IJF Updates Rule Book

The International Judo Federation (IJF) just released an update to their rulebook, and it seems people aren’t happy.

The rule change that has people most up in the arms is that two waza-aris are now worth ippon (match-ending score).

Ippon is described in the IJF rulebook as:

“…when the contestant throws his opponent on the back, applying a technique or countering his opponent’s attacking technique, with considerable ability with maximum efficiency”

The criteria for ippon are as follows:
1. Speed
2. Force
3. On the back
4. Skilfully control until the end of the landing

A waza-ari is scored when an opponent is thrown but does not land clearly enough to score ippon, the highest score possible in judo. That means they may land on their side or their behind.

Commenters on social media were less than complimentary about the rule changes.

Lorenzo Rosini said, “Two waza-ari? Waza-ari includes yuko now, so it will be possibile to make ippon with two mediocre execution. The way this sport is taking it’s scaring.”

Joe Marchand commented,

“Why would anyone bother trying for ippon when they can now win with two wazaris that were once so weak as to be considered yukos? I thought the point of judo was to chase the ippon not to half heartedly knock your opponent to his side. Terrible change.”

Further updates also see a revisions to the ‘golden score’ overtime period, which can no longer be won via penalties but only via a technical score such as ippon, waza-ari, or DQ (direct or via accumulated penalties).

Marius L. Vizer, President of the International Judo Federation, said in a statement published on the IJF website: “We are continuously reforming the strategy in all the sectors of the IJF to make our sport a modern one, outstanding and understandable for everyone.

“I’m convinced the new elements of the rules and judo methodic will be a great benefit for the judo family, spectators, partners and media.”

When judo banned leg grabs in 2010 the punishment for so much as touching below the waist was hansoku-make, or an instant DQ. Leg grabs have no been reclassified as a normal shido, or penalty.


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