Implementation of new IJF rules by British judo

Like many people I have some issues with the new IJF rule but I would like to see them in action a bit more before I post on that. This post is more about British judo’s announcement today (1st March) that they will now be using the rules at all national events from the British schools (9th March), I am sure the first thing that strikes you is that there is not a lot of notice!

In many ways I can understand why they have done this, there is a perception that if we do not implement them fast then we will fall behind the rest of the world on the international stage. Apparently the “Performance Management Group” or PMG has written a paper justifying this implementation, personally I would like to see this if it is so convincing.

Here are what I consider some ‘headline issue’

  1. The referees are not yet trained in these rules (let alone players, officials and coaches) and this causes a huge issue because what happens is people read the IJF handout, watch the IJF videos and then forge an opinion of what they are saying. These opinions have not been discussed so what you end up with is differing opinions and a bigger divide between referees, coaches and players – purely through the frustration of poor implementation.
  2. The British schools – really!! You’re not allowed to enter it if you are on the England squad, therefore you’re at least a year or 2 from competing internationally, what’s the point? We should also consider there are non-BJA competitors here
  3. We now have a national ranking system under two sets of contest rules

What I would suggest is a phased implementation starting next weekend with a series of rule clinics designed to bring coaches, players and referees together under a common cause. We must remember that the new rules are being trialled by the IJF and some might not come in after the Rio world championships. I think there are some rules that will definitely stay and they’re actually the ones that need very little training, practice or understanding –

  1. New definitions of score
  2. Golden score continues until either shido or a score
  3. New scoring system for shido’s (more about this below though)
  4. Shorter Osaekomi
  5. I would also introduce the no leg grabs but only award a shido if done in the context of the 2010-12 rules

The more complex skills that require training are also the ones which are more ambiguous to the referees and the ones the IJF are most likely to change in my opinion-

  1. Two hand grip breaking
  2. Taking the leg when transitioning to ne waza (this is particularly subjective – when does tachiwaza end and ne waza start? with no training we should expect issues)
  3. Cross gripping is fairly simple (all though did get a few questions and issues on it last night when we went through the rules) and I would probably implement that rule too but I am not completely sure

Implementing at all national events from now on is interesting and shows that the PMG don’t attend these very often! There were a few events last year where they didn’t even have the correct mat area, one where they didn’t have enough electronic score boards and all sorts of other issues. Not to mention most use the small electronic score that I would guess add the score for shido’s automatically and therefore all need changing or some sort of software update.

I would like to see the BJA use this rule change as a mechanism to bring coaches, players and referees together. A series of clinics that are interesting and innovative, working together to develop innovative ways to use these new rules as an advantage internationally and not see them as a hurdle.

I also feel there are other areas of the IJF rule/tournament handbook the BJA should consider more urgently – temperature regulation in venues, always have a warm up area, player brought from the warm up area to the mat, sokuteiki for judogi control (how is it a player can fight in a kit at world level one weekend and then the referee decides the next weekend it doesn’t fit only using his eyes!) and a CARE system.

Anyway, I have written this quite rushed and off the top of my head but this is my current opinion.



Filed under Coach Education, Coaching Judo, Judo

4 responses to “Implementation of new IJF rules by British judo

  1. If you ask any of our referees who have applied the new rules at international events they will tell you the job of referee is becoming less and less with the introduction of the care system. All they really need to know is how to shout matte and hajime. I am happy the PMG group have implemented the rule changes instantly. It will only help our players get used to them quicker, no point in delaying IMO. Watched the Paris GS and thought the rules were a massive plus point for me, allowed for more throws and less negative judo.

    • Do you know it is more positive judo? German research suggests the judo is more negative. The IJF stats of 77% ippons has now been clouded by the revelation they were counting direct Hansoku Make as ippon.

      But it is not about the rules it is about the British implementation of them. Nine days is not long!

      • We need to see the precise statistics for all recent international competitions to determine exactly what constitutes an ippon. In Germany Peter Seisenbacher, the new coach to the Azebaijan team, said that 7 of his players received hansoku-makes in their first match at the Budapest Open 2 weeks ago. Did he mean first international match or first contest? I am not sure. I have glanced at the PDF results and if you look at the site for that event you will see that disqualifications are recorded in two ways. As H for hansoku-make and s4 for 4 shidos and in each case the opponent is awarded an ippon. The statistics reveal that only 7 hansoku-makes were awarded while 779 shidos were awarded in in a total of 315 contests. Now, the shidos are not broken down as per player but per contest which means it is difficult to analyse quickly the full number of disqualifications from shidos as the results show 100 contests incurred between 4 and 7 shidos each. On the other hand the Statistics show that there were 195 ippons in the 315 contests equaling 62%. Now go back to the Athens Olympics which I think was the catalyst for the need to increase ippons and you will find a very different story. Obviously the two events are far from strictly comparable. Budapest was men only and the repercharge started at the quarter-finals whereas Athens was men and women and a full repercharge. Briefly, from my records Athens totaled 523 contests with an average of 57.87% ippons across the 14 weight categories with the highest at 67.74% (+78kgs) and lowest at 42.42% (u52kgs). Now this is the important bit; there were no hansoku-makes and only 8 disqualifications from 4 shidos. In the case of Budapest a quick count reveals there are 7 hansoku-makes AND 25 disqualifications from 4 shidos! If the disqualifications were counted as ippons then the true ippons would equal just 51.74% of the results. I am not a statistician but even if the Athens ippon winning contest total is adjusted to remove the 8 times 4 shido disqualifications we are actually going backwards. In my opinion the IJF refereeing commission needs to reconsider the direction it is traveling. Certainly 4 shidos and hansoku-make should not be counted as ippons the same as an uchi-mata throw or any other for that matter. Get that right and we might know how to truly improve ippon scoring techniques.

      • I completely agree.

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