The New IJF Rules – Out of hand?

I was hoping to have a video blog ready for all of you, but as it happens, we have been faced with some “technical difficulties” and won’t be able to publish it until early this week, so I appologise for that.

I thought, however, I would make a few comments on the New IJF Rules. I do have an editorial coming out in the next Matside (at least I hope I do…).

Yesterday I was a part of a presentation by our (Belgian) referee, Franky De Moor, who is now a part of the EJU Referee’s Commission. (This is handy, to say the least!) Not to mention that he is a damn good referee, one I hold in high regard.

The presentation consisted of possible scenarios and the possible outcomes of certain manoeuvers. My video that I have coming asks and demonstrates some of these and I was able to present them to Mr De Moor for his opinion.

One of the main things that came out in the discussion was about the Hansaku-make penalty which gives everyone the reason to sit up and take notice. I asked him how this was going to be played and will the referees on a whole be “trigger happy” with the penalty? His response was that direction from the IJF was that “when in doubt, do not give the penalty”. Well that’s great for a referee of his standing and understanding of the game, however, my fear is that not all referees are going to adhere to that advice. The fact is, they are not.Talk from Korea and the Masters event was the penalties were quick to come. Another interesting fact, was that Day 2 of a competition can and will be played differently from Day 1. By this I mean, for example, if Shidos were not given out enough on Day 1, referees are then given the directive to deliver more Shidos. Ok, that might be a little strong….be more aware of situations that warrant Shidos. So if you fight on Day 2, find out what the new directive is for that day. You have to do your homework, people!!!

Then we spoke of the “Grey Areas”. What’s absolute is: no touching below the belt except when countering or used as a combination. The grey areas then, for me, would immediately be: when countering an opponent you must wait until the throw is in full motion, which with someone like Inoue or Koga is 1.5 seconds too late! The instinctive reaction of someone about to be thrown often results in a hand blockage on the hips or leg which is now an immediate Hansaku-make. Inoue would have loved this! He wouldn’t have even have had to do the throw, just a little hip twitch!! Already some big throwers are taking advantage of this.

The grey area with combinations is the amount of force and movement needed from the first attack before being allowed ie: not severly penalised, to carry-on into the second technique. This is where the interpretation will differ greatly and I forsee many champions losing first round on this grey area alone.

Another area I brought forward in the conversation was that of cross gripping and gripping of the belt. I’ve been to 2 presentation now on the New Rules and the first one said, one could only counter their opponent by taking the legs if the attacker had cross-gripped onto the belt. (You following me? Got it your mind?) The 2nd presentation stated that attacker only needed to cross-grip onto any part of the jacket and /or belt thus allowing the opponent to counter by attacking below the belt. Whew!! Two different referees, two different interpretations. Hmmmmm.

Now listen…I’m all for the new rules….I hear you, you’re saying, “What? Adams are you crazy?”. Maybe, but I’m all for bringing Judo upright again and it does sound like it’s happening. They do need to iron out these grey areas quickly to create constistancy as well as consistancy in tournament results. It is going to cost some athletes valuable qualifying points.

Then there’s the Shidos!!!! Yikes!!!! We have already seen the tactical use of the Shido. The French, Korean, Japanese and the upright fighters of the world are pulling in the head and when the opponent pulls away to create space and to get their grip, otherwise seen as positive Judo, they are now getting nailed with Shidos for non-combativity or defensiveness. It will have to evolve that the strong armed posture is looked on as a defensive posture if they don’t attack as well or we are straight back to a non-throwing, defensive posture sport which defeats the ultimate goal here and the reasons for these new rules. At least we had some big throws with leg grabs and kata gurumas. This is does not make for “made-for-TV” sport!

The implementation & interpretation of the New Rules are what is key here. To make the referees consistant as well as the understanding by the coaches and athletes solid, there needs to be constructive communication, open minds and clear directives. I hope this comes sooner rather than later.


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10 Responses to “The New IJF Rules – Out of hand?”

  1. The 2010 IJF Rules and you. | Says:

    […] Neil Adams has just written a blog post on the new rules also, see it here: ] January 24th, 2010 in judo | tags: 2010 rules, hansoku, ijf, leg […]

  2. Lance Says:

    Hi Neil,
    great post, interesting perspective.
    I agree with you about implementation, I wrote a comparison between how the Rugby Union rule changes have been implemented and how the IJF rules have been implemented, i’d be interested in your comments.


  3. Tweets that mention The New IJF Rules – Out of hand? « NAEffectiveFighting's Blog -- Says:

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Lance Wicks and, Neil Adams. Neil Adams said: Neil Adams comments on the New IJF Rules on the new Blog: […]

  4. paul marchant Says:

    Is it ex top level competitive judo players setting these rules or dedicated Referees with limited competition experience beurocrats ??

    If you got 20 world champions together and told them to re-write the judo rule book what do you envisage the outcome?

    • naeffectivefighting Says:

      I think it is top level ex-fighters who have acctually made the changes but unfortunately as these rules are filtering down the refereeing chain they are being interperated by referees who have not got the same competition levels. This is where it is breaking down !!

  5. Colin realey Says:

    Fantastic blog, I really am not a fan of the new changes, kata guruma was one of my main techniques being a short powerful player and now it’s banned! At the age of 37 mainstream competition is beyond me now but I agree with what others have said, Judo is never going to be a TV sport, ever. And I feel these new measures are draconian in nature.

  6. Oon Yeoh Says:

    Completely banning techniques like kata-guruma is too much. And what of massive throwing techniques like the Khabarelli which does require gripping the pants? That’s probably banned too.

  7. Matt Says:

    I was watching a local tournament and a shorter player did a beautiful counter with a kata guruma he received an immediate Hansaku-make. Upon later discussion it was discovered that the move was actually allowed under the new rules but it was too late. I think it is a shame that younger players will not learn to defend against single and double leg takedowns. The Japanese always dominated with the more classic judo even against the wrestling Russians.

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