The intended purpose of the rules for Freestyle Judo is to provide a safe and objective standard of criteria for the conduct of Freestyle Judo matches and tournaments. Judo is, among other things, a combat sport and the rules of Freestyle Judo reflect the original combat nature of Kodokan Judo. To insure objective and unbiased officiating points are assigned to a variety of skills. Every attempt has been made to provide a safe and objective atmosphere that reflects Kodokan Judo as the most technically advanced combat sport ever intvented. Please scroll down for the Freestyle Judo rules as amended to the AAU Judo rules and as recognized by the International Freestyle Judo Alliance.
How To Win
IPPON – via throw or submission
SUPERIOR DECISION – 12 Point Spread, such as 12-0, 14-2, 17-5
DECISION – Score more points than opponent at the end of schedule match time.
OVERTIME – If no points are scored in scheduled match time, then a 1-minute overtime will be used for Juniors and Masters and 2 minutes for Seniors. The first contestant to score will win. If neither contestant scores an Ippon or points, then the referee and mat judges will declare the winner based on effective attacks.
How To Win for Age Groups
Ages 15 and older: Ippon can be scored by a throw, choke or armlock.
Ages 11 to 14: Ippon can be scored by a throw, pin (25 seconds) or choke.
Ages 10 and under: Ippon can be scored by a throw or pin (25 seconds).
Scheduled Match Time
5 Minutes – Seniors
3 Minutes – Masters
3 Minutes – Juniors
In Freestyle Judo, there is no difference in time between women’s and men’s matches.
Win by Ippon
THROW – Throw opponent with control and force on back or back/side.
ARMLOCK – Opponent taps out or referee stops the contest.
CHOKE – Opponent taps out or referee stops the contest.
PIN (Ages 14 and Under) – Hold opponent in Osaekomi for 25 seconds.
Ippons are not scored for Osaekomi (Pins) in Senior or Masters.
You must use a throw or takedown technique to go to the ground. Pulling an opponent to the mat without attempting an actual throw (“pulling guard”) is considered passive and will result in a penalty.
4 POINTS (Waza-ari)
THROW – Opponent lands mostly on the back or back side but not enough for Ippon.
PIN – Hold opponent for at least 20 seconds.
2 POINTS (Yuko)
THROW – Opponent lands on side or back in what would be Yuko in regular AAU rules.
PIN – Hold opponent for at least 10 seconds.
1 POINT (Koka)
THROW – Opponent lands on front torso (not hands and knees) or on buttocks or light on side.
PIN – Hold opponent for at least 5 seconds.
BREAKDOWN – Turn opponent onto back with control from a stable ground position.
GUARD PASS – Get past opponent’s legs with control.
GUARD SWEEP – Roll or sweep opponent over with control from the Guard position.
Grip Fighting and Gripping
Freestyle Judo allows for more varied gripping than the regular judo rules. You are allowed to hold the belt or hold onto the same side of the jacket or sleeve as long as you are not overly defensive. A good thing to remember is that when you grip or grab your opponent anywhere; don’t lock your elbows out to keep him or her away from you. You are allowed to grab your opponent’s legs or pants (in the gi category, but you can’t use his pants in the no gi category) as long as you are attempting a throw or takedown.
NO-GI GRIPPING – A judogi jacket is not used, but the rules are the same otherwise.
THE REFEREE WILL ALLOW THE ACTION TO CONTINUE AS LONG AS HE OR SHE SEES THAT THERE IS ACTION OR PROGRESS IS TAKING PLACE.
You must use a throw or takedown technique to go to the ground. Pulling an opponent to the mat without attempting an actual throw (“pulling guard”) is considered passive and will result in a penalty.
Note: The standard AAU judo rules will be enforced with the following exceptions and amendments for use in Freestyle Judo. Consult the current AAU Judo Rulebook for more clarification.
Article 1: Content and Context of Rules
The standard rules of judo as accepted and adopted by the AAU Judo Committee shall be enforced with the following exceptions and amendments as outlined in these articles. Freestyle Judo has two (2) categories, which are; 1-“Gi” Category where the contestants wear the standard judo uniform, and 2 -“No Gi” Category where contestants do not wear the standard judo uniform. The rules of Freestyle Judo as outlined in these articles apply to both the “gi” and “no gi” categories.
Article 2: Attire
The uniform and attire accepted for Freestyle Judo matches will be the following; (1) “Gi” Category, where the contestants wear the standard judo uniform as accepted by the AAU judo rules. (2) “No Gi” Category where the contestants shall be attired in standard judo pants to cover the legs (no shorts or other garment other than the accepted judo pants), regulation judo belt, a T-shirt, tank top, rash guard, body suit or other shirt (with short sleeves, no sleeves or long sleeves) covering the upper body. No shoes of any type are permitted. A contestant may wear any color uniform (judogi in the “gi” category, judo pants, or upper body covering in the “no gi” category) he or she wishes as long as it is not red. (A red judogi or uniform may cover a blood stain for purposes of hygiene.) Excessive patches that may prohibit an opponent from gaining a grip or grabbing the judo uniform are not permitted.
Article 3: Identification for Scoring
In the “gi’ category, one athlete shall wear a white belt and one athlete shall wear a red, blue or green belt for purposes of identification for scoring. The colors shall correspond to the colors marked on the scoreboard. In national tournaments, no other belt shall be worn. In the “no gi” category, one athlete shall wear a regulation judo belt of one color (white) and the other contestant shall wear a regulation judo belt of another color (red, blue or green) for purposes of identification for scoring. The colors of the judo belts shall correspond to the colors marked on the scoreboard.
Article 4: Scoreboard
The scoreboard shall be a numerical scoreboard to record the points scored by each athlete. A “flip-card” or any numerical scoreboard used in wrestling or other sports is acceptable. Penalties shall be noted by a brightly colored (yellow or orange are recommended) card or marker placed next to the scoreboard on the side corresponding to the contestant penalized.
Article 5: Gripping, Grip Fighting and Posture During Standing Judo
The standard rules of AAU Judo for gripping, grip fighting and posture shall apply with the following amendments.
1: In the “no gi” category, a judogi jacket (uwagi) is not used, but other than that, the rules for “no gi” are the same as for the “gi” category.
2: In the “gi” (and in cases where applicable, the “no gi”) category, the following amendments to the current standard AAU Judo Rules for Freestyle Judo when engaged in standing or “tachi waza” situations; (a) Holding or gripping the opponent’s belt (any part of the belt other than the portion that hangs from the knot) is permitted, with the exception of holding, grabbing or gripping the belt with the arm or arms straight or rigid in a defensive manner for more than three (5) five to seven (7) seconds without attacking the opponent. In other words, using the belt is permitted, but not in a passive or overly defensive manner. (b) Contestants are permitted to use the “pistol grip” hold on the opponent’s sleeve as long as it is not used as a passive or overly defensive measure in the opinion of the referee and judges. This grip is permitted as long as the contestant does not use it to avoid action with his opponent for three (3) to five (5) seconds without attacking the opponent. If the contestant is using this grip offensively, to attack his opponent or to transition to another grip, it is permitted. (c) The use of a “cross grip” is allowed. The “2 on 1” or “Russian tie-up” is permitted unless it is used as a measure to be passive or be overly defensive. Specifically, a contestant must make an attack or attempt to improve his grip or position within five (5) to seven (7) seconds after establishing a “2 on 1” or “Russian tie-up” grip. (d) Holding the opponent’s uniform or body with a grip holding the same side of his uniform or body is permitted unless used by the contestant as a measure to be passive or overly defensive. Specifically, a contestant must make an attack or attempt to improve his grip or position within five (5) to seven (7) seconds after establishing his initial grip. (e) The goal is to have the contestants in an upright posture so that both contestants can apply active offense and defense. If a contestant’s body bends forward in a passive or overly defensive posture with his/her shoulders forward and hips far away from the opponent for a period of five (5) to seven (7) seconds without attacking or attempting a technique, it is considered passivity and the appropriate warning or penalty shall be applied. (f) A contestant who backs directly away from his/her opponent in an attempt to avoid contact is considered passive and shall be warned or penalized. (g) A contestant may grab the opponent’s pants or pant leg in order to attack him; however, when grabbing the leg(s), pants or pant leg, the attack must be a continuous from the initial grab, hold or grip on the opponent’s jacket. Specifically, the attack must be a continuous movement and if a contestant grabs his opponent’s leg and places it between his legs to trap it (as in a single-leg takedown from wrestling), this is considered a pause in the continuous movement and not permitted. At this point, the referee shall call “matte” and any resulting throw or takedown shall not be scored as a valid throw or takedown. Grabbing the pants or pant leg to avoid combat or in a passive or overly defensive manner is not permitted. (h) A contest shall not attempt a throw or takedown technique unless he or she first grips or holds the opponent’s jacket with one or both hands. This must be an actual grip or hold and not merely touching the jacket as the throw or takedown is attempted. In “no gi” matches, the contest must actually grab or hold the opponent’s body or belt (from the waist up) before attempting a throw or takedown technique. This rule prohibits “shooting” for a takedown from a distance by an athlete who has not taken a grip or hold onto his or her opponent. (i) A contestant may grab the knot of his/her opponent’s belt (but not the portion of the belt hanging from the knot) when attempting a throw. (j) Situations not covered in these rule amendments shall be decided by the National AAU Judo Rules Committee.
Note: The rules regarding gripping and grip fighting in Freestyle Judo are less strict than the current standard AAU Judo Rules, however the attacking athlete must initiate a grip or hold onto his opponent’s jacket (in “gi” matches) or onto the opponent’s body (from the waist up) before attempting a throw or takedown.
Article 6: Groundfighting (Newaza)
The standard AAU Judo Rules will apply to groundfighting (newaza) situations with the following amendments and exceptions.
1: Active Groundfighting: Groundfighting (newaza) shall be permitted for as long as one, or both, contestants are actively working for a technique, to control the position or making progress toward that end in the opinion of the referee. The contestants must be active and attempting to control his/her opponent or attempt a technique. The referee shall allow both contestants adequate time to actively pursue groundfighting. The contestant must show progression toward a definitive technique with skill and progress to be considered attacking. The contestant must make an active attempt to turn the opponent onto the back, pass by his opponent’s legs in the guard position, sweep or roll the opponent over from the bottom while in the guard position, or secure a pin, choke or armlock where appropriate by age group. The contestant must show progress toward attempting or securing a scoring move. A contestant “riding” (for more than 5 to 7 seconds) an opponent (as in wrestling) without an attempt to turn the opponent onto the back and secure a technique is considered passivity and is subject to penalties.
2: Passive Groundfighting: Note: A contestant who lies flat on his front or is on his hands/arms and knees balled up and avoiding combat with his opponent for approximately ten (10) seconds, that contestant is considered passive and overly defensive. If a contestant is laying on his back with his opponent between his legs (in the guard position) and either crosses his legs or ankles together or in any way overtly is passive, stalls the action or is overly defensive and does not attempt to improve his position within at least 10 seconds, he is considered passive. An athlete actively defending himself is permitted, but an athlete who is passive and not attempting to improve his position is not permitted. Avoiding combat or passive or overly defensive behavior will result in possible penalties. If one contestant lies on his front, or positions himself on all fours or balled up tightly or, while on his back in the guard position as described previously to avoid groundfighting and is passive or overly defensive in the opinion of the referee, that contestant shall be assessed instruction, warning and penalties as listed later in Article 10. The referee shall verbally instruct the passive contestant with the command “Get active (color).” The referee shall allow the offending contestant to get active and if he/she does not within ten (10) seconds, the referee shall award an official warning to the offending contestant by saying “Warning (color) for passivity.” On the third offense, the referee shall assess a Chui (1-point penalty) by announcing “Chui, 1 point (color) for passivity.” The referee shall not stop the match or bring the contestants to their feet during this time. If the contestant continues to be passive and avoid combat by laying on his front side or balled up, the referee shall check with the two judges and assess Keikoku and award two (2) points to the other contestant, and ultimately Hansoku Make if the offending contestant continues to be passive and overly defensive. Note: The referee shall not stop the action to stand the contestants up to issue the official warning or penalties.
Article 7: How to Win
A contestant shall be declared the winner in the same situations as used in the current AAU Judo Rules with the following amendments or exceptions.
1: Ippon. Ippon (Full Point) is awarded for a throw or submission technique. The accepted submission techniques are the same as used in the current AAU Judo Rules (armlocks and chokes/strangles). Ippon is not awarded for holding or pinning an opponent (Osaekomi) except in the Junior rules for ages 14 and under (see Article 12).
2: Superior Decision: When one contestant scores twelve (12) points more than his/her opponent, the match will be stopped by the referee and the winner with the superior score will be declared the winner. (Example: The Red contestant has a score of 14 points and the White contestant has a score if 2 points. The Red contestant will be declared the winner by virtue of the 12-point spread in the score.)
3: Points Decision: When the scheduled match time runs out and one contestant is ahead in the score, that contestant shall be declared the winner. (Example: The scheduled match time ends and the White contestant has 7 points and the Red contestant has 6 points. The White contestant has more points and will be declared the winner.)
Article 8: Assessment of Ippon
Ippon (full point) is scored in the following ways.
1: Throwing: When one contestant throws his/her opponent to the mat with control and force so that the contestant being thrown falls largely on the back or backside. The throw must be forceful and executed with control. The “rolling Ippon” where one contestant throws his/her opponent with control but minimal force will not be assessed as Ippon. (Note: If a thrown contestant lands in a “bridge” position (head and heels of the feet to the mat with the back arched), the referee shall award the score of Ippon.
2: Armlocks: Ippon will be assessed in the same way as done in the current AAU Judo Rules.
3: Chokes/Strangles: Ippon will be assessed in the same way as done in the current AAU Judo Rules.
Note: The referee may award Ippon for either a choke/strangle or armlock in any category if he/she determines or assesses that the effects are apparent and that further or continued application of the technique to the contestant who is unwilling or unable to submit (in any way; by tapping with the hand or foot or by use of voice or any other means of signaling submission or surrender) will have potentially dangerous or injurious effects.
4: Hold-downs (osaekomi waza) will not score Ippon except in matches for ages 14 years old and under. See Article 9, Assessment of Points that follow and Article 12 (Junior rules).
Article 9: Assessment of Points
The following point values of 4, 2 and 1 will be awarded for both standing and groundfighting situations with the goal of providing an evenly balanced judo match so that throwing techniques and groundfighting techniques are equally rewarded.
1:Throws and/or Takedowns (Nage Waza):
Four (4) Points: A throw or takedown where the opponent land mostly on the back or backside with control and force but is not sufficient for the awarding of Ippon. (Example; A “rolling” forward throw where one contestant lands with control but not enough force for Ippon. Another example is a throw or takedown that would normally be considered sufficient for a “Waza-ari” in the current standard AAU Judo rules. In other words, a Waza-ari or a borderline case between Waza-ari and Ippon.)
Two (2) Points: A throw or takedown that would be considered Yuko in the current standard AAU Judo Rules.
One (1) Point: A throw or takedown where the contestant thrown lands on his buttocks (and is not continuously or immediately thrown onto his back or side for a higher score) or lands on his front torso (front of chest, stomach, front of hip or hips or flat on his entire front side (not landing on hands or elbows and knees simultaneously).
2:Hold-downs and Pins (Osaekomi Waza):
Four (4) Points: A hold-down (as accepted in the current standard rules of AAU Judo) for a time length of twenty (20) seconds.
Note: Once a contestant has held the opponent 20 points with a hold-down (osaekomi), the referee shall announce the points and instruct the contestant “4 points (color) go for the submission.” The contestant is expected to attempt a submission technique and the referee will allow the contestant approximately ten (10) seconds to do so. If the contestant is unable to secure a submission technique, the referee will announce “matte” and start both contestants back on their feet. If the contestant who has scored 4 points for the hold-down allows his opponent to stand up without attempting a submission technique, he will be assessed a warning or penalty for passivity.
Two (2) Points: A hold-down of at least ten (10) seconds and less than twenty (20) seconds.
One (1) Point: A hold-down of at least five (5) seconds and less than then (10) seconds.
Note: A contestant is not limited to the number of points he/she can score using osaekomi waza.
3: Groundfighting (Newaza):
One (1) point will be awarded to the contestant who breaks his opponent down and turns him over onto his back or backside with control from a stable position from the hands/arms and knees or when the opponent is flat on his front side or on one or both knees in or from a kneeling position.
One (1) point will be awarded to the contestant who gets past his opponent’s feet (passes the guard) and gets a controlling position on the side of his/her contestant. (Note: An immediate follow-through from a throw or takedown into an osaekomi is not considered a guard pass. There has to be a stop or pause between the throw or takedown and the action of the attacker attempting a guard pass for a point to be awarded for a guard pass in this situation.)
One (1) point will be awarded to the contestant who rolls, turns or sweeps his opponent over with control from the bottom (guard) position.
4: Display of Points by Referee. To display when points are awarded, the referee shall hold up his hand in the following ways to designate points: For 1 point, the referee shall hold up his hand with the thumb up and in a loud clear voice, call out “1 point (and designate color).” For 2 points, the referee shall hold up his hand with the forefinger and thumb up and call out in a loud, clear voice “2 points (and designate color).” For 4 points, the referee shall hold up his hand (no higher than shoulder level) and hold up his four fingers (not thumb) and call out in a loud, clear voice “4 points (and designate color).” For designating Ippon, the referee shall hold his hand up directly over his head with the palm forward and call out in a loud, clear voice “Ippon (and designate color).”
4a: The referee shall also call out “breakdown,” “guard pass,” or “guard sweep” immediately after calling out the point awarded and the designated color of the contestant for purposes of clarification when in these situations.
Article 10: Assessment of Penalties
The assessment of penalties is the same as in the current AAU Judo Rules unless otherwise stated. All violations of rules that are applicable in the current AAU Judo Rules apply here in these amendments as well.
1: Hansoku Make (Disqualification); Same as in the current AAU Judo Rules.
2: Order of penalties shall be awarded in the following:
Official Warning: The referee shall issue a verbal official warning to one, or both, offending athletes for minor infractions (not infractions of the rules that would be assessed as a Keikoku or Hansoku Make in the current AAU Judo Rules.). The referee shall stop the match, turn to the offending contestant and verbally warn him/her, and if deemed necessary by the referee, explain why the verbal warning is being given. The referee shall not engage in conversation with the contestant or contestant’s coach. The referee shall quickly explain (if the referee chooses) the rule and continue the match without delay.
Chui (Caution): After a verbal warning to the offending contestant or contestants, the referee shall assess an official warning to the offending contestant. The referee shall stop the contest; have both contestants return to their respective starting marks on the mat and point to the offending contestant with his forefinger as he assesses the verbal warning and assess a 1 point penalty to the offending contestant. The referee shall announce “Chui (color). 1 point for (opposing color)” The referee shall then call “hajime” and continue the match.
Keikoku (Penalty): After the official warning, the referee shall stop the match, return the contestants to their respective starting marks on the mat, point to the offending contestant with his forefinger and announce “Keikoku (color); 2 points to (other color-opposing contestant).
Hansoku Make (Disqualification): The referee shall call “matte” and stop the contest, returning both contestants to their respective starting marks on the mat. The referee shall point to the offending contestant with his forefinger and announce “Hansoku Make” and then award the match to the opposing contestant by announcing “Hansoku Gachi.”
Penalties are cumulative. Any rule infraction is an offense. The next offense does not have to be the same as the initial offense. Any rule infraction can be penalized. Some rule infractions are awarded an immediate Keikoku or Hansoku-make and are already addressed in the AAU Judo Rules.
Hierarchy of Penalties:
Chui (1 point to opponent)
Keikoku (2 points to opponent)
2a: Immediate Penalty Assessment Equal to Keikoku: If the offending contestant violates the rules so that the initial penalty assessment would be an offense of a Keikoku (in the current standard AAU Judo Rules), the referee shall forego any verbal instruction, warning or caution and immediately assess a Keikoku to the offending contestant and award 2 points to the offending contestant’s opponent. The next penalty assessed to the offending contestant in this situation shall be Hansoku Make.
2b: Immediate Penalty Assessment of Hansoku-Make: If the actions of a contestant are equal to the assessment of Hansoku-Make, the referee shall immediately issue Hansoku-Make (Loss by Disqualification) to the offending contestant after consulting with the two (2) other mat judges (and at least 2 of the 3 officials agree). Immediate Hansoku-Make will be assessed for (but not limited to) the following: (See Article 13 for further clarification.)
Any Choke/Strangle, pin or hold of any type that cranks or bends the neck (this includes such techniques as the “Can Opener” or other techniques where the contestants head is cranked forward or to either side, bending the neck). In pinning situations: Headlocks are not permitted. When an athlete is pinning his opponent with kesa gatame or other osaekomi waza, holding the head only is not permitted. If the pinner is holding only onto the head, then the referee is instructed to call “mate” and issue an immediate Chui. If at any time, if one contestant applying a pin or hold of any type and cranks the neck or bend the head of the opponent forward, backward or twists the neck and head to the side, the referee shall issue at a minimum, Chui and if the three officials on the mat deem the infraction severe, the penalties of Keikoku or Hansoku-Make may be issued.
Hansoku-Make will be issued immediately to a contestant that applies any hold, choke/strangle/armlock or pin where one contestant bends the opponent’s back or spine backward and in an unnatural position.
If a contestant applies standing Guillotine (Hadaka Jime) or any choke/strangle or neck restraint and attempts a throwing technique or takedown technique on an opponent, the contestant attempting the technique will be penalized Hansoku Make (Disqualification). This is a dangerous situation and the possibility of neck or spine injury is a real possibility when attempting these types of techniques.
If a contestant applies a “Fall Down” Waki Gatame (Armpit Armlock) or any armlock where the opponent is taken to the mat without opportunity to tap out or submit, the offending contestant will be penalized Hansoku Make (Disqualification). The possibility of severe injury to the arm and shoulder is very real when attempting this type of technique.
If a contestant drives, spikes or “piledrives” an opponent onto the head or neck, the offending contestant will be penalized with a penalty of no less than Keikoku and, if in the opinion of the referee and two judges on the mat as sufficiently dangerous that serious injury might take place, Hansoku Make.
If a contestant uses Kawazu Gake (Leg Entwining Throw), the offending contestant will be penalized with Hansoku-Make.
If a contestant uses Kane Basami (Crab Throw or Leg Scissors Throw), the offending contestant will be penalized with Hansoku-Make.
The use of Dojime (body squeezing) is prohibited. This includes the use of the legs to “scissor” or form a triangle anywhere on the trunk or torso of the opponent. This includes the “body triangle” or any variation. The offending contestant will be penalized with a penalty of no less than Keikoku and, if in the opinion of the referee and two judges on the mat as sufficiently dangerous that serious injury might take place, Hansoku Make. (Note: The use of Sankaku, or Triangle, is permitted as a choke/strangle, armlock or hold-down when the contestant has the triangle formed about the opponent’s head and arms/shoulder. Sankaku Jime (Triangle choke/Strangle), Sankaku Ude Gatame (Triangle Armlock) and Sankaku Gatame (Triangle Hold-down or Pin) are all allowed. The purpose of this rule is to prevent one contestant from squeezing his opponent with his legs on the trunk or torso of the body where injury could occur.
Submission techniques applied to the legs, feet, knees, ankles, toes and hips are not permitted. If a contestant applies or uses a submission technique on his opponent to any of these parts of the body, he or she will be penalized with Hansoku-Make.
Hand in face/Cross-facing and placing, wrapping or applying the judogi in the face of the opponent: Under no circumstances is any athlete allowed to push onto his opponent’s face with his hands, arms, feet, legs or elbows and under no circumstance will cross-facing be allowed. These actions can lead to a neck crank, which is dangerous and this will not be permitted. When the lapel or other part of the judogi is accidentally placed in the face (as when going for a lapel choke, the attacker wraps the lapel in his opponent’s face), immediately instruct the offending athlete “gi in the face” and if he does not immediately stop, call mate. If this is his first violation and the move was not a neck crank (see below), the referee is instructed to give an official warning. If the referee deems the move as dangerous, or there is apparent bending of the neck or twisting of the head, the referee shall issue an appropriate penalty to the severity of the situation, (Chui, Keikoku or Hansoku-Make).
Additionally, an athlete who uses his hand, forearm, elbow, shoulder, foot or leg to shove his opponent’s face onto the mat is subject to penalties for unsportsmanlike behavior.
Pinning: Headlocks are not permitted. When an athlete is pinning his opponent with kesa gatame or other osaekomi waza, holding the head only is not permitted. If the pinner is holding only onto the head, then the referee is instructed to call “mate” and issue an immediate “Chui.” If at any time, the pinner cranks the neck or bends the head forward, backward or twists the neck and head to the side, the referee is instructed to issue an appropriate penalty (see above as well). If the officials deem the infraction severe, the penalties of Keikoku or Hansoku-make may be issued.
Striking, kicking, biting, fish-hooking, eye gouging, head butting or using any striking or kicking technique on an opponent will result in a penalty of Hansoku-Make from the match that the action took place in, and in the opinion of the Head Referee and Tournament Director, disqualification from the tournament or event.
If a contestant refuses to correctly bow to his opponent at the start of the match or at the end of the match, he or she will be penalized with Hansoku-Make.
3: Unsportsmanlike Conduct and Prohibited Behavior. Any athlete who engages in unsportsmanlike behavior is subject to the penalties of the rules of judo. The referee has the discretion to assign penalties depending on the circumstances. This includes Hansoku-Make (disqualification of the athlete) if necessary. If an athlete is disqualified from a match, he or she may be also disqualified from the entire tournament or event, depending on the severity of the actions that led to the disqualification. The decision of the Head Official, tournament Director and 3 officials on the mat at the time of the disqualification must agree to the athlete’s disqualification from the tournament of event. Generally, disqualification from a match does not automatically disqualify the athlete from the entire tournament or event. In addition to the violations listed in the general AAU Judo Rules, the following situations and violations are listed for clarification.
3a: Gripping after the announcement of Hajime: Passive or overly defensive posture where the athlete’s body is bent forward and the athlete is not attempting to throw or take the opponent down to the mat within five (5) to seven (7) seconds of gripping the opponent after the referee announces “hajime.” (Note: Upon the announcement of Hajime by the referee, both contestants are expected to meet each other and attempt to immediately grip, grab or engage with each other and attempt to actively compete with each other.)
3b: Passive or overly defensive posture where the athlete’s arms are straight while gripping the opponent and it is apparent to the referee that he or she is not engaging the opponent (stiff-arming.) Additionally, a contestant using a cross-grip, 2 on 1 grip, Russian tie up or any similar grip must attack or attempt to improve his position within five (5) to seven (7) seconds of establishing the initial grip. The use of these grips to avoid contact or be passive or overly defensive is not permitted.
3c: Not gripping the opponent’s jacket or body and avoiding contact or making contact with the opponent for a minimum of five (5) seconds. (Note: The contestants must initially engage and grip each other in a standing position so that the contest can continue.) Additionally, an athlete that knocks or bats his opponent’s hand or arm away and does not overtly attempt to grip or grab his opponent is considered passive. If the athlete grips or holds his own lapel or any part of the judo uniform in an attempt to keep his or her opponent from gripping it, this is considered passive and against the rules.
3d: Backing, walking, sprawling or moving directly away from the opponent or moving away from the opponent or using the head to wedge into the opponent’s shoulder, head, neck or any other part of the body to avoid contact or engagement with the opponent for a minimum of five (5) to seven (7) seconds.
3e: Athletes are not permitted to talk to anyone during the course of the match unless given permission by the referee. The use of profane or foul language or gestures by the athlete, coach (es) or spectators is prohibited and will result in an immediate Hansoku-Make (disqualification) from the match (and possibly the tournament or event-see 3 above).
3f: Coaches and matside. One (1) coach per athlete is allowed at matside. The coach must stay within the confines of the space provided for him at the corner or by the side of the mat. No more than 1 coach is permitted to call or signal instructions or advice to each athlete. The coach is to be properly attired in a clean shirt free of obscene wording or images, clean pants or shorts (of moderate length and not too short), which are not cut-offs or the coach may wear a judogi. The coach’s behavior must keep within the rules of AAU Judo. The coach’s behavior is subject to the same rules as the athletes on the mat. The referee has the authority to instruct an offensive coach to leave the matside, leave the immediate area or leave the gymnasium, area or room where the match is being conducted. A coach’s unsportsmanlike actions may result in the issuing or assigning of appropriate penalties to his or her athlete. A coach may be ordered to leave the tournament or event by the Head Official or Tournament (Event) Director for unsportsmanlike conduct or behavior. Anyone engaged in fighting or a physical confrontation in the area matside or in the gymnasium, area or room where the match or tournament (event) is conducted will be immediately ordered to leave the premises.
3g: The use of Dojime (body squeezing) is prohibited. This includes the use of the legs to “scissor” or form a triangle anywhere on the trunk or torso of the opponent. This includes the “body triangle” or any variation. The exception to this is when a contestant is applying a Sankaku (Triangle) on an opponent and has the head and arms within the triangle of the legs.
3h: When applying Sankaku (Triangle) as a choke or armlock, the opponent’s head and arm must be within the confines of the triangle of the legs. Sankaku (Triangle) on the neck only is not permitted.
3i: If a contestant refuses to correctly bow to his opponent at the start of the match or at the end of the match, he or she will be penalized with Hansoku-Make. (Nodding the head is not considered a correct bow.)
Article 11: Mat Officials (Conduct, Actions and Protests)
1: There shall be a referee and one or two mat judges for each match (two mat judges are preferred). The mat judges can move freely about the edge of the mat area to accommodate a better view of the action. The referee and judges may talk to each other (and to the officials at the score table or time keeper) as necessary to conduct the match.
2: The referee shall award scores and penalties and generally conduct the match. The referee may (and shall as necessary) talk to the athletes during the course of the match to conduct the match safely, fairly and effectively.
3: All Actions of the officials are based on the majority of the three (3) officials on the mat. In a situation where one or more of the mat officials has made an egregious error, the Head Official may intercede in the decision or conduct of the match.
4: Protests from coaches on a match or call during a match must be done immediately after the end of the disputed match. Only one (1) coach per athlete may file a protest. The protest must be filed with the Head Official or if there is no Head Official, the Tournament Director.
4a: Protests filed by coaches must be based solely and strictly on the technical content of the rules. Subjective opinion or disagreement with the assessment of a score is not considered a valid reason for filing a protest. (In other words, the coach who files a protest must base his or her protest on a valid technical point within the rules and not simply if he agrees or disagrees with a call or point awarded.)
4b: The Head Official or Tournament Director shall make his or her decision on the technical merits of the situation immediately after consultation with the referee, judges and other tournament officials as necessary. The Head Official (or if there is no Head Official, the Tournament Director) shall have final authority on all matters of protests.
4c: Video, photographic or any other electronic means shall not be considered by the Referee, Judges, Mat Officials, Head Official or Tournament Director when deciding the merit of any protest.
5: The referee and judges shall wear the designated AAU Official’s shirt, dark or neutral-colored athletic pants and socks. If possible, wear wristbands that correspond to the colors used on the scoreboard and the contestants’ belts. The referees shall be attired in such a way that brings credit to the sport of Judo.
Article 12: Junior Rules
The rules shall be amended to the following for Junior athletes.
1: Ages 11 and under; Ippon can be scored by a throw or hold-down.
2: Ages 11 to 14; Ippon can be scored by a throw, hold-down or choke/strangle.
3: Ages 15 and older; Ippon can be scored by a throw, choke/strangle or armlock. Note: For all contests for athletes ages 15 and older, the same rules governing Senior and Masters shall be in effect, unless otherwise designated by the National AAU Judo Chairman or Vice-Chairman or the event director (with the permission of the National AAU Judo Chairman).
3a: If a contestant is competing with an opponent who is in a junior age group under his or hers, the contest shall use the rules governing the younger age group. In other words, if a contestant who is 11 is competing with a contestant who is 10, the match shall be governed by the rules governing the younger age group. If a 15-year-old contestant is competing in a match with a 14 year old, the match shall be governed by the rules governing the younger age group.
4: Ippon will be awarded for an osaekomi (hold-down) of 25 seconds for matches in the junior category where armlocks and chokes/strangles are not permitted. Athletes under the age of 11 years old can score Ippon by the following methods:
b-Hold-down for 25 seconds. (Note: Hold-downs of 20 seconds to less than 25 seconds score 4 points, Hold-downs of 10 seconds to les than 20 seconds score 2 points, Hold-downs of 5 seconds to less than 10 seconds score 1 point.)
5: The minimum age that chokes/strangles (shime waza) is permitted is 11 years old. An Ippon can be scored by either a throw or a hold-down. Both contestants must be a minimum of 11 years old. Athletes ages 11 through and including 14 years old can score Ippon by the following methods:
c-Hold-down for 25 seconds.
6: Athletes in the 11 to 14 year old category may win on in newaza (groundfighting) by either osaekomi (pin) for 25 seconds or shime waza (choke/strangle). Athletes in this age group shall not use kansetsu waza (armlocks).
7: The minimum age that armlocks (kansetsu waza) is permitted is 15 years old. Both contestants must be a minimum of 15 years old.
8: Athletes who are a minimum age of 15 are permitted to use throws, hold-downs, chokes/strangles and armlocks.
Article 13: Standing Submission Techniques
1: When applying a choke/strangle or armlock from a standing or upright position, the technique must be applied in such a way that allows the opponent an opportunity to tap out or signal surrender. Specifically, the following submission techniques are not permitted from a standing or upright position:
What is commonly called the “Fall Down Waki Gatame (Armpit Armlock).”
What is commonly called the “Guillotine or Front Hadaka Jime (Naked Choke).”
Any Choke/Strangle that cranks or bends the neck.
2: If a contestant applies standing Guillotine (Hadaka Jime) or any choke/strangle or neck restraint and attempts a throwing technique or takedown technique on an opponent, the contestant attempting the technique will be penalized Hansoku Make (Disqualification). This is a dangerous situation and the possibility of neck or spine injury is a real possibility when attempting these types of techniques.
3: If a contestant applies a “Fall Down” Waki Gatame (Armpit Armlock) or any armlock where the opponent is taken to the mat without opportunity to tap out or submit, the offending contestant will be penalized Hansoku Make (Disqualification). The possibility of severe injury to the arm and shoulder is very real when attempting this type of technique.
4: If a contestant drives, spikes or “piledrives” an opponent onto the head or neck, the offending contestant will be penalized with a penalty of no less than Keikoku and, if in the opinion of the referee and two judges on the mat as dangerous, Hansoku Make.
5: Specifically, if a contestant attempts a choke/strangle or an armlock that permits his opponent the opportunity to tap out or signal surrender, it is allowed. An example of a technique that is allowed is the “Flying or Jumping” Juji Gatame (Cross-body Armlock).
6: A contestant shall not jump on an opponent’s back to secure a choke/strangle or armlock (or in any way take the opponent to the mat). The referee shall call “matte” in this situation. The offending contestant shall be subject to the hierarchy of penalties, with an appropriate instruction, warning and application of penalties by the referee as necessary.
6a: If the contestant who’s opponent has jumped onto his back in a standing position as described in 6 (above) falls backward or throws his opponent backward before the referee calls “matte” the contestant will be penalized with (at the minimum) Keikoku and if judged as dangerous by the three (3) mat officials, Hansoku Make.
Article 14: Entry Into Newaza
1: A contestant must attempt a valid throwing technique or takedown technique when taking his/her opponent to the mat. Dragging the opponent to the mat, pulling the opponent to the mat, snapping the opponent down to the mat or otherwise in any way attempting to take the opponent to the mat without actually trying a valid throw or takedown is not allowed and subject to penalties. (This rule corresponds to the accepted AAU Judo rule about entry into newaza and is added here to clarify the matter.)
Article 15: Simultaneous Technique and Time or Call of Matte
1: The result of any technique started simultaneous with the time signal or the referee calling “matte” shall be ruled valid and scored as to its merit. Specifically, if a contestant taps or signals submission simultaneously as the referee calls “matte” or when the time signal is sounded (or at the official cessation or end of the time of the match), the technique shall be ruled valid and the score of Ippon shall be declared to the contestant who secured the technique.
Article 17: Continuous Action and the Contest Area
1: A throw or takedown shall be considered valid if the technique is started within the contest area. Specifically, if a contestant is thrown outside of the contest area, but the actions of the throw (or counter throw) are continuous and the entire sequence of action initially started within the boundaries of the contest area, the throw shall be considered valid and scored according to its merit.
2: If an osaekomi (hold-down) is secured by a contestant and his opponent moves outside of the contest area boundaries, the hold shall be considered valid and scored accordingly to its merit as long as the holding contestant has any part of his body within the contest area boundaries.
Article 18: Situations Not Included
Situations not included in these amendments and exceptions to the current AAU Judo Rules shall be decided by the National AAU Judo Rules Committee or National AAU Judo Chairman or Vice Chairman. For more information, contact Steve Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.