The updated IJF New Rules for 2017 have clarified some things but other things are still murky.
1. What's clear now is the role of shido during Regular Time. This time, the IJF has made clear that shidos will not in any circumstances decide the winner during regular time EXCEPT for hansoku-make (3 shidos). Previously, it was widely speculated or assumed that if both players had the same score (e.g. Waza-Ari each), a shido or shidos would determine the winner. The updated rules make clear that that is not the case. So, if there are no scores or the scores are even, it doesn't matter if there's a shido or two on the board for one of the players, the match goes into Golden Score.
2. What is still unclear is the role of shido during Golden Score. The IJF's updated rules still confusingly says that shidos from Regular Time will carry over into Golden Score AND the decision during Golden Score is determined by the "difference of scores or shido". What the hell does that mean?
If Player A has a shido and Player B has no shido during Regular Time, the match goes into Golden Score. Since shidos are carried over, that means in Golden Score, Player A has one shido while Player B has none. Doesn't that make a difference of one shido thus giving the match to Player B?
Perhaps what the rules mean is that Player A has one shido and Player B has none, so Player B is allowed to get one shido without losing the match. Then, if both players have one shido each, if either of them get another shido, his opponent will get the win. Is that what this rule means? I don't know. It's confusing.
3. It is now clear that gripping inside the sleeve is illegal (in its previous press release, the IJF confusingly said it was legal).
4. It's not stated whether breaking the grip with both hands or ducking the head in a high grip situation are illegal but presumably they are both illegal still as they are considered negative play.
5. There is something about safety and landing on elbows that is incomprehensible. It states:
- landing on both elbows is valid
- landing on one elbow is invalid
Can anybody please tell me what this means???
6. It says in the case of attack and counter attack, the first competitor landing on his own body will be considered the loser. If that is so, it will surely have an impact on counters like tani-otoshi where the person doing it will always land on his back first. Even with ura-nage, a lot of the times the person doing it will land on his back first. The same with yoko-guruma. So, how?
7. An interesting development is the rule that techniques done after the players have landed will not be counted as scores but as newaza action. For many years now, we have seen scores given for techniques done immediately after the players have landed on the mat. Now, it will just go into newaza (presumably).
So, a few things are clearer now but there are still many questions left unanswered. I guess we will have to wait until the Referees' Seminar in Baku from Jan 6-7 to find out those answers.