Major Judo competitions are fought in weight and gender categories and also in age categories, so that one is generally not at any disadvantage, other than in degrees of skill and/or fitness.
The primary object from the beginning, is to throw one’s opponent flat onto his/her back with control and a certain degree of force, scoring an IPPON and ending the match. There are no rest breaks or rounds, and matches last up to 4 minutes. If there is no score, or the competitors have even scores, GOLDEN SCORE is declared and the match continues, with the first score of any sort determining the winner.
If the action continues down to the mat from the standing position, the competitor who immobilises his/her opponent for 20 seconds, or gains a submission through an elbow lock or strangle or choke is the winner by IPPON. Certain dangerous actions are prohibited, and the main Referee and Corner Referees will impose penalties or even disqualify the offender. This also applies to passivity or if the contestant has accumulated three SHIDOS.
Partial success in a throwing technique (where the Referee(s) do not award IPPON) may score WAZA-ARI and these are cumulative and may decide the match when IPPON is not scored. An IPPON outscores ANY other score awarded to the opponent.
While a match is in progress, Technical Officials are keeping score of the Referee’s awards or penalities, and of the time – both the duration of the match, and any holddowns scored.
The Mat Referee and Corner Referees represent the opinion and judgement of 3 trained officials to ensure the fairest outcome of a match, and when necessary, the match is stopped for them to confer. In major competitions, the action is televised and watched in the event that a decision requires further consideration after a ‘replay’of the footage.
The introduction of blue suits in international Judo competitions is intended to further assist in determining the correct outcome, and to award (or penalise) where necessary.
The rules of Judo do not permit any argument or discussion with the Referee.
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