Judo - Quick Guide


Judo - Overview

Judo is a modern form of martial art which needs great balance upon one’s body and mind. The word Judo means gentle way. The sport was originated in Japan in the 19th century and Jigoro Kano is known as the father of this sport. Earlier, it was confined to only Japan but later due to its popularity it made its place in Olympics in 1964.

Judo was initially learnt as a self-defence martial arts technique. So it is quite obvious that most of its steps are to hurt another person, but later on, suitable modifications were made so that students can learn this art without hurting each other.

Judo Initial

The person who practices judo is called judoka. The main objective of a judoka is to pin down his opponent to the ground and immobilize him through locking body’s joint parts or by choking him.

Judo − Age Group

The world championship for women and men has no particular maximum age boundary. However; no person below 15 years of age is allowed to play in any competition of judo as decided by International Judo Federation (IJF).

For Junior World Championship (under 20), men and women from 15-19 years old are eligible. For Cadets World Championship (under 17), boys and girls of age 15 and 16 years are eligible.

Judo Calendar

There are various types of competitions that are organized throughout the year by International Judo Federation. The list is as follows −

  • World Championship and Team World Championship
  • Open World Championship
  • Junior World Championship
  • Cadets World Championship
  • Summer Olympics
  • Winter Olympics

Participating Countries

After gaining popularity in Japan, the game soon started to spread its wings throughout the world and now it is being played by many Asian and Non-Asian countries.

Apart from Japan, many other Asian countries like India, South Korea, China, Mongolia, North Korea, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Thailand, Kuwait, Indonesia, and Myanmar are also taking active part in this game.

Asian Games for Judo are organized once in every four years. Its latest edition was organized in Inchon, South Korea, in the year 2014.

Judo - Training

Judo is not a simple game that one can learn in a day or a week. It takes heavy practice to master the art. You would require an experienced coach having black or red belt to become a professional Judo player. The coach will instruct you and let you practice with the weight of the people of your own size.

You will be required to wear Judo uniform commonly known as Gi; it is designed in a manner to make you comfortable while making Judo movements during a match.

Judo Training

During the training period, the first and foremost thing that one should learn is ukemi which is otherwise known as break falls. This will protect you from getting yourself hurt while falling over the ground.

Keep learning new techniques every day. It is important to learn the basics first but then don’t stop at basics. Make your mind and body to get ready to learn new techniques every day. It will keep you motivated and energized throughout the training session.

When you are making yourself ready for an international tournament, learn some basics of Japanese language to know what your opponent is saying. It is important that you learn all the rules of Judo because breaking a rule may get you disqualified from the entire tournament.

Judo - Techniques

Different techniques in Judo are known as waza. Three different types of waza are as follows.

  • Nage-waza (Throwing techniques)
  • Katame-waza (Grappling technique)
  • Atemi-waza (Attacking Techniques)

Atemi-waza is not popular because it is designed to hurt the opponent. The person who performs this waza is known as tori and upon whom this waza is applied is known as uke.


In this technique, the tori tries to throw the uke on the ground. This also involves various stages. The act of balance breaking under this wazas is known as kuzushi. Similarly, the act of turning in and fitting into the ground is known as Tsukuri. The act of successfully executing and throwing upon the ground is termed as Kake.



This process involves the art of holding someone firmly and seizing him. This waza is further divided into many categories such as osaekomi-waza (holding technique), shime-waza (act of choking the uke by the tori) and kansetsu-waza(tori tries to make uke down by manipulating his joint parts).


Leg Sweeping Techniques

Leg sweeping is a process in which a player tries to put his opponent on ground using his legs. Mastering this technique will be very handy for you and it can be a key factor in winning a match. Here are some cool techniques that you should learn and try.

Foot Sweep

Foot Sweep
  • Step 1 − Make the opponent to step forward towards you.

  • Step 2 − Before he steps back, just catch one of his ankle with your leg.

  • Step 3 − Now swift the ankle through your leg towards the appropriate direction and let it go so that he will fall on his back on the ground.

Nice Leg Sweep

Nice Leg Sweep
  • Step 1 − Apply your whole weight on the body of your opponent such that he will tilt towards his left.

  • Step 2 − Make sure that he applies all his weight on the left leg, right leg being in air.

  • Step 3 − Sweep the supporting leg with strong force, resulting in an instant fall back of your opponent.

Spin Hit Technique

  • Step 1 − Put your leg side wise between the two legs of your opponent.

  • Step 2 − Turn back towards your opponent.

  • Step 3 − Move your hip closer towards your opponent to support his entire weight on you.

  • Step 4 − Now put your leg near his leg and tilt him up in the air for a clear and easy sweep.

Spin Hit

This technique is also known as Harai Goshi. Although these techniques are useful but often come with price when we use them without proper guidance and precautions. It is always a wise decision to practice these under the guidance of a master. Apart from this, you should learn how to defend when your opponent applies the same upon you.

Judo - Scoring

To score an ippon, one has to throw other on his back with impetus and control. However, if the throwing is done with lesser force then it results in a waza-ari. An ippon or two waza-ari is sufficient to win the match. If the contestant gets successful in throwing his counterpart side wise then, he/she will be awarded with a yuko. This yuko has no effect until the match ends in tie.


At the end of the match, if the scores result in a tie, then golden score rule applies. In this rule, the clock is reset to the match time and the first contestant to get any score is declared as winner.

Judo − Rules Regarding Scoring

One full point in judo is otherwise termed as Ippon. The competitor who gets awarded with one full point or Ippon is declared as the winner of the match. To the contrary a half point is termed as Waza-ari. When two half points are awarded in a match, then it is equivalent to Ippon and the match comes to an end.

The smallest score that can be awarded in judo is termed as Yuko. Some scoring points were removed by IJF. For example, Koka was introduced as a scoring point in 1975 but was removed by IJF later in 2008.

Judo - Rules

Judo was initially being used as a self-defence technique involving much deadly practice. Later, it has been modified for safe practice among the students. So International Judo Federation added many rules to make it safe.

Judo − Rules on Safety

The rules regarding safety in Judo are as follows

  • Intentionally harming an opponent is abandoned.

  • One cannot punch or kick his opponent.

  • You cannot touch the opponent’s face.

  • Attacking the joints other than elbows is not allowed.

  • Head dives are also not permitted.

  • Some techniques like Kawazu gake and Kami basami are not allowed.

  • Neither of the competitors is allowed to wear any hard metallic object during the competition.


Etiquette in Judo

Before stepping into the mat, the contestant must bow. Before starting and after ending the game the contestant must bow to each other and also to the competition area. If anyone will use bad body gesture or use foul languages, then he/she will be debarred from the tournament.

Stalling is not permitted in the game. One cannot use defensive posture either. If one disregards the order of the judge, then he/she will be disqualified for the entire tournament.

Judo − Competition Area

It must be played upon a stage of having a minimum size of 14×14 meters. The rules also say that the stage must be built from tatami. It is a mat that is used for the flooring purpose of the traditional martial arts of Japan.


Penalties in Judo

Generally, two types of penalties are there in Judo. One is shido and another is hansoku. Shido is awarded when a competitor remains in longer period of nonaggression. It is also awarded for minor rule breach. After two warnings, one shido is awarded. Number of shidos decides the winner in case the match ends in tie.

On the other hand, four shidos will make one hansoku. Hansoku is also awarded for major rule violation. There may be a chance that he/she may get disqualified from the tournament.

Judo - Injury and Illness

As this game involves rigorous physical activity and joints manipulation, minor injuries and illness do occur to the players. However, some injuries may be severe if a player does not play with careful measures and concentration.

The International Judo Federation has very strict rules regarding the handling of the cases of medical treatment of the injuries because the nature and cause of the injuries may affect the award and ending of the match.

  • Unless the mat judge allows, the medical team is prohibited from entering into the playing area.

  • A contestant once opts for medical treatment automatically forfeits the match.

  • If a contestant becomes unconscious on the floor, without the application of choking technique, then the medical team is bound to attend the case even if the contestant has not opted for it.


Nose bleeding cases do not get medical attention. Contestants have to use cotton balls in the nostrils by themselves.

Judo - Champions

Many countries have their own Judo federations and tournaments. The USA has six Judo events that are being conducted every year. In this chapter, we will discuss briefly about some of the champions of Judo who wondered the world from time to time with their amazing skills and talents.

Teddy Pierre-Marie Riner


Teddy Pierre-Marie Riner is a judo champion from France. He has won many medals in different tournaments. He won two gold medals and a bronze medal in Olympics.

In World Championships, he won seven gold medals and a silver medal while in World Openweight Championships he won one gold medal.

He has also won five gold medals in European Championships. He also participated in Mediterranean Games in 2009 and won one gold medal.

Naoya Ogawa

Naoya Ogawa

Naoya Ogawa is a judo champion from Japan who has won a silver medal in Olympics. He is popular as a mixed martial artist and a professional wrestler.

Naoya has won four golds and three bronzes in World Championships. In Asian Championships, he won a gold medal while in Asian Games, he won a bronze medal.

While studying in Meiju University, Naoya became the youngest freeclass champion in the year 1986.

Yasuhiro Yamashita

Yasuhiro Yamashita

Yasuhiro is the most successful Judo champion from Japan who is now an instructor in Tokai University.

In his career, he has won five gold medals. Along with that, he has the achievement of having 203 consecutive victories.

He is also the achiever of Japanese National Prize of Honor. He started learning judo when he was in primary school and became black belt holder when he was in junior high school.