2020 Judo Rules Updated

Starting a new sport can be confusing, especially when navigating new rules. However, it's VERY important to understand the rules of a sport for SAFETY and for a better chance to WIN in competition.


Judo's rule set is structured around action. You're rewarded for taking chances and trying to move the match along. Defensive and non-combative action (not gripping, not trying to throw) is penalized.

Respect, courtesy, modesty, and self-control are equally important. Things like NOT bowing to your opponent or disrespectful action can get you kicked out of a tournament (seriously).

All this is to say, always be RESPECTFUL and always be TRYING TO THROW / PIN / SUBMIT. And, as corny as it sounds, these are great rules to live by. Always be respectful, always try new things, don't be discouraged by failure - keep the action coming.


You have 2 kinds of points you can secure:

  • Ippon (full point - match is over)
    • throw opponent with force and control onto their back
    • pin opponent on back for 20 seconds
    • your opponent taps out (taps partner with hand) from choke or armbar (adults only, 13+)
  • Waza-ari (half point)
    • throw opponent not flat on their back (maybe they land on side) or it has less speed or control than needed for ippon
    • pin partner for 10-19 seconds on back (if they escape before the 20 second mark)

2 waza-ari scores equal 1 ippon.



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