Judo is originally a Japanese defensive art form. During the competitive sport, two judokas compete four minutes against each other on the tatami mats. The judo game starts after the referee announces the hajime commando. The match time runs continuously and can only be interrupted by a stop commando called by the referee: mate. After mate, the competition and time starts again by the hajime commando.
If after four minutes a match ends in a tie, the competition time is extended. The scores or penalty points on the scoreboard are not erased. The referee allows the judokas to straighten their uniforms and calls out hajime to get the match started again. This extension is called the golden score. The golden score continues as long as is needed for one of the judokas to score a point or to get punished.
In a judo competition, one judoka tries to throw the other judoka on their back. The referee judges the landing of the throw and is entitled to give two scores:
- Ippon: the highest score. If a contestant throws the other contestant directly on their back.
- Waza-ari: the lowest score. This is given if the contestant does not fall entirely on the back but, for instance, on the side or rolls over from side to their back.
When the referee awards a contestant with an ippon, the competition ends immediately.
In addition, a referee can penalize a judoka. In a judo competition, there are two types of penalties:
- Shido: a small misdemeanor.
- Hansoku-make: for severe offences.
A judoka penalized by hansoku-make has lost the game, thus the other contestant is automatically declared the winner. The minor violation (shidos) are summed up. The third shido automatically becomes a hansoku-make, thus ending the competition.
If you wish to know more about the judo rules of the game, please click here for more information.
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