Judo returns for the 2024 Paris Games. Read on the learn about the rules that will be used during the Olympic tournaments.

How long does an Olympic judo match last?

Regulation time for all judo matches will be four minutes. If there is no winner at the end of regulation time, judokas will compete in a sudden-death "golden score" overtime (described further below), which has no time limit.

How do athletes score in Olympic judo?

There are two types of scores in modern judo: ippon and waza-ari. Each one is described below.

Ippon: Awarded for a throw that places the opponent on their back with strength, speed and control. It can also be awarded for pinning the opponent down for 20 seconds or forcing the opponent into submission with a choke or joint lock. An ippon immediately ends the match.

Waza-ari: Awarded for a throw that misses one of the three criteria for ippon (strength, speed and control). It can also be awarded for pinning the opponent down for 10-19 seconds. Two waza-ari are the equivalent of an ippon and immediately end the match.

Are there penalties in Olympic judo?

There are two types of penalties in modern judo: hansoku-make and shido. Each one is described below.

Hansoku-make: Grave infringement. Can be assessed for fouls such as intentionally trying to injure the opponent, unsportsmanlike conduct or for repeated violations of the rules. When assessed a hansoku-make, the offending judoka is immediately disqualified and their opponent wins the match.

Shido: Slight infringement. Assessed for any rules violation that does not merit immediate disqualification. Some examples are non-combativity (player does not attack enough), intentionally stepping out of bounds, playing too defensively, or putting a hand directly on the opponent's face. The first two shidos are warnings. If a competitor receives a third shido in one match, those shidos become a hansoku-make, which immediately ends the match.

What are the different ways to win in Olympic judo?

The following are ways a match could end before time expires:

  • Scoring an ippon (the four ways to end a match by ippon are described in the next section)
  • Scoring two waza-aris
  • Opponent receives a hansoku-make penalty for a serious rule violation
  • Opponent receives three shido penalties for minor rule violations
  • Opponent withdraws due to injury

If the match goes the distance, then whichever judoka has more waza-aris will win. If the number of waza-aris is the same, then the winner is decided by "golden score," which is essentially sudden-death overtime (described further below).

What are the ways an athlete can win by ippon in Olympic judo?

The following are the four ways that a judoka can score an ippon:

  • Throwing an opponent to their back with force, speed and control. This would be considered a "perfect throw" in judo.
  • Pinning an opponent for 20 seconds. The opponent must be mostly on their back (not necessarily with the shoulders touching) and no part of the holder must be under the control of the person being held (i.e. no entangled legs).
  • Choking an opponent until they "tap" (give up) or "nap" (pass out). Pressure is applied to the sides of the neck, windpipe or larynx. A properly applied choking technique can cause the opponent to pass out.
  • Applying an armlock to an opponent's elbow joint until they give up or the arm becomes dislocated

Can opponents "tap out" in Olympic judo?

A competitor can give up by "tapping out." During a tapout, the surrendering judoka taps their arm, mat, self, or opponent repeatedly to ask them to release the technique. The surrendering judoka can also say "maitta" (I give up). Tapouts most commonly occur when a judoka is being choked and in danger of passing out, or when a judoka is in an armbar and in danger of having their elbow dislocated.

Once a judoka taps out, the match is over, and their opponent wins by ippon.

What is "golden score" in Olympic judo?

If there is no winner at the end of regulation time, then the match is decided by "golden score," which is essentially sudden-death overtime. The clocks are reset, and the first person to score an ippon or waza-ari is the winner. There is no time limit.

Shidos carry over to the golden score period, but being assessed a shido during this period does not end the match unless it's a third shido (which automatically becomes a hansoku-make).