Aim of the game
Competitors must try to throw their opponent onto the ground with their back on the floor, immobilise them on the ground for 20 seconds or force a submission
Why should you watch this?
Bouts are crammed full of skill, strength and drama – with one move, a judoka can turn a fight around in a split second
The call heard before each bout – it is the command “start!” in Japanese, given by the referee
The referee can interrupt the bout at any time – this command tells the judokas to temporarily stop fighting and return to their initial positions
The command given by the referee to indicate the end of the fight
Impress your friends
Around 1880, Jigoro Kano, a young Japanese university lecturer, studied the techniques of jiu-jitsu. He combined them, eliminating the most dangerous, to create a new style called judo (the gentle way)
In 1951, the International Judo Federation was created and the martial art made its Olympic debut in the cradle of the sport, at the Tokyo 1964 Games. Women first competed at the Barcelona 1992 Games
Brazil's Carlos Honorato attempted an ippon against Holland's Mark Huizinga at Sydney 2000 – but the Dutchman reversed the position in mid-air to win gold
Unranked British judoka Gemma Gibbons delighted the home fans at London 2012 by winning a surprise silver medal, eliminating three favourites, including world champion Audrey Tcheuméo with an ippon
Japan and France have the most Olympic medals in the sport. Current champions Kaori Matsumoto (Japan) and Teddy Riner (France) are among the favourites for Rio
In the past, all judokas competed in traditional white kimonos, but the rules were changed so that one wears blue in order to make it easier to distinguish between fighters during bouts
At Seoul 1988, Aurélio Miguel won Brazil's first Olympic gold medal in judo – despite not scoring a point, due to judge's decisions and penalties against his opponents
London 2012 lasted only a few seconds for Wojdan Shaherkani, but it was enough for her to make history. Competing in a veil, the 16-year-old became the first female Olympian from Saudi Arabia
At 218kg, Ricardo Blas Jr from Guam is the heaviest judoka to have competed at the modern Olympic Games, earning the nickname ‘Little Mountain’
Fights last five minutes for men, four minutes for women. If it ends in a tie, the contest goes to ‘golden score’ with no time limit – the judoka who scores the first point wins.
There three types of score:
Yuko: The lowest, achieved by taking the opponent down on their side or immoblising them for 10 seconds
Wazari: Taking down the opponent without them hitting the floor on their backs or without all the requirements of the ippon. Can also be achieved through an immobilisation of 15 seconds. Two wazaris equal an ippon.
Ippon: The perfect throw, this wins the fight. Consists of throwing the opponent with strength, speed and control onto their back, through an immobilisation of 20 seconds or if the opponent submits due to an arm-lock or stranglehold.
The referee stays within the combat area and has complete control of the bout, being able to interrupt at any time. They evaluate the fight and score the points that decide the result.
Kicking or punching are not permitted – if the referee thinks that one of these blows was intended, or any other that might put the physical integrity of the opponent at risk, they can penalise or disqualify the athlete. Acts of indiscipline can also be penalised.
Lack of combativeness, fleeing to the safety area and holding the opponent’s belt are other penalties that can cause warnings (shidos) – if four shidos are received in a bout, the judoka receives a hansoku make (disqualification). If the scores are equal at the end of the bout, whoever has least shidos wins.
Judokas compete wearing kimonos (also known as judogis) – a jacket and trousers made of thick cloth: one blue, the other white.
The mats are made of a special synthetic material that absorbs impact. The action takes place in the yellow combat area, which is surrounded by the green safety area.
prkSun Hui Kye