Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Lingering questions regarding IJF Rules

Now that the IJF's press release on the new rules for 2017 have been out there for some time, people have had time to digest them and make comments on how the new rules will impact judo. Some aspects of the rules are crystal clear but there a few lingering questions which need to be clarified before a proper analysis of their impact on the game can be made. There are five key things the IJF needs to clarify:

1. Are fingers inside the sleeve allowed? The IJF press release says yes but Neil Adams says no. Matt D'Aquino of Beyond Grappling also says no. Do they have access to a version of the rules that none of us has seen?

2. Can you duck your head when someone does a high grip on you? Neil Adams says no. Again, this is not mentioned anywhere in the IJF press release.

3. Can you break off a grip with two hands? Neil Adams says no. Not in the press release.

Note: Neil is an IJF video commentator so perhaps he has advance access to the rules that have not been released yet.

4. What exactly is the role of shido in Regular Time? We have been told that you cannot win by shido during Regular Time. Some people have interpreted this to mean that shido cannot win the match if there is no score on the board but if there are equal scores you can win by shido. For example if Player A has waza-ari and Player B has waza-ari, and Player A then gets shido, Player B wins. But is this really the case? It's not clear from the IJF press release. If anything, the IJF release seems to indicate that even if the scores are tied and one player gets a shido, the match still goes into Golden Score. This is what the IJF release says:

* In the case where there is no score(s), or scores are equal, the contest will continue in Golden Score.

* Any score and/or penalties from regular time will remain on the score board.

5. What exactly is the role of shido in Golden Score? The IJF says shidos will be carried over into Golden Score but it also says:

* The decision in the Golden Score is made by the difference of score or shido.

So, if Player A has one shido and Player B has none and they go into Golden Score, doesn't that mean Player B wins because there is a difference of one shido? Or does it mean that Player B is allowed to get one shido because Player A already has one shido on the board? Then, when both are tied at one shido each, if either one gets another shido that person loses because there is a new differential of one shido. Is that what it means? We don't know. The IJF press release is very unclear about this.

Those are the five questions I will be looking out for in January when the IJF clarifies everything during a referee summit in Baku. 

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