The 2013 IJF rules and you.

With the Olympic Qualification period for Rio2016 starting in just a few months the IJF have published what should be the last changes to the rules before the Olympic Games.

There has been the usual wringing of hands and complaining over the changes; but progress maches on and if you are a Judo athlete you must adapt or lose.

It is vital for any judo athlete to understand the rules and how they will impact the way our sport is played. Having an appreciation for how the referees are going to interpret the actions of you and your opponent will quite likely be the difference between a Gold medal and a silver or no medal.

My advice to all athletes is to get along to all the coach education seminars you can possibly get to. This will serve two purposes; one you will learn the new rule changes and you will understand the mindset of the referees you will be competing under. You can gain an advantage by looking at how referees are going to apply the rules as much as understanding the rules themselves.

By way of example I want you to watch the video below:


In this video the young upcoming British athlete Nekoda Davis gets beaten by Franssen of Holland.

The question you need to ask yourself is why?

For me, it is that Franssen uses the rule that has possibly not got as much attention as it deserves; the edge.

Screenshot from 2014-03-10 00:20:03

Here you see Franssen pressuring Davis towards the edge with her left hand grip. Davis is attempting to attack her way away from the edge.

At my club I have been talking alot about this rule and I think this video highlights the impact it may have perfectly. In this contest, Franssen forces Davis to the edge and it’s clear thats what she is doing. She soon gets what she was looking for and Davis is penalised for going outside the contest area. When the action retstarts; Franssen sticks to the plan and applies more pressure, lots of straight arms forcing Davis back to the edge.

Screenshot from 2014-03-10 00:20:32

Franssen causes Davis to be outside the contest area and the referee stops the contest and penalises Davis Shido.

And then Davis gets caught for Wazari and osae komi follows. Davis is pressured out of this contest through a great understanding of the new rule interpretation and a strategy that is simple yet effective.

The use of the contest area is an underlooked element of many athletes Judo. Don’t be one of those players; get yourself along to some refereeing seminars and work with you coach to develop a strategy that works for you.


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