One of the first things you will notice about a national Freestyle Judo tournament is how the referees conduct a judo match. Freestyle Judo referees are there to conduct the match with three primary things in mind; (1) Safety of the athletes. (2) Provide fair and objective officiating. (3) See to it that the rules of Freestyle Judo are correctly enforced. (4) Allow the athletes to determine who wins and who loses the match.
The rules of Freestyle Judo are written so that the athlete has every opportunity to fairly and safely demonstrate a full range of judo technical skill. The job of a Freestyle Judo referee is to see that each and every athlete has an equal opportunity to win.
Freestyle Judo referees “talk” to the contestants in a similar way amateur wrestling officials do in that sport. Freestyle Judo referees verbally instruct athletes during the conduct fo a match so that the match is safe and that the rules are obeyed. By verbally instructing athletes during the course of a match, the judo match is safer and fewer rules are violated.
One of the most commented on things about Freestyle Judo tournaments is that the referees are “approachable.” If a coach has a question of a rule, he can feel comfortable asking a Freestyle Judo. Naturally, if a coach approaches any referee in a confrontational manner, there will be a problem. But one of our strong points in Freestyle Judo is that our referees work to see that the rules are both enforced and understood.
Another thing people notice about Freestyle Judo referees is that they are active referees. Freestyle Judo referees move about the mat to get the best view of the action, especially in Freestyle Judo. Refereeing a Freestyle Judo match requires the full attention of the referee and mat judges and it’s vital that all of the officials on the mat positon themselves to get the best view possible of every part of the match.
Freestyle Judo referees are human…they make make mistakes, but they try not to and make every effort to provide a fair, fun and safe judo match for every athlete.