Friday, January 6, 2017

Best & Worst of the 2017 Rule Changes

With the IJF Referee Seminar clarifying some stuff, we now have a fuller picture of what the new rule changes entail. Here's the JudoCrazy analysis.

Best Rule Change(s)

The relaxation of the gripping rules which now allows pistol grip, cross grip, belt grip etc.. as long as tori is seen to be setting up for an attack is a most welcome move. I haven't heard any quarters complaining about this. In fact, it seems to be universally welcomed. Previously the gripping rules were far too restrictive. This relaxation of the rules is a move in the right direction.

The rule that the first leg grab infraction will be given a shido instead of a direct hansoku-make is also something that seems to be universally welcomed. Sometimes these leg grabs happen by accident and it's only fair that the players be given a shido for doing it once. Of course if it happens a second time within the same match, it's also only fair that they be given a hansoku-make. This is a rule that everyone seems to be pleased with.

Most Confusing Rule Change
Without doubt the most confusing rule change has to be concerning shido. The role of shido in Regular Time is clear enough. Shido cannot decide a match unless it's three shidos for hansoku-make. Easy enough to understand.

But once we go into Golden Score, it gets a bit harder to grasp. Basically whatever shido that was on the board before is carried over. So if Blue Player has one shido, he will have one shido in Golden Score. That in turn gives White Player a free shido to play with (he is allowed to get up to one shido without losing the match). However, if he gets an additional shido after that and Blue doesn't, it becomes two shido for White and one for Blue, so White loses.

If Blue Player had two shidos in Regular Time, that gives White Player two free shidos in Golden Score. That means he can incur up to two shidos without losing the match. Then, whoever gets the next shido loses.

Here are the details of this complex rule change.

If they wanted to make things simple, they should just make it so that even in Golden Score, shido doesn't decide a match except when it is three shidos for hansoku-make. That would make things so much easier to comprehend.

Although players and coaches will soon be able to grasp the shido rules and play it to their advantage, for the casual spectator this is totally confusing. Why should there be a different shido rule for Regular Time and Golden Score. They should be the same, for the sake of consistency.

Most Illogical Rule Change
If uke falls on both elbows, the score is waza-ari but if he falls on one elbow, there is no score. This is supposedly designed to encourage safety. But doesn't this rule encourage falling on one elbow instead of two? Why would falling on one elbow be safer than falling on two? I do not understand. See this posting for the details.

Worst Rule Change Ever
Apparently, if time is running out and a player decides to run away from his opponent because he is ahead on points, he could be given a hansoku-make for going against the spirit of judo. What crap is this? If a player refuses to engage by stiff arming or bend over double or dropping to the mat or yes, running away, they should be given a shido not a hansoku-make. This is really a ridiculous, subjective ruling. We've all seen even great champions engage in "running away" behaviour when there's like 10 seconds left in the match. Should they be given hansoku-make? I'd like to see the first referee to execute this ruling against a top competitor in a major competition in 2017. There would be an outcry. This is some crazy stuff but I managed to find one example of this happening, way back in 2011.


  1. so now there is no difference between a yuko, on old rules, and a waza ari, so the player who gets the better technique and nearly scores ippon does not get an advantage over a little push down on the side/

  2. Hi, as i understand it the final one is not new. Running away has been hansokumake for some time I thought. Happened in Moscow Grand Slam maybe 3/4 years ago?

    1. I've heard some people claim that but I have not seen it myself in any competition.

    2. simpler to just get rid of yuko scores like they did with koka, just score waza ari and ippon

    3. That's what they've done. It's now only waza-ari and ippon.

    4. Lance, found it.

    5. yes but they are going to count what would have been yuko in 2016 as a waza ari in 2017

    6. Yes, that's been confirmed by the IJF.

  3. I've seen a national final where an athlete ran behind the referee to cover himself from the opponent. That costed him shido. For me, that should have been Hansokumake! Totally agree with the rule. (although in this case it abused to extreme by the athlete)

  4. if the match has no scoring techniques at end of regular time, then goes to golden score even if one player has shido and the other not?

  5. Honestly the hansoku-make for running away is my favourite rule change of all. Being defensive is one thing. But running away or falling to the ground is against the spirit of judo and should disqualify you.