Judo Competition Format

A Judo contest sees two athletes compete on the tatami (mat), one in a white jodogi (judo suit) and the second in a blue judogi.

The referee invites both competitors onto the tatami, where they make a standing bow. The referee then calls hajime (begin) to start the contest which lasts five minutes for both men’s and women’s events.

During the contest the referee will stop the contest with the word matte and the clock will stop until he calls hajime to start the contest again.

If the contest is a draw after five minutes then there is an unlimited ‘golden score’ period where the first athlete to receive a shido (penalty) loses or the first athlete to score wins.

In Commonwealth Games competition each country may enter up to two athletes in a single weight category, however the total number of athletes in the team must not exceed seven men and seven women.

The men’s weight categories are: -60kg, -66kg, -73kg, -81kg, -90kg, -100kg and +100kg.

The women’s weight categories are: -48kg, -52kg, -57kg, -63kg, -70kg, -78kg and +78kg.

All athletes must attend a weigh-in which takes place the day before each day of competition.

The IJF operates an elimination system with repechage starting at the quarter-final stage (last eight). The draw is conducted by a computerised system with the four top players seeded.

The competitors defeated in the quarter-final will compete in two repechage contests. The winners of each of these two repechage contests will compete in bronze medal contests against the loser of the semi-final contest of the respective opposite table.



Field of Play

Each competition area is a minimum of 14m x 14m and a maximum of 16m x 16m and covered by tatamis (mat) or a similarly acceptable material, in an IJF recommended colour.

The competition area is divided into two zones. The inner area is called the contest area and is a minimum of 8m x 8m or a maximum of 10m x 10m. The area outside the contest area is called the safety area and is a minimum of 3m wide. The contest area is in one colour and the safety area a different colour.

A strip of blue and a strip of white adhesive tape, approximately 10cm wide and 50cm long is fixed on the centre of the contest area 4m apart, to indicate the starting positions at which the contestants must start and end the contest. The white tape is to the referee’s right and the blue to his left.


Scores are given as follows:

  • Ippon 100 points
  • Waza-ari 10 points
  • Yuko 1 point
  • Win by shido 0.5 point

The referee indicates scores and instructions using specific hand signals.


Ippon is the biggest score in judo and scoring it ends the contest. It is shown on the scoreboard as 100 and can be scored in one of four ways:

  • Throwing your opponent on their back with considerable force and speed.
  • Holding down your opponent with osaekomi waza (holding technique), who is unable to escape for 20 seconds.
  • When your opponent submits tapping twice or more with their hand or foot or says maitta (I give up!) as a result of osaekomi waza (holding technique), shime waza (chocking or strangling techniques) or kansetsu waza (arm locks).
  • Scoring two waza-ari against your opponent.


Waza-ari is shown on the scoreboard as a score of 10 and can be scored in one of two ways:

  • Throwing your opponent but lacking one of the three elements for ippon – largely on their back or with force and speed.
  • Holding down your opponent for 15 seconds or more, but less than 20 seconds.


Yuko is shown on the scoreboard as a score of 1 and can be scored in one of two ways:

  • Throwing your opponent but lacking two of the three elements for ippon – largely on their back or with force and speed.
  • Holding down your opponent for 10 seconds or more, but less than 15 seconds.


Shido are penalty scores and there are numerous ways to collect them. An athlete can get a shido for not taking grip (kumi-kata) and not attacking to disregarding the referee. At the end of normal time in the contest, the player with the fewest shido will be declared the winner.

Hansoku-make (disqualification)

An athlete will get hansoku-make if they are awarded four shidos or by committing a serious offence. Again there are numerous ways to get hansoku-make including all grips below the belt, all type of leg grabs and any action against the spirit of judo.



One referee and two judges at opposite corners conduct the contest. The ‘care system’ with two cameras filming the contest at two different opposite angles, is set up to support and review the decisions of referees in real time. Control and supervision of the ‘care system’ will be done by the IJF Refereeing Commission.

One referee will be present on the mat and will be assisted from the video check table by two referees or one referee and a member of the Refereeing Commission. They will be interconnected through radios to modify the decisions. A rotation system will be implemented for the referees. The IJF Jury will only intervene if necessary.




Measure 1m x 2m, or 1m x 1m, made of pressed foam. They must be firm under foot, have the property of absorbing shock during ukemi, and not be slippery or too rough. The elements making up the surface for the competition must be aligned without space in between, be smooth of surface and fixed in such a way that they cannot be displaced.


The platform is optional and must be solidly made of wood, while still having a certain resilience and measuring approximately 18m x 18m and no more than 1m in height (generally 50cm or less).


For each competition area there are two scoreboards. Penalty points are immediately converted to the opponent’s technical scores and recorded on the scoreboards. However, the scoreboards must be manufactured with a device that indicates the penalties received by the contestants. A timing clock indicates the contest duration with a further clock to indicate osaekomi (length of time held down). The name, country and weight category of each competitor is also shown.




All athletes are required to wear an IJF approved judogi. The first competitor always wears a white judogi and the second wears a blue judogi.

Judogi fabric cannot be too thick, too rigid or too slippery for the opponent to take a grip. It should be made of cotton or cotton blend. The fabric weight must be between 700g to 1kg.

The jacket of judogi is composed of two parts, upper jacket part – above the belt position – and lower jacket part. Upper jacket part must be sashiko-weave fabric (grain like stitches). Women wear, under the jacket, a plain white short-sleeved, round-necked t-shirt.

The trousers must cover the legs and at the minimum reach 5cm above the ankle joint.


The belt of judogi must use 100% cotton fabric, 4cm to 4.5cm wide and between 4mm to 5mm thick.

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