FREESTYLE JUDO RULES
JUDO COMMITTEE, AMATEUR ATHLETIC UNION
By Steve Scott, National AAU Judo Vice Chairman, October, 2009
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), 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.
Article 3: Identification for Scoring
In the “gi’ category, one athlete shall wear a red belt and one athlete shall wear a white, 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 judo pants of one color (white) and the other contestant shall wear pants of another color or the contestants shall wear a red ankle strap or a green, blue or white ankle strap for purposes of identification for scoring. The colors of the pants or ankle bands 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, contestants may not grab or use any part of either the opponent’s attire or clothing or his/her own attire or clothing in any way; If this takes place, the referee shall break the hold or grip and stop the action if deemed to be necessary by the referee and award penalties if necessary as applied to by the rules.
2: In the “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 (3) to five (5) 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. (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. (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 three (3) to five (5) 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. When grabbing the pants or pant leg, the attack must be a continuous from the initial grab, hold or grip. Grabbing the pants or pant leg to avoid combat or in a passive or overly defensive manner is not permitted. (h) 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. (i) 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.
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.
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. 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 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 9. 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 instruction, 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).
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 Blue 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 Blue contestant has 7 points and the Red contestant has 6 points. The Blue 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 and 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.
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: Hold-downs (osaekomi waza) will not score Ippon. See Article 8, Assessment of Points that follow.
Article 8: 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, 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.
One (1) point will be awarded to the contestant who rolls, turns or sweeps his opponent over with control from the bottom (guard) position.
Article 9: 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:
Verbal Instructions: The referee shall award a verbal instruction to the athletes if they are (in his opinion) passive, too close to the edge of the mat or in other situations he deems necessary. In other words, the referee shall have the authority to talk to the athletes to attack more, avoid being too defensive or other situations to keep the pace of the match going, insure safety of the contestants and to be fair to both contestants. The referee and judges may talk to the contestants to keep the flow of the match moving, and fairness and safety.
Verbal Warning: Verbal Warning; The referee shall issue a verbal 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).
Disqualification (Hansoku Make): 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.”
Hierarchy of Penalties:
Chui (1 point to opponent)
Keikoku (2 points to opponent)
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.
Article 10: Mat Officials
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.
Article 11: 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 effeect, 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 govenring 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.
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: Athetes who are a minimum age of 15 are permitted to use throws, hold-downs and armlocks.
Article 12: Standing Submission Techniques
1: When applying a choke/strangle or armlock from a standing or upright positon, 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 techiques 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 contestantant attempting the technique will be penalized Hansoku Make (Disqualification). This is a dangerous situation and the possibliity of neck or spine inury 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 contetant 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).
Article 13: 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 email@example.com.