in the world, so judoka can ‘fit in’ wherever they are.

MATTE! Means STOP! – and stop immediately…….called by the coach in practice, or the referee in competition, for a number of reasons. A partner or opponent signalling submission to an armlock, strangle or choke – by tapping or verbally, has the same effect.