Thursday February 7th, 2013



This commentary addresses the changes listed in the IJF’s REFEREEING RULES 2013-2016 announcement made in Tokyo dated 2/12/2012.


The IJF will apply the following rule changes from the Paris Grand Slam 2013 until and including the 2013 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro.  The IJF will then re-assess the changes.


Referee and judges

Only one referee on the mat and one referee at a video check table with a radio communication assisted by a referee commission member or another referee will judge the fights.  A rotation system will be implemented for the Referees.  The IJF Jury will interfere only when they consider it to be necessary.



  • The current 3 on-mat officials system will be replaced by 1 on-mat referee and 2 other referees viewing the video replay system. The 2 referees viewing the video system may include a Referee Commission member.  All referees working a contest are selected respecting neutrality.  The video replay referees will communicate with the referee through a radio communication system.  The number of referees required to conduct a tournament is significantly reduced.
  • The Jury will generally intervene to correct an injustice done to either of the contestants in order to ensure that the contest is conducted fairly.


Technical assessment

Ippon: to give more value; to take into account only the techniques with real impact on the ground on the back.


  • The IJF Referee Commission reiterates that Ippon is to be awarded for throws that land largely on the back with considerable force and speed.  Throws that do not meet these criteria are not Ippon.


Landing on the bridge position

All situations of landing on the bridge position will be considered Ippon.


  • If, while being thrown, a competitor bridges to avoid contact with the mat, he/she shall lose by Ippon.



During the fight there will be three Shidos, and the fourth Hansoku-make (3 warnings and then disqualification)

Shidos do not give points to the other fighter, only technical scores can give points on the scoreboard.

At the end of the fight, if scoring is equal, the one with less Shido wins.

If the fight continues to golden score (due to a draw), the first receiving a Shido loses, or the first scoring a technique will win.


  • As before, each Shido will be recorded on the scoreboard as a penalty.
  • As before, the fourth Shido penalty is not a Shido but instead is a Hansoku-make.
  • “Points” on the scoreboard are Yuko, Waza-ari and Ippon.  Shidos DO NOT transfer over as points on the scoreboard for the opponent.
  • As before, the competitor with the highest point score wins. The number of Shidos is now only relevant when determining the winner of the contest, if the points are tied, or when hansoku-make is to be awarded (fourth shido).
  • For example, at the end of the contest, white and blue have each scored 1 yuko (so the “scoring is equal”) but white has 1 shido; therefore, blue wins.


Penalized with Shido

Breaking the grip with 2 hands.


  • Clarification example: If blue, with BOTH his hands on white’s SAME hand, wrist, arm, sleeve or any combination of these, breaks white’s grip; blue will be penalized by shido.
  • Also, using the knee to break the opponents grip will be penalized with shido.
  • Also, placing your hand/arm behind your knee to break opponents grip will be penalized by shido.
  • Also, using your hand to slap/strike the opponent’s hand/arm to break the opponent’s grip will be penalized by shido.


Cross gripping should be followed by an immediate attack.  Same rule as for the belt gripping and one side gripping.


  • The IJF Referee Commission has eliminated the “generally more than five second” allowance for taking any grip other than a “normal” grip without attacking [Article 27(9) of the 2011-12 Contest Rules]. Now, the competitor with other than a “normal” grip must attack immediately or must be penalized with shido.   
  • An “immediate attack” is one that follows a logical judo sequence and is difficult to define as an exact time.  This means that the competitor, without the normal grip, must attack quickly or release the other than normal grip.


The referees should strictly penalize the contestants who do not engage in a quick Kumikata grip or who try not to be gripped by the opponent.


  • Kumikata is an important component of Judo.  Any contestant who avoids taking kumikata or prevents his opponent from taking kumikata or breaks his opponent’s grip in a permitted fashion and back’s away from his opponent without gripping should be penalized with shido for negative Judo.  The IJF Referee Commission wants this shido penalty to be strictly enforced as no action can occur until kumikata is taken.


To hug the opponent for a throw (Bear hug).


  • A “bear hug” is throwing attempt in a chest to chest position with both arms encircling the opponent’s trunk, or trunk and one arm, or trunk and both arms whether the thrower’s hands are touching or not.
  • The first “bear hug” attempt is NO longer a mate with a free warning. All “bear hug” attempts will be penalized with shido and any result of a “bear hug” attempt will not be scored.
  • However, if tori maintains a one hand grip on uke, he can apply a throw resembling a “bear hug” throw without penalty and can score.  Only a true “bear hug” attack (tori’s full release of both hands and then encircling uke – see description of “bear hug” throw above) will be penalized by shido.


Penalized with Hansoku-make:

All attacks or blocking with one or both hands or with one or two arms below the belt in Tachi-waza.


  • This means that all grabbing or blocking below the belt with one or both hands or with one or both arms MAY ONLY OCCUR IN NEWAZA.
  • As before, any direct attack or direct blocking of the opponent below the belt with one or both hands or with one or both arms is Hansoku-make.
  • Now, combination techniques which include grabbing or blocking the opponent below the belt with one or both hands or with one or both arms is also Hansoku-make.
  • Now, counter techniques which include grabbing or blocking the opponent below the belt with one or both hands or with one or both arms are also Hansoku-make.
  • Now, transitioning from tachi-waza to newaza which includes grabbing or blocking the opponent below the belt with one or both hands or with one or both arms is also Hansoku-make.  For example, blue is standing and white is lying on the mat or attempting tomoe-nage.  Therefore, blue is in tachi-waza, not newaza.  If blue, while in tachi-waza, grabs white’s leg to turn him over to transition into newaza or blocks white’s lifted tomoe-nage leg, blue will be penalized with hansoku-make.  However, if blue drops to the mat he may grab white’s leg without penalty as he is now in newaza.


Osaekomi, Kansetsu-waza and Shime-waza

(Osaekomi) will continue also outside of the contest area as long as Osaekomi was called inside.

Osaekomi scores 10 seconds for Yuko, 15 seconds for Waza-ari, and 20 seconds for Ippon

The Kansetsu-waza and Shime-waza initiated inside the contest area and recognized as being effective to the opponent can be maintained even if the contestants are outside the contest area.


  • As before, so long as one contestant is in contact with the contest area, an osaekomi may be called, or a kansetsu-waza or shime-waza may be applied.
  • The referee will allow an osaekomi called inside the contest area to continue even though both contestants are outside the contest area until either toketa/mate or Ippon is announced.  Although unlikely, if the fighters get to the edge of the competition area or to the next contest area during osaekomi, the referee should call mate and can, after consulting with the Referee Commission, award ippon even though the osaekomi time did not reach 20 seconds.
  • All osaekomi score times have been reduced by 5 seconds.
  • The kansetsu-waza and/or shime-waza must be both initiated and effective inside the contest area in order to be allowed to continue when both contestants are outside the contest area.  “Effective” means that the technique was fully applied and likely to be successful.


Cadets – U18

Kansetsu-waza authorized for Cadets


  • The age of the Cadet category has been increased by one year to U18
  • Cadets may now apply kansetsu-waza without penalty


The bow

When entering the tatami area, fighters should walk to the entrance of the contest area at the same time and bow to each other into the contest area.

The contestants must not shake hands BEFORE the start of the contest.


  • Bowing is an integral and traditional part of Judo protocol.
  • The referee should control the contestants to ensure that they enter the contest area at the same time.
  • The referee must ensure that the contestants bow to each other at their starting positions.
  • The contestants should be discouraged from shaking or slapping hands after the initial bow because this is non-Judo protocol (however, do not penalize if they do).
  • After the contest is over and the traditional ending bow has been made, the referee may allow the contestants to shake hands, etc, in keeping with the contestants’ traditions or customs.
  • The referee should stop over exuberant or overtly religious or political actions by the contestants.


Duration of Contests

No time limit for Golden Score (Hantei is cancelled)


  • The time limits for golden score are eliminated. The golden score portion of a contest will continue until a winner is determined (first penalty or score).
  • There is no longer a need for hantei as the contest will continue until a winner is determined.

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