IJF 2018 Rule Changes

Starting in 2018, the IJF have made modifications to their rules in an attempt to make the sport more enticing and faster for television audiences.

Here are is a preview of some of the changes in the new year.

1. Leg grabs are considered a normal shido.

Both single leg and double leg grabs no longer equal a hansoku-make rule. Leg grabs are now a regular shido infringement, a competitor would only get a hansoku-make if you get three of those. The most likely impact of this new change will be a less conservative in their style of play. In the past, you had to be super careful not to even touch the legs. Now, you can try more things and if you accidentally touch your opponent’s leg, it’s just a shido.

2. You cannot win by shido in Golden Score.

Well, this is not exactly true because if your opponent gets three shidos, they will get hansoku-make and you will win. But you cannot win through shido play in Golden Score. The common strategy in Golden Score is to attack your opponent three times without answer in order to get them to incur a shido. With the new rules, that strategy will largely be cancelled out. Players will have to try to attempt to score a point during Golden Score, in order to win. Since Golden Score is tiring, most players will probably want to try to score and win during regular time.

3. The return of waza-ari-awasatte-ippon.

Another move to cause players to try to score faster in order to end the match early. Waza-aris are also given to what was formerly yukos, so it makes sense for players to try to get two small scores to win the match outright. It might lead to a reduction in outright ippons but there may be an influx of waza-ari-awasatte-ippons.

4. You cannot straighten the leg during shimewaza

This rule won’t affect many players. Although it is common for players to take hold of uke’s leg or grab the trousers during a shimewaza, it’s actually not that common for players to completely straighten out uke’s leg.

5. Immediate attack required for unorthodox grips

An example of this new rule is if you have a double sleeve grip, which is considered unorthodox, you will have to attack straight away. Initially, when rule changes were introduced for 2017 there was an intention to give more leeway for unorthodox gripping. Many people welcomed that because unorthodox gripping can result in very dynamic and unusual throws. Now, with the rule saying you have to attack immediately, it leaves less room for setting up innovative throws. This could result in a more boring, conservative style of play.

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