Introduction to Judo

Judo is a dynamic combat sport that demands both physical prowess and great mental discipline.

Judo is a traditional Japanese wrestling sport. The word judo consists of two Japanese characters, ju, which means "gentle", and do, which means "the way". Judo, therefore, literally means "the way of gentleness". Although the gentleness may not be immediately apparent as bodies fly through the air and competitors are pinned to the ground.

Judo is based on giving in rather than fighting back. It is this principle of gentleness, or yawara (which is the same character as the "ju" in judo), on which all judo techniques are based.

Judo does not involve kicking, punching, or striking techniques of any kind, or the application of pressure against the joints to throw an opponent. Nor does judo involve any equipment or weapons. Instead, judo simply involves two individuals who, by gripping the judo uniform or 'judogi', use the forces of balance, power, and movement to attempt to subdue each other.

To the untrained eye, judo may appear simple and basic. In its simplicity, however, lies its complexity, and mastery of even the most basic of judo techniques often takes considerable time, effort, and energy, involving rigorous physical and mental training.

During a judo contest the two athletes (judoka), one in white and, one in blue (judogi),compete for five minutes. The contest is regulated by a main referee and two judges of equal status. Calls are decided by majority vote and the main referee calls all points and penalties.

To win the contest, a judoka must score an Ippon (a degree equalling 10 points), using a successful technique, in which case the match is over. Lesser scores such as Waza-ari (7 points), Yuko (5 points) and Koka (3 points), can be awarded when a technique does not warrant an Ippon.

An Ippon is given to the athlete:

  • who manages to throw his opponent on his back with a technique combining speed, force and control.
  • who applies an osaekomi technique and manages to hold his/her opponent to the ground for 25sec.
  • who applies a strangling or joint technique, forcing his/her opponent to give up by tapping twice or more with his/her hand or foot, or saying "maitta" (I give up).




Jigoro Kano is credited with introducing judo to Japan in 1882. He was the founder of the Kodokan Judo (the first Judo Academy) that was a synthesis of several schools of jujitsu to which he added ideas taken from interviews, readings and forgotten techniques. Jigoro Kano devoted his life to promoting sport and training new contestants, creating a legacy for today's generations.

In 1909, Japan joined the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and selected Jigoro Kano as its IOC representative. The International Judo Federation (IJF) was established in 1951 and represents 187 member countries in all continents.

The sport is split into several events based on weight categories. Today, there are eight categories for men and eight categories for women. Men's judo was the first Asian sport to be added to the Olympic schedule in the 1964 Tokyo Games. Women's judo developed rapidly after the first World Championships in New York in 1980. It was added to the Olympic schedule in the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.

Judo was first introduced as a demonstration sport at the 3rd Asian Games in 1958 in Tokyo, Japan. In 1986 judo was included as one of the 25 sports at the 10th Asian Games Seoul 1986, and has since been selected as an official sport at all Asian Games.



System of Competition

The system of competition will be the elimination system with double repechage. This means that for all categories, contestants are divided into two tables: Table A and Table B, by means of a draw. An elimination system will be used to produce two finalists.

All contestants defeated by the group winners of A1, A2, B1 and B2 will take part in the repechage of their respective pools, according to the elimination system. Their final contest is against the loser of the final of each respective other table.

The two winners of those contests are placed third; the two losers are placed fifth. The losers of the final repechage contests are placed seventh. The winners of Table A and Table B will fight off for the gold and silver medals.

Duration of Contest

The duration of the contests will be five minutes for both men and women (actual time) in accordance with the JUA Sports and Organisation Rules (SOR) and IJF Refereeing Rules.


When the time allocated for the contest ends and there is no score, or the scores for each contestant are equal, the result of the contest shall be decided by a "golden score". The time clock shall be reset, as if for a new contest. The first score or the first penalty awarded shall decide the contest, which ends immediately.

If the "golden score" extension contest goes the full duration without a score or penalty, the referee and judges must have assessed which contestant they consider to be the winner, taking into account any recognisable difference in the competitors' attitude during the contest or in the skill and effectiveness of techniques.

The referee shall add his opinion to that indicated by the two judges and shall declare the result according to the majority of all three opinions.