How To Join The IFJA

Freestyle Judo is the freshest, boldest, and most popular innovation to the world of Judo in recent history. Our participation levels are growing rapidly each event. Our web site receives a tremendous amount of visitors from all over the world each day, and our Facebook following is a social media hit. Participating club leaders receive phone calls and email each day all asking “How do I join the International Freestyle Judo Alliance?”

The International Freestyle Judo Alliance (IFJA) is an alliance of international martial arts and sports organizations, yudanshakai, and independent clubs that are actively supporting and promoting Freestyle Judo around the world. The emphasis is on the word Alliance, and the key to joining the Alliance is open and active support.

The IFJA is a modern Judo organization with deep traditional roots and values. The IFJA embraces internet and social media technology, acknowledges the progressive evolution of martial arts, all the while promoting Freestyle Judo Rules which allow for the safe utilization of more traditional Kodokan Judo techniques than any other current judo rule set.

In the United States, Freestyle Judo is officially supported and sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the original governing body for Judo in the US. The AAU and the IFJA provide official Freestyle Judo Coaching and Refereeing Certification programs. However this does not preclude clubs and organizations outside the US from holding Freestyle Judo events. The mission of the IFJA is to assist with the development of Freestyle Judo around the world.

The IFJA and the AAU register rank through the Judo Black Belt Association (JBBA), although we recognize rank from all major national and international Judo governing bodies.  There is no special “Freestyle Judo Rank”.   Judo is Judo.

At this time, membership in the IFJA is relatively simple. We follow the principle of Jita Kyoei; Mutual Benefit and Welfare. The following steps should be taken to join the IFJA.

1. If your club, yudanshakai, or organization is in the United States, then join AAU Judo. Within the USA, Freestyle Judo is officially goverend and sanctioned at a national level by the Amateur Athletic Union. Other Judo / Jujitsu governing bodies within the USA, such as the USJA, USJF, or USA Judo, are welcome to join AAU Judo as Level 2 organizations and obtain AAU insurance for their members in order to sanction and participate in Freestyle Judo events. Of course individuals are always welcome to join AAU Judo no matter what other Judo / Jujitsu affiliations you may have.

2. Download and read the official Freestyle Judo Rules at Note, Freestyle Judo is not simply old judo rules with leg-grabs. Freestyle Judo uses numerical scoring, ne-waza transition scoring, and additional improvments for open-ended competition. This web site is designed to assist you with these differences. Organizations holding judo tournaments using “Classic Judo” rules with leg-grabs SHOULD NOT call their tournament Freestyle Judo.

3. Download and read the official IFJA Rank Syllabus and Standards to learn our philosophy and view our Code of Conduct.  Please consider joining the Judo Black Belt Association (JBBA).

4. Subscribe to the official Freestyle Judo YouTube Channel at the link HERE. Please take a look at Officiating Freestyle Judo for a detailed explanation of the rules and inspiration by Steve Scott.

5. You and your organization should actively support and participate in Freestyle Judo events.  This includes participating in Freestyle Judo events sponsored by other clubs (when possible) and holding your own Freestyle Judo events and scrimmages. The easiest way to start this is by beginning to use the Freestyle Judo rule set during randori.  You will quickly see the benefits.  A list of major recurring Freestyle Judo tournaments can be found HERE.

6. If your club has a Facebook page, your club page should “Like” the Freestyle Judo Facebook Fan Page. In addition, your club should also send “Likes” to the other affiliated Freestyle Judo clubs and organizations. You should also INVITE all of your friends to “Like” Freestyle Judo on Facebook.  Communication is key to our mutual success.

7. If your club has its own web site, then you should put a copy of the official Freestyle Judo and/or IFJA logos on your web site which link back to This helps promote and boost Freestyle Judo in internet searches. Sample HTML code for your web site is below.

<a href=””><img src=”” width=”30%” height=”30%” alt=”International Freestyle Judo Alliance” /></a>

International Freestyle Judo Alliance

8. Organizations which have demonstrated outstanding support for Freestyle Judo are chosen to represent the International Freestyle Judo Alliance on This helps boost YOUR web site’s ranking in search engines.

For more information, contact the participating club leaders listed on in your nearby area. If there is no representative in your area or country, please feel free to contact me below.

We hope to add YOUR organization next!

Vincente D’Ingianni
Director of Marketing,
International Freestyle Judo Alliance
Head Coach, The Judokai, Dallas, Texas