Watching a judo contest can be a confusing affair for the newcomer who has never witnessed the sport before. After all, it’s not as intuitive as football, and the decision making by referees can be perplexing if you don’t know what to look for.
The aims of judo matches
Judo opponents are trying to end a bout as quickly as possible by achieving one of three things:
- A throw - to throw the opponent so that they land hard on their back.
- Hold or pin - to keep the opponent on their back for 25 seconds.
- Submission - to strangle or hold the opponent in an armlock so that they submit.
If any one of these three is completed successfully, an ‘Ippon’ is called, and this ends the judo match, much like a knockout in boxing - minus the head injuries.
Techniques in judo
Judo throws - There are many techniques for throwing, using the legs, arms, and torso or a combination of all. Opponents can also sweep each other’s feet from under them.
Pins - These are done from a face-down or side-down position on the opponent who is controlled by the head and an arm or leg so that their back or a shoulder is in contact with the mat.
Submissions - Pressure can be applied to the arm (an arm lock) or to the sides of an opponent’s neck (a strangle) to force them to submit. An opponent submits by tapping on the mat before any damage is done! The referees are alert to potential injuries and can stop the contest and declare a winner if they think a serious injury is about to occur.