Friday, December 9, 2016

Verification of new IJF Rules 2017

One day after we published our analysis of the rumored new IJF Rules 2017, the IJF has come out with a press release that verified some of the rumors and provided some clarity on what they mean. Some rumors didn't pan out though surprisingly many were spot on. There were some issues that are still unclear though. Let's go through them, shall we?

Rumor #1: Merging of Yuko and Waza-Ari
Verdict: True.

This is what the IJF said:
* There will now only be ippon and waza-ari.
* The value of waza-ari includes those given for yuko in the past.

However, one speculation was proven to be untrue, which is that four waza-ari equals ippon.

This is what the IJF said:
* The waza-ari do not add up. Two waza-ari are no longer the equivalent of ippon.Presumably, neither does 4 waza-ari.

Rumor #2: Shido Rule Changes
Verdict: True

This is what the IJF said:
* There are now three shido, instead of previously four.
* The third shido becomes hansoku-make.

What is not clear is whether a player can win by shido or two shidos without any score on the board. According to speculation it will no longer be possible to win with only one or two shidos if there is no score on the board (although three shidos will obviously disqualify a player). The IJF seems to indicate that this is indeed the case.

This is what the IJF said:
* Only scores (technical scores) will decide a contest.

Does the above mean that if there are no scores, shido cannot decide a contest during regular time? Probably so though it's not really that clear. What we do know is that a difference in shido can determine a contest in Golden Score.

This is what the IJF said:
* The decision in the Golden Score is made by the difference of score or shido.But to add some confusion into the mix, the IJF also said this:
* Any score and/or penalties from regular time will remain on the score board.

So, if Player A has two shidos and Player B has none and they go into Golden Score, does that mean Player B can afford to get two shidos without losing the match (because then their shidos would be equal)? Probably, right?

Rumor #3: Leg Grab Penalty Changes
Verdict: True

This is what the IJF said:
* Leg grabbing or grabbing the trousers, shall be penalized first by shido and secondly by hansoku-make

Rumor #4: Waza-ari for 10-Second Hold-Down
Verdict: True

This is what the IJF said:
* Immobilisations (Osae Komi): Waza-ari 10 seconds, Ippon 20 seconds.

Rumor #5: Men's Matches Drop to Four Minutes
Verdict: True

This is what the IJF said:
* Men and women four (4) minutes. Respect for parity as wished by the IOC and fight time unity for the Olympic mixed team event.

Note: The IJF is proposing for Tokyo 2020 a mixed team event which comprises 3 women (-57, -70, +70) and 3 men (-73, -90, +90).

This was something the rumors did not touch upon:

* In order to simplify the refereeing and its understanding all the actions that have been punished in the past on how to grab the judogi (kumikata) will not more be penalized: pistol grip, 2-hands on the same side, fingers in the sleeve.

That statement above is super interesting because it opens up gripping possibilities that have been severely curtailed in the past. For example, you can now have two hands on one side and presumably can use two hands to break a grip. Pistol gripping has always been technically illegal but players have been using it a lot in recent years and the referees have been inconsistent about penalizing. Making it legal is a good thing. Just allow it since many players are using it and getting away with it anyway. Although ducking the head was not mentioned, I'm presuming it will now be allowed too.

This was also not speculated upon in the rumors:

* If Uke attempts to avoid landing on their back by any movement which is dangerous for the head, neck or spine, they shall be penalized with hansoku-make. The competitor loses this contest, but can continue in the competition if applicable.

Currently, a bridge does not result in hansoku-make but rather an ippon is awarded to tori (the thrower). This new rule changes things a bit and penalizes uke with hansoku-make. In practical terms, it's still the same thing. Tori wins the match immediately. But philosophically, you are saying that uke is disqualified for a violation as opposed to tori has won by scoring an ippon. Interestingly, despite getting hansoku-make, uke can still fight in the repecharge rounds under this situation. Under normal circumstances, when you get hansoku-make you are disqualified from the competition.

There is one new rule that I don't understand because the language used is vague:

* Not to set a bad example for young judoka, false breakfalls won’t be considered as valid actions. Falling on two elbows, the action is counted. Falling on one elbow, the action is not counted.

What does this mean? Is it saying if you fall on your front and land on both elbows, there is no score but if you land on one elbow there is a score? If so, that would be a major change from the current rules where there is no score whenever you fall on your front (whether it's one elbow or two).


  1. Considering the last point which does not sound clear to me either.
    I refer to the French text (which seems to me to be the original, and the English just a translation) :
    "Afin de pas donner le mauvais exemple aux jeunes judoka, toute fausse chute sera considérée comme une action valide. Une chute sur les deux coudes, sera comptabilisée, une chute sur un coude ne sera pas comptabilisée."
    I would understand it as : if uke falls intentionally (to avoid being thrown by tori), tori still gets a score if uke falls on his 2 elbows, but gets no score if uke falls on one elbow.
    However it still sounds very strange !

  2. If uke falls to their back and is supported by both elbows, the fall will be scored. If uke falls to their side, such as in a yuko, this will score a waza-ari.

  3. leg grabs still illegal. sigh