Freestyle Judo

What is Freestyle Judo? Why are we devoting two class a week to the subject?

 A little background…

Pedro Pic

Jimmy Pedro at the Olympics performing an attack that would now be penalized with disqualification

The home school for Judo is the Kodokan. Kodokan Judo was founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882 and consolidated the very best jujitsu techniques from many schools between 1885 and 1925. Kano developed the first set of jujitsu competition rules in 1905 and these permitted students from different schools to compete together on an even footing. These rules have changed over time to include or exclude various techniques.

After World War II, Judo came into its own as an international sport. In keeping with the ideas of sporting competition, the International Judo Federation (IJF) introduced weight categories and scoring distinctions that were compatible with Olympic competition. Their work paid off in 1964 when Judo entered the Olympics. Judo has become a truly international sport thanks to the hard work and foresight of the IJF.

The Olympic movement has grown increasingly commercialized over the years. Judo competition rules have changed to make them better to watch on TV in order to keep vital commercial sponsorships. We don’t see Judo much on TV in the US, but the rest of the world does. The IJF has responded to the needs of broadcasters and the International Olympic Committee and modified Judo rules progressively.

The IJF Judo rules are the international standard and as such most competition and training is focused on how to perform under this framework. Recently, some have questioned whether the rules that govern the sport on TV should be the same rules used in a local competition. What makes for exciting TV might not be as good for those striving to improve their skills and develop well rounded Judo.

Enter Freestyle Judo…


Rousey and Meszaros

Freestyle Judo is Kodokan Judo played under a different framework. Points are awarded for changes of control like a guard pass as well as throws. Matches can be won by ippon through throws or submissions but players can also win by accumulating points from throws or groundwork techniques. Pins don’t win (although they do get lots of points); submissions do. Throws that grab the legs are permitted.

Rules shape training. When we train for IJF rules, we include or exclude techniques and strategies based on how they impact the scoring and rules. By changing the rules framework, we expand practice to include more and more options.

The Freestyle Rules have been developed by the International Freestyle Judo Alliance (IFJA).

Please join us as we explore different dimensions of Judo at Monday and Saturday Freestyle classes! Register at our online site now.

See a comparison of IJF and Freestyle Judo Rules here.

IFJA Website

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