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The litter Harai-goshi in the Nage-no-kata
Successful litter in competition
As a rule, children can take part in judo training from the age of five
Japanese Kanji characters for Judo

Judo ( jap. 柔道 jūdō , literally "gentle / flexible way") is a Japanese martial art whose principle is "winning by giving in" or "maximum effect with a minimum of effort". This martial art was developed by Kanō Jigorō (1860-1938) when he created a symbiosis of old Jiu-Jitsu styles (Koryu), which he had practiced with great diligence since his youth. Today judo is practiced in over 150 countries, making it the most widespread martial art in the world.

In Germany, judo is already offered to children from the age of three in individual clubs. The playful transition to judo-specific forms is fluid. Because of its many facets, Judo can be actively practiced well into old age; even judoka over eighty is not uncommon.

The traditional pillars of Judo are the form run (Japanese Kata ) and the practice fight (Japanese Randori ) or the competition (Japanese Shiai ). Classically, Kogi ( 講義 , teaching lecture ) and Mondō ( 問答 , teaching talk ) also belong to the components of judo. Today's judo is dominated by the competition techniques of recent years and is accordingly shaped by technique training.

Judo is not only a way to exercise, but also a philosophy for personal development. In this sense, a judo master also practices judo when he is not in the training hall (Japanese dōjō ). Judo is essentially based on two philosophical principles: mutual help and understanding for mutual progress and well-being ( jita kyōei , 自 他 共 栄 ) and the best possible use of body and mind ( seiryoku zenyō , 精力 善用 ). The aim is to carry these principles as an attitude and to express them consciously in every movement on the judo mat (Japanese tatami ).


Judo literally means “gentle / flexible way” (composition of “gentle”, “yielding”, “flexible” and “way”). In Japanese, the beginning of the word is pronounced like in English ( dʒɯːdoː ). In German the pronunciation is mostly [ ˈjuːdo ], in Austrian German it is mostly [ˈdʒuːdo]. A judo fighter is called a judoka (Japanese 柔道 家 ). For word formation see also Budōka .

In the beginning, the martial art founded by Kano was still called Jiu Jitsu , it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the name Judo became established . This is the reason why the term Jiu Jitsu was used in the first publications in the West . Since the western Jiu-Jitsu schools initially had only loose contact with the Kodokan organization in Japan, special techniques developed there. Most of the original Jiu-Jitsu schools later became official judo schools; In many schools, the original training under the name Jiu Jitsu was continued in parallel .



The roots of judo go back to the Nara period (710–784). In the two chronicles of Japan of that time, the Kojiki (712) and the Nihonshoki (720), there are descriptions of wrestling matches that are of mythical origin. Since 717, prize rings have been held annually at the imperial court, in which wrestlers from all provinces participated. This wrestling was called Sechie-Zumo . The Bushi took up this sumo and developed the yoroikumiuchi (wrestling in full armor) from it.

With the rise of the warrior class at the end of the 12th century, the martial arts experienced a strong boom. The cultural events were increasingly determined by the spirit of the Bushi . During this time the origins of the legendary code of honor developed, which was later described by Nitobe as Bushidō .

In Japan during the Ashikaga epoch (1136–1568), different hand-to-hand combat systems developed: One variant was Kogusoku (small armor). This type of fighting was named after the lighter armor that was newly developed at this time. In the literature and historical documents from this period there are other close combat systems such as Tai-Jutsu ("body art"), Torite ("grasping the hands"), Koshi-no-Mawari ("twisting hips"), Hobaku ("grasping") , Torinawajutsu (“Art of Grasping and Connecting”).

In the middle of the 16th century, the Portuguese introduced firearms to Japan and the martial arts - Bugei with sword, bow and arrow - lost its importance on the battlefield. However, their traditions were continued in the Edo period and made compulsory in accordance with the principle of Bunbu (literary education and military practice).

There are various influences, explanations, legends and anecdotes for the principle of yielding Ju in martial arts: In the konjaku monogatari one finds the term yawara (soft) for the first time in connection with a story about Japanese wrestling. The Chinese influences were certainly also strong, because trade with China was officially started from the Ashikaga era and expanded until the end of the 16th century.

There are various reports about the origin of Jiu Jitsu that are legendary. Their historical veracity is difficult to prove. The most poetically beautiful is certainly the legend of the doctor Akiyama Shirobei from Hizen , who is said to have studied medicine and the art of self-defense in China . Back in Japan, he retired to a temple called Dazai-Tenjin . According to tradition, it was winter and heavy snow fell on the 21st day in the temple. He looked at the trees; He noticed that many branches broke under the weight of the snow, but that the willow tree gave way because of their elasticity and let the snow slide off. On the basis of this process, the doctor Shirobei is said to have introduced the principle of "ju" - giving in - in martial arts. In the first half of the Edo period (17th / 18th century) countless Jiu-Jiutsu or related schools developed - in Japanese ryu .

Kanō Jigorō

Kanō Jigorō
Kanō Jigorō and Kyuzo Mifune

With the end of the Tokugawa period and the opening of Japan, there were also major changes in Japanese society. The Meiji Reform resulted in a plethora of government, economic, and cultural reforms. The Japanese arts were strongly pushed back, everything “western” had priority. But already at the beginning of the 1880s there was a return to spiritual and moral values.

Kanō Jigorō (1860–1938) grew up in this Japan of extreme changes. He learned Jiu Jitsu at various schools such as Tenshinshinyo-Ryu and Kito-Ryu . In 1882 Kanō Jigorō founded his own school, the Kodokan ("place to study the way") near the Eisho Temple in the Shitaya district of Tokyo. He called his art Judo, because the Kanji (character) Ju can mean both “gentle” and “yield” and the character Do can also be translated as “principle” and not just “way”.

His system consisted of throwing techniques (Nage Waza) of floor techniques (Ne Waza) as well as punching, kicking and pushing techniques (Atemi Waza), which he had taken from the system of Kito-Ryu and Tenshinshinyo-Ryu. These were traditional Jiu-Jitsu schools, in which Kanō now held the Menkyo-Kaiden (the universal teaching license and master's degree). There was even a small section of weapons technology (e.g. with sword and sticks) in the curriculum. Kanō selected a few techniques that contradicted the highest principle he had found, “the most effective use of mental and physical energy”. It is a widespread misconception that in doing so he would have removed all “bad” techniques that are capable of seriously injuring or killing a person.

In 1886 Kano's students won a regular fight between the Kodokan School and the traditional Jiu Jitsu School Ryoi-Shinto Ryu . It is claimed that Kano conceived judo as a serious self-defense art including punches and kicks , without which a victory over Ryoi-Shinto Ryu would not have been possible. Because of this success, judo spread rapidly in Japan and was soon adopted by the police and the army . In 1911 judo became a compulsory subject in all middle schools.

The famous Japanese director Akira Kurosawa made his first film Sanshiro Sugata in 1943 about judo.

After the Second World War , the Kodokan was forcibly closed for two years and reopened in 1947.

The way to the west

In 1906 Japanese warships came to Kiel for a friendship visit . The guests demonstrated their hand-to-hand combat skills to the German Kaiser. Wilhelm II was enthusiastic and had his cadets instructed in the new martial art. The most important German student at the time was Erich Rahn from Berlin , who founded the first German Jiu-Jitsu school in 1906. Other German pioneers in judo are Alfred Rhode and Heinrich Frantzen (Cologne). In 1926 the first German judo (Jiu-Jitsu) championships took place in Cologne as part of the 2nd  German Fighting Games , to which foreign fighters were invited. From then on there was also a long- term exchange of experiences between Alfred Rhodes and Gunji Koizumi , who had participated in the fighting games in Cologne with some judoka from the London Budokwai . In 1932 the first international judo summer school was held in Frankfurt's Waldstadion. On the occasion of the Judo Summer School, the German Judo Ring was founded on August 11, 1932 . Alfred Rhode became chairman. As in the rest of Europe, where this martial arts variant was introduced in Great Britain from 1920 by Gunji Koizumi and in France from 1936 by Mikinosuke Kawaishi, the term judo also caught on in Germany. In 1933 Kanō Jigorō visited Germany with some students on a trip to Europe and gave courses in Berlin and Munich. Under the leadership of Alfred Rhodes, a European Judo Union was formed for the first time in 1932 , which in 1934 organized an international judo championship (European Judo Championship) in the Kristallpalast in Dresden .

In August 1933, judo was incorporated by the National Socialists into the specialist department for heavy athletics of the German Reich Association for Physical Exercise (DRL) and thus lost its independence. In 1936 Kanō awarded the black belt to a European for the first time in the name of the Kodokan, the judo athlete Moshé Feldenkrais , who lives in France . On his last trip to Europe, Kanô granted Kawaishi, who lives in France, the right to award Dan graduations in Europe on behalf of the Kodokan. After the transfer of the German Reichsbund to the National Socialist Reichsbund für Leibesübungen (NSRL) in 1937, judo was treated as a competitive discipline as part of the original close combat sport Jiu Jitsu . Independently of Kawaishi, the NSRL heavy athletics developed and applied its own German graduation guidelines. According to the NSRL guidelines, there were also some German Dan carriers after 1938. The last German championships during the Nazi era took place in Essen in 1941 .

After the Second World War, judo was banned in Germany by the Allies until 1948. After the establishment of the German Athletes' Association (DAB) in West Germany and the German Sports Committee (DS) in the Soviet Zone , judo was re-approved as a sport of heavy athletics in 1949 . In 1950 the first GDR individual championships took place in Dresden and in 1951 in Frankfurt am Main the first German championships in the Federal Republic after the Second World War took place. The DAB and the DS organized all-German judo championships until 1954. In 1952 the German Dan College (DDK) (chaired by Alfred Rhode) and in 1953 the German Judo Association (chaired by Heinrich Frantzen ) was founded in West Germany . In the GDR, the Judo section of the German Sports Committee existed since 1952 (chairman: Lothar Skorning ) as a forerunner of the German Judo Association of the GDR (DJV) founded in 1958 . The DJV organized the first GDR championships for women in 1966. In 1970 the first German women's championships in the Federal Republic took place in Rüsselsheim. 1975 in Munich was the year of birth of the first women's European championships.

Development to competitive sport

After the Second World War, judo changed more and more from a close combat system to a competitive sport. Punching, kicking and other techniques that seriously injured the opponent were no longer taught as unnecessary for the competition and were therefore partly forgotten. The remaining techniques are mainly throws (Japanese Nage Waza ), falling techniques (Japanese Ukemi Waza ) and floor techniques (Japanese Katame Waza ). Contrary to popular belief, punching and kicking techniques are still part of judo. In katas like the kime-no-kata or the kodokan goshin-jutsu , potentially fatal actions are still present. However, punches and kicks, as well as some other dangerous techniques in today's judo, are taught, if at all, only to achieve higher grades than judo self-defense .

World Championships and Olympic Games

In 1956 the first world championships took place in Tokyo . Back then, however, there was only one open weight class. In 1961 at the third World Championships in Paris , weight classes were introduced for the first time. There the Dutchman Anton Geesink succeeded for the first time in breaking the supremacy of the Japanese and defeating the Japanese judoka.

At the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, judo was first seen as an Olympic sport. Wolfgang Hofmann , who comes from Cologne, was the first German to win a silver medal at the Olympic Games. On this occasion, the Deutsche Bundespost and also the Deutsche Post of the GDR issued a 20-pfennig postage stamp with a judo motif. In 1968 at the Olympic Games in Mexico City , judo was initially deleted from the Olympic program. Judo has been part of the Olympic program since the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. Judo was initially a male domain, but women's judo was presented as a demonstration competition at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul . Since the Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, women's judo has also been part of the Olympic program.

In 1988 judo took part in the Paralympics in Seoul for the first time . Since 2004 in Athens there has also been women's judo in the program of the Summer Paralympics. Judo is practiced in these games by the blind and people with poor eyesight. The Paralympic athletes follow the same rules as the non-disabled. Any deficits are compensated for by additional regulations. An essential difference is that the fighters are allowed to touch each other before the start of the fight for better orientation.

ID-Judo has been an official competition since Shanghai 2007 and has been represented at the Special Olympics every four years since then . At these games, judo is practiced by athletes with intellectual disabilities. The rules have been adapted for this.

For the successes of German-speaking judoka see below .


The traditional judo suit (Judo-Gi)

Traditionally, judoka wear ankle-length white cotton trousers ( Zubon ) and over them a half -length white jacket ( Uwagi ) made of cotton , which is held together by a (white, black or colored) belt ( Obi ) ( Judo-Gi ) .

In order to be able to better differentiate between the two opponents in competitions, the judoka named second when called up wears a blue suit at international championships, but also for fights in the Judo Bundesliga . If this is not possible, the fighters are distinguished by a red or white belt (in addition to their belt according to their Kyu or Dan degree).

Different colored judo suits can be used in league operations and friendship fights. It should be noted that the team appears uniformly and that there is a clear color difference to the visiting team. The home team has priority here.


The level of training of a judoka can be recognized by the color of the belt. There are student degrees (Kyū) and master degrees (Dan) . Every beginner starts with a white belt and can then take an exam to advance to the next higher level. The examinee demonstrates drop exercises, standing and floor techniques, which become more and more difficult according to the level of the graduation. The student grades go up to the brown belt. The master degrees begin with the black belt.

Student grades

The belt colors of the single-colored student grades in judo

The graphic shows the division of the student belts into nine grades, in accordance with the Kyu examination regulations of the German Judo Association (DJB), which have been in force since August 1st, 2005 for clubs affiliated to the DJB in Germany. The German Dan-Kollegium does not award two-tone belts and has its own examination regulations (see national level ).

In Austria, green-blue and blue-brown belts are also awarded, so that there are a total of eleven Kyu degrees. If the judoka is 15 years of age in the exam year, the two-tone belts can be skipped by taking both exams at the same time.

Other countries also have their own examination regulations, so that the different degrees cannot be compared with one another without further ado, but only apply in each case in their environment (the corresponding association). This also applies to any examiner licenses, which are regulated differently at national level.

Degree 9. Kyu 8. Kyu 7. Kyu 6. Kyu 5. Kyu 4. Kyu 3. Kyu 2. Kyu 1. Kyu
Surname Kukyu Hachikyu Nanakyū Rokkyu Gokyu Yonkyu Sankyu Nikyu Ikkyu
colour White White- yellow yellow- orange orange- green blue brown
yellow orange green
Minimum age (before 2015) - 7 years
8 years
9 years
10 years
11 years
(age group)
12 years
13 years
(age group)
14 years
Recommended age (since 2015) - 7 years of age in the 8th year of life (age group) a in the 9th year of life (age group) a in the 10th year of life (age group) a in the 11th year of life (age group) a in the 12th year of life (age group) a in the 13th year of life (age group) a in the 14th year of life (age group) a
Minimum age (since 2015) - - - - in the 9th year of life - in the 11th year of life - 12 years of age
a Year of birth means that the examination can be taken in the year in which the corresponding year of life is completed.

According to the Kyu examination regulations of the German Judo Association, a group of nage-no-kata must also be presented in every belt examination from the 3rd Kyu (green belt) , i.e. H. a precisely prescribed sequence of forms of movement and throwing techniques. The Kata training often leads to an even better mastery of the respective techniques, as attention is paid to an absolutely clean execution of them. There are floor and standing kata.


Since the examination for the 10th Kyū can only be taken at the age of 7, younger children are awarded "suns", of which they can achieve one from the age of 4.

The 11th Kyū is given to beginners without an examination. All other Kyū grades are awarded through exams and cannot be skipped. The minimum waiting time between exams is five months. As soon as the judoka has reached the age of 15 in the examination year, he can take examinations with even and odd grades in one examination.

Degree 11. Kyu 10. Kyu 9. Kyu 8. Kyu 7. Kyu 6. Kyu 5. Kyu 4. Kyu 3. Kyu 2. Kyu 1. Kyu
colour White White- yellow yellow- orange orange- green green- blue blue- brown
yellow orange green blue brown
Minimum age - 7 years 7 years 8 years 9 years ten years 11 years 12 years 13 years 14 years 15 years

Master degrees

The belt colors of the master degrees in judo
Degree 1st Dan 2nd Dan 3rd Dan 4th Dan 5th Dan 6th Dan 7th Dan 8th Dan 9th Dan 10th Dan
Surname Shodan Nidan Sandan Yondan Godan Rokudan Nanadan Hachidan Kudan Jūdan
colour black black black black black red- red- red- red red
White White White
Minimum age 15 years of age a - - - - - - - - -
Normal prep time 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years 6 years - - - - -
Reduced preparation time 1 year 2 years 3 years 4 years 5 years - - - - -
a With at least 12 points in the competition success card and possession of the 1st Kyū, admission to the examination is possible from the age of 15.

In Germany, according to the examination program of the German Judo Association e. V. awarded a maximum of 5th Dan. Higher grades are rare, as they cannot be achieved through a masterly mastery of technique, but are exclusively awarded. They represent, so to speak, the judoka's previous life's work. The federal association is responsible for awards from the 6th and up to the 9th Dan. The 10th Dan is only awarded by the International Judo Federation (IJF) or the Kodokan, the original judo school in Japan.

A higher graduation than the 10th Dan was not carried out worldwide - even if this would be theoretically possible, since according to Mifune it goes up to the 13th Dan. However, this meant downgrading the existing 10th Dan bearers. Kanō Jigorō, the founder of Judo, had no Dan in Judo, neither the 1st nor the 10th Dan, since from the Japanese point of view nobody has, owned or will have the authority to give him a Dan degree because nobody in Judo stood or stands above him.


The Austrian Judo Association (ÖJV) enables admission to the 1st Dan exam from the age of 16. The desired Dan graduation in years is the preparation time. In the ÖJV, technical tests up to 6th Dan are carried out.

Judo technique (Waza)

The judo techniques can be roughly divided into four basic types:

  • Nage Waza - throwing techniques
  • Katame / Ne Waza - floor techniques
  • Ukemi Waza - Fall Technique
  • Atemi Waza - Striking Techniques (Only in Kata)

The focus of modern judo lies in the sporting exercise and not necessarily in the self-defense . Kanō Jigorō said that judo should primarily serve to strengthen body and mind through the training of attack and defense forms.

Throwing Techniques (Nage-waza)

Throwing techniques are used to bring the partner from the stance to the floor position. There are a number of ways to achieve this goal. The techniques can be sorted into groups according to different methodologies.

The best known is the traditional subdivision Gokyo. The Gokyo is a collection of substances and is divided into the following throwing principle:

  • Tachi-waza (standing techniques)
    • Ashi-waza (leg and foot throws)
    • Koshi-waza (hip throws)
    • Te-waza (hand and arm throws)
  • Sutemi-waza (self-drop throws, also "sacrificial throws")
    • Yoko-sutemi-waza (throw yourself aside)
    • Ma-sutemi-waza (self-drop throws backwards)

In addition to the material collections, there are methodical systems. Methodical systems primarily offer support in learning the throwing techniques. 3 well-known examples are:

  • Kyu examination program of the German Judo Association : sorted by degree of difficulty and above all adapted to the developmental steps of children.
  • Judo throwing circle: reduces the number of throwing techniques based on movement relationships (6 basic techniques and their variants)
  • 10 teaching series, each as a completed exercise program: foot techniques 1–3, hip techniques 1–6, self-fall techniques 1

Fall Techniques (Ukemi-waza)

A judoka sets a right forward roll (Mae-mawari-ukemi or Zenpō Kaiten).

In order not to get injured during the throws, all judoka must learn falling techniques. Techniques are practiced to fall so that you do not injure yourself. Falling is trained in all directions: sideways (Yoko-ukemi; to the right and left), backwards (Ushiro-ukemi) and forwards (Mae-ukemi). The forward falling technique is also known as the judo roll (Mae-mawari-ukemi or Zenpō Kaiten). Wearers of higher belt grades also train it as a fall over an obstacle and then as a "free fall" in the air.

Similar falling techniques can be found in all other martial arts that use throwing techniques. Often only details such as B. the subsequent getting up or the way to protect yourself from further attacks by your partner after the fall is different. In the fall school, for example, judoka stand forwards in the running direction, but jiu jitsuka turn around while standing up so that they can keep an eye on the attacker immediately.

Soil Techniques (Ne-waza)

In some literature on judo, the term "katame-waza" is also used for floor techniques. However, this is a conceptual inaccuracy, since katame-waza basically encompass all fixing techniques, in this sense also, for example, lever techniques in the state.

Osae-komi-waza (holding techniques)

The thrown partner is fixed on the floor in the supine position using holding techniques. If done well, it is very difficult to get out of them, even with special release techniques.

The holding techniques are divided into five groups: Kesa-gatame, Kata / Ashi-gatame, Yoko-shiho-gatame, Kami-shiho-gatame and Tate-shiho-gatame. Each group consists of a basic technique, which is supplemented by numerous variations. In addition there are numerous more or less special liberation techniques.

Kansetsu-waza (lever techniques)

Lever techniques are only used on the elbow in judo , with controlled pressure being applied to the joint and the partner being fixed at the same time for better controllability of the technique. Moving against the anatomically intended direction of movement leads to pain that forces the partner to give up. He signals this by knocking, i.e. H. knocking any part of the body on the mat , the partner or by shouting “Maitta” (“I give up”), e.g. B. when he cannot move. There are two types of lever techniques: extension lever (Gatame groups) or flexor lever (Garami groups). In addition, the lever techniques are divided according to the lever principle.

In other sports, e.g. B. Jiu Jitsu , levers are also applied against the legs, wrist, shoulder, fingers and neck (practically every joint in the body). These lever techniques can cause serious injuries if done incorrectly or not properly. For safety reasons, only levers against the elbow joint are allowed in the Randori, as these can be carried out in a controlled manner. Levers against other joints are imparted through kata and used as self-defense techniques. Here they can be safely practiced under controlled conditions during training.

Although this group of techniques sounds dangerous, injuries rarely occur in Randori: Experienced judoka know how far they are allowed to go - both when trying to wriggle out of a lever and when levering it itself. These techniques are forbidden in competition with children, as they usually have too little experience to know how much force can be used or when to give up.

Shime-waza (choking techniques)

As with leveraging, the goal of gagging is to force the opponent to surrender. Choking can attack the carotid arteries and the front of the neck. Direct attacks on the larynx are prohibited, as is the use of one's own or the opponent's belt.

When the carotid arteries on the side of the larynx are attacked , the blood circulation is impeded by the application of pressure. This leads to an insufficient supply of the brain with oxygen . This leads to unconsciousness after 8-14 seconds. In the competition, however, the attacked person usually still has enough time to signal his task beforehand or the referee breaks off the fight when he recognizes the effect (relaxation of the body, especially the legs) with Ippon for the choking person. The grip must then be released immediately and first aid is provided by raising the legs. The strangled person will regain consciousness after 10-20 seconds. If a fighter is knocked unconscious during an official competition, he is not allowed to compete again that day for safety reasons.

An attack on the front of the neck leads to irritation of the autonomic nervous system , which manifests itself in states of fear or panic. This method works immediately when the right point is hit, although there is still enough oxygen in the blood and lungs to supply the brain for a while. Unlike when attacking the carotid artery, the pressure also acts against the larynx, which is felt to be painful.

As with levering, knocking off gives up. In competition, strangles and lever techniques can be performed well in a direct transition from standing to ground fighting before the opponent can build up a strong defense with his own hands.

As with the lever techniques, choking techniques are prohibited in the children's area.

Striking techniques (Ate-Waza / Atemi-Waza)

Striking techniques are only used in kata today, which Kano adopted from the forerunners of judo, especially from ju-jutsu, or developed them himself. Some clubs still teach striking techniques as part of self-defense. In Germany, the association “Kodokan Judo Kidokai” or “Judo Inyo-Ryu Renmei” has made an outstanding contribution to the preservation of judo as an art of self-defense. In the DJB's sports judo, it is an exhibition match that is only performed during kyu and dan acceptance tests.

Ude-Ate-Waza (arm techniques)

  • Fingertip Techniques: Yubisaki-Ate-Waza
  • Knuckle techniques: Kobushi-Ate-Waza
  • Hand edge techniques: Tegatana-Ate-Waza
  • Elbow tip techniques: Hiji-Ate-Waza
  • Ball of the hand techniques: Shotei-Uchi-Waza

Ashi-Ate-Waza (leg techniques)

  • Tip-knee techniques: Hizagashira-Ate-Waza
  • Ball techniques: Seikito-Ate-Waza
  • Heel Techniques: Kakato-Ate-Waza
  • Foot edge techniques: Sokuto-Ate-Waza
  • Sole techniques: Sokutei-Ate-Waza

Competition (Shiai)

Postage stamp from the Deutsche Bundespost Berlin (1987) for the Judo World Championships in Essen

Judo is a one-on-one sport. The aim is to throw the opponent on the back in a controlled manner using a technique with strength and speed. If this succeeds, the fight is won, like a knockout in boxing. It is usually irrelevant how the throw was made and what technique was used, as long as the thrower clearly controls the person being thrown and does not violate any rules. In fact, some techniques from other martial arts have found their way into competitive judo. As a rough guide: The better the opponent falls on his back, the better the scores you get. If none of the opponents was able to win the fight prematurely (by ippon or three punishments for the opponent), after the end of the fight time (four minutes in adult sports, between two and four minutes in children's and youth sports) a decision will be made according to scores. If the scores are a draw, a fight follows in the "Golden Score", similar to the "Golden Goal" used in football. The scores and penalties from the previous fight time are retained. However, the fight in the “Golden Score” ends immediately as soon as one of the fighters receives a rating or the third penalty. Since 2014, the Golden Score has not been subject to any time limit due to a rule change by the International Judo Federation (IJF), which was tested in 2013 and made mandatory in 2014. As a result, the referee's decision, which had previously been made in the case of a pointless 'Golden Score', was no longer valid. At the command of the main referee, all three judges simultaneously indicated with flags which fighter in their opinion fought better. The fighter with the majority of the votes won the fight.

However, the fight does not only take place while standing, but also continues on the ground. There are basically two ways of achieving a victory. If the opponent is held on his back on the ground for 20 seconds (up to 2013 it was 25 seconds), the fight is won. Similar to throwing techniques, ratings are also given for possibly shorter holding times. As an alternative, depending on the age group, there is the possibility of forcing the opponent to give up using an arm lever or a stranglehold. However, as soon as one of the opponents returns to the stand, the fight must be interrupted and restarted while standing.

To better distinguish between the opponents, the second named fighter or the fighter of the home team wears a blue suit at international and national championships as well as in the Judo Bundesliga . In smaller tournaments and especially in the youth sector, fighters are differentiated using white and red belts, which the fighters wear in addition to their normal belt.


After Koka was abolished as the smallest rating in 2009 and the next smaller rating Yuko at the beginning of 2017, there are only two different ratings. The highest rating that can be given is the Ippon . If a fighter receives this, the fight ends immediately. The second rating is waza-ari . Before the Yuko rating was abolished in 2017, a fighter with his second waza-ari also immediately won the fight. From the beginning of 2017 to January 1, 2018, Waza-ari could add up as often as desired. Today two waza-ari for one fighter make Ippon again .

Ippon (whole point)

The highest rating for a fighter is given for:

  • a throwing technique that throws the opponent on his back with control , strength and speed ,
  • holding the opponent with a holding technique (Osae-komi) for 20 seconds (up to 2013: 25 seconds),
  • Use of a lever or choke technique until the opponent gives up or becomes incapacitated (such a technique is not permitted in the U12 age group),
  • Disqualification of the opponent by Hansoku-make (Ippon is not displayed by the referee).
  • The rule that winning a waza-ari twice ( Waza-ari awasete Ippon "two waza-ari result in Ippon") results in an Ippon was abolished at the beginning of 2017, but was reintroduced in 2018.

After Ippon the fight is over.

Waza-ari (70% of a point)

A waza-ari is given for:

  • a throwing technique that only partially fulfills one of the three criteria for an ippon (a typical and quite common situation for a waza-ari is when the partner's back only partially touches the mat) or
  • holding the opponent with a holding technique (Osae-komi) for at least 10 seconds (until 2013: 20 seconds)

Since the beginning of 2017, a waza-ari has been awarded for all actions that have been rated Yuko up to this point in time.

Yuko (great technical advantage)

Until the beginning of 2017, the Yuko was a rating for action that showed a great technical advantage. This rating was abolished in early 2017. Actions that would have resulted in a Yuko rating are now rated with a waza-ari.

A yuko was awarded for:

  • a throwing technique that only partially fulfills one of the three criteria for an ippon (a typical situation would be a throw on the side without any part of the back touching the mat) or
  • holding the opponent with a holding technique (Osae-komi) for at least 10 seconds

Only one rating is given for each action, so it is not possible to receive a Waza-ari and a Yuko at the same time for one throw. In contrast to the other ratings, the Ippon is only listed on the electrical rating boards, since it leads to the immediate win of the fight. The high ratings are on the left, the lower on the right. Older battle boards also show the high scores in the middle; this representation is no longer used in competition judo. Here are a few examples for a better understanding:

example 1

Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Waza-ari Yuko Waza-ari Yuko
1 0 0 6th

Fighter 1 leads on points and has won when the fight time is up. The following applies: Each higher rating counts more than any number of lower ratings.

Example 2

Fighter 1 Fighter 2
Waza-ari Yuko Waza-ari Yuko
1 1 1 2

Fighter 2 leads on points and has won when the fight time is up.

Similar to boxing, judo evaluations are made by three people, the mat leader and two judges. The former leads the fight and gives the scores accordingly by means of word and hand signals. Both judges can express themselves independently by showing hands if they have a different opinion. A decision taken or not made by the referee can be corrected by the judge. If the two judges' scores do not match, the procedure is as follows: If the mat leader's score is lower than that of the two judges, his score must be corrected to the lowest of the two judges. If the score of the referee is higher than that of the two judges, he must downgrade his decision to the highest of the two judges. The current interpretation, however, provides for the unity of all three referees in the event of decisive scores or penalties. A discussion does not take place except for the highest penalty and in the aforementioned case.

Competition area

Fighting takes place on medium-hard mats ( tatami ), which enable a stable and secure stance and still soften falling accordingly. The competition area is divided into a fighting area and a safety area. The fight takes place on the competition area instead. The size of this area varies depending on the age group and the importance of the competitions. In the adult area, from regional championships onwards, the fighting area should be at least 7 m × 7 m, but no more than 10 m × 10 m. For international championships such as the Olympic Games, a size of 8 m × 8 m is required. The safety area forms the outer edge and is intended to avoid injuries if the opponents accidentally get outside the fighting area. This outer boundary should be two to three meters in size. Both surfaces must have a different color.

Prohibited Actions

If the competition rules are violated, the respective fighter receives a warning (Shido) or is disqualified (Hansoku-make) , whereby a warning has no direct effect on the score as was previously the case. If there is a tie at the end of the fight, the fighter with the fewest Shido wins. Since 2018, one or two Shido are no longer decisive for the fight, it is fought in the Golden Score until the decision by a rating or a third Shido or direct Hansoku-make . Only in the youth area can Shidos be used subordinate to Kinsas (technical advantage) in the so-called referee decision (Hantei) . In the case of the third violation, a Hansoku-make is pronounced, whereby the judges are advised beforehand , and the fight ends in favor of the opponent. The Hansoku-make can also be awarded directly for particularly serious rule violations . Direct disqualification from a fight also means disqualification from the entire tournament. The exception to this is the "Hansoku-make" because of direct grasp below the belt, here you can fight again in the next fight, as this attack is forbidden, but does not offend the spirit of judo. This regulation was changed in 2018, since then the grip below the belt has only been punished with Shido . The older names for the middle warning levels - Chui and Kei-Koku - are no longer in use in competition judo.

Small rule violations

The Judo Association endeavors to make the judo competition more interesting, especially for television and thus also for viewers in general. In the upper performance range, the differences in terms of strength, speed and technique are usually very small, so that a decision can take a long time without being prompted to fight aggressively. Because of this, a number of rules have been enacted that urge fighters to attack while forbidding them to maintain a steady defensive stance.

A first possibility, for example, would be to keep your partner at a distance by avoiding your own and, above all, the opponent's grip. You can't attack yourself, but neither can your opponent. Most of the time, however, you will choose your own grip in such a way that the opponent hardly has a chance to implement his attack. If, for example, both sleeve ends are held , then the opponent's grip can be avoided. Of course, like most of the actions in this group, this is initially allowed, but only if you then start an attack. However, this also depends on the situation and assessment of the judges and can vary. There are a number of other violations, including getting caught in the fingers , choosing a different type of barrel than the normal one, and, as an all-encompassing rule, adopting a generally defensive stance . Throws that are deliberately ineffective, so-called fake attacks, which serve the sole purpose of shifting the fight from standing to the ground or simulating an active fight, are punished as well as clearly avoiding attacks. Leaving the mat and deliberately pushing the opponent out is also punished with Shido.

Of course there are also techniques in judo that can endanger the fighters. It is forbidden to use leg scissors on the head, neck or torso with straight legs. Bending your fingers back or kicking your opponent's hand to loosen his grip is also not permitted. Reaching into the end of the sleeve or even into the end of the opponent's trouser leg is not permitted, as is reaching into the inside of the judogi. Parts of the clothing must also not be put in the mouth. It is not permitted to put a belt or the end of a jacket around one's extremities.

Serious rule violations

A serious rule violation occurs when a fighter endangers the health of his opponent or himself or is grossly unsporting. There are a number of techniques the use of which repeatedly caused injuries and were therefore prohibited. Examples of prohibited techniques are the Kawazu-Gake, the levered throwing, any form of levering on a joint other than the elbow, and dipping into the mat (Here a fighter tries to support his technique by straightening himself strongly bending down at the front and possibly endangering yourself), also called diving. Insulting opponents or a referee are considered grossly unsportsmanlike, as are insulting gestures. Since 2013 (international) and 2014 (national), grasping or blocking with arms or hands below the belt while standing or also when moving from standing to the ground has been punished with Hansoku-make and is therefore viewed as a serious rule violation. This means that throws in which you grip the opponent's leg are completely forbidden. This represents a tightening of the rule that has been in force since 2010, according to which these techniques were only permitted in exceptional cases (for example, if a serious attack by the opponent had already taken place). Since 2018, all direct grips below the belt line have been classified as minor offenses and thus only punished with Shido .

National level



The national association in Germany is the German Judo Association (DJB). The DJB has around 160,000 members. The 18 state judo associations are subordinate to this, of which the North Rhine-Westphalian Judo Association (NWJV) is the largest state association with 592 clubs and almost 62,000 members. The DJB organizes the national and international championships of Germany. The regional associations organize the regional championships and provide the regional referee and belt examination regulations. The DJB specifies weight classes and fight times for competitions ( see here for details ).

Another organization is the German Dan College (DDK), which was founded under the direction of Alfred Rhode one year before the Judo Federation as an association of Dan bearers. The DDK became a member of the German Judo Association in 1957 and was entrusted with graduation and teaching tasks. In this capacity it was recognized by the Kodokan and - already when it was founded - expressly given the right to graduate.

In 1982 the contract between the Kodokan and the DDK was renewed and the DDK continued to have the right to graduate judo in the Federal Republic of Germany. At the beginning of the 1990s there was a legal dispute over the right to graduation within the German Judo Association. The main point of the dispute was the question of whether the graduation is a terminable contractual relationship or a non-revocable special right of the DDK with or against the DJB according to the BGB . After the court had established that it was not a matter of a special right , but of an order, the German Judo Association withdrew the DDK's responsibility for the examination system. From then on, responsibility for graduations was given to the regional associations of the DJB, where it has remained to this day. The simultaneous development of a new examination regulation did not take place, in spite of occasionally different opinions, not because of this dispute, but in the course of the 1991 unification of the German Judo Association with the German Judo Association of the GDR . Before the two associations were merged, joint examination regulations were agreed in 1990. The principles and procedures of the DJV, which the DJV negotiator Helmut Bark had successfully brought into the negotiations , were also taken into account .

After this change, the DDK also began to accept clubs as members (until then, only judoka who were also members of a member club of the Judo Association could be members of the DDK) and thus positioned itself as a competitor to the Judo Association. This inevitably led to the exclusion of the DDK from the Judo Association. Since then there have been two separate associations in Germany. However, only the German Judo Association is organized in the German Sports Association and only the German Judo Association is recognized by the Kodokan as a national association with the relevant graduation rights.

Unaffected by developments in the 1990s, however, the original contract - as well as the 1982 contract - between Kodokan and DDK remained valid. These two copies of the contract have not yet been terminated. So it is legally paradoxical that two contradicting contract levels exist, but it is a fact.

Judo was the martial arts with the most active participants in Germany until 2012. Since 2013, for the first time, karate has had more members in the DOSB (183,882) than judo (160,555). In 2013 the German Judo Association was 22nd in the ranking of the largest leading associations in the DOSB, just behind the German Karate Association.

Successful German judoka

XIX. European Judo Championships in East Berlin, May 1970

At the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, judo was first seen as an Olympic sport. Wolfgang Hofmann from Cologne was the first German judoka to win a medal (silver) at the Olympic Games. Klaus Glahn was the first German judoka to win 2 medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964 with bronze and in 1972 in Munich with silver. At the judo world championships in Paris in 1979 Detlef Ultsch won the first judo world championship title for the GDR (he won his second world championship title in 1983). The first German Olympic champion was Dietmar Lorenz in 1980 , also for the GDR. Olympic champion in 1984 was Frank Wieneke , who also won a silver medal in Seoul in 1988.

Until the reunification, women in what was then the FRG brought home medals from world championships. Barbara Claßen from Grenzach-Wyhlen won the first women's world championship title for the DJB in Paris in 1982. In 1987 Alexandra Schreiber won the gold medal at the Judo World Championships in Essen. Then Frauke Eickhoff from Hermannsburg was the third woman to do this in Barcelona in 1991 , followed in 1993 by winning the gold medal from Johanna Hagn, who was also the first German judoka to win bronze at the 1996 Olympic Games.

The year 1991 was for the DJB through the union with the DJV with three world championship titles and three European champions the most successful competition year ever. In addition to Frauke Eickhoff , Udo Quellmalz and Daniel Lascău won the other titles in Barcelona.

Udo Quellmalz is still the most successful German judoka to this day. In 1991 and 1995 he won the world title. In 1996 he also won the gold medal in Atlanta , having won a bronze medal at the Barcelona Games four years earlier . Richard Trautmann from Munich is the most successful lightweight up to 60 kilograms and won bronze at the Olympic Games in 1992 and 1996.

In 2004 Yvonne Bönisch became the first female Olympic champion in judo for Germany. Four years later at the Games in Beijing , Reutlingen's Ole Bischof won an Olympic gold medal in the weight class up to 81 kilograms as the fifth German.

The greatest successes of German judoka at a glance:

Judo Bundesliga

The German Judo Association is the organizer of the Judo Bundesliga . 64 clubs fight in the 1st and 2nd division of the men and women. Among them are the regional leagues in which the champions of the individual federal states can advance. The German champion is also entitled to represent Germany in the European Champions Cup. The most successful club in the history of the German Judo Federation is TSV Abensberg, which was able to become German champion 20 times between 1991 and 2018 and during this time it brought the European Cup to Germany seven times.


In Austria, judo is represented by the Austrian Judo Association (ÖJV), to which nine regional associations belong. Nationwide there are 186 clubs with 25,621 active athletes.

Kanō Jigorō came to Vienna in 1933 and held two screenings here. One of them was placed on the roof of the dojo of the “1. Austrian Jiu-Jitsu Association ”. The other demonstration took place in the Moroccan Street Barracks. The Shihan of judo visited Austria again in 1934.

Peter Seisenbacher is one of the most successful Austrian judoka . He became Olympic champion in Los Angeles in 1984 and successfully defended his title in Seoul in 1988. This made Peter Seisenbacher the first judoka to successfully defend an Olympic gold medal. In 1985 he became world champion, in 1986 European champion. Austria's sports journalists voted him Sportsman of the Year in 1984, 1985 and 1988 . He also contributed significantly to the spread of judo in Austria.

In 1974 the first Austrian championships for women were held. The great moments of Austrian women's judo were the first world championships for women in New York in 1980, where Edith Hrovat , Gerda Winklbauer and Edith Simon won World Cup gold and Austria took first place in the medal classification. In 1982 at the European Championships in Oslo, half of all European titles went to Austria through victories by Edith Hrovat, Herta Reiter and Edith Simon, who won two titles (-66 kg and Open). Roswitha Hartl won the bronze medal in the demonstration competition at the 1988 Summer Olympics .

In 1992 three Austrians won in a weight class. Norbert Haimberger was European Champion in the General Class, Thomas Schleicher won the Junior European Championship and Patrick Reiter the Junior World Championship. Claudia Heill was the first Austrian to win a medal at the Olympic Games in 2004. Sabrina Filzmoser , Ludwig Paischer , 2008 Olympic runner-up in Beijing, and Daniel Allerstorfer are currently the most successful Austrian judoka.


The Swiss Judo & Ju-Jutsu Association (SJV) represents the interests of judoka in Switzerland. The seat of the association is in Bern. The association currently has around 320 clubs and sports schools as well as 14 cantonal associations. With Jürg Röthlisberger, Switzerland provided the Olympic middleweight champion (up to 86 kg) at the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Sergei Aschwanden is another internationally known judoka from Switzerland.

See also



  • H. Irving Hancock, Katsukuma Higashi: The Complete Kano Jiu-Jitsu. 1905.
  • Mikinosuke Kawaishi: Standing Judo: The Combinations and Counter-attacks. , Foulsham, Marlow , 1963.
  • Gunji Koizumi: My Study of Judo. The Principles and the Technical Fundamentals. New York 1960.
  • Jigoro Kano: Mind Over Muscle: Writings from the Founder of Judo. Kodansha International, 2005, ISBN 4-7700-3015-0 .
  • Brian N. Watson: Judo Memoirs of Jigoro Kano. Trafford Publishing, 2008, ISBN 978-1-4251-8771-2 .
  • Kyuzo Mifune: The Canon of Judo: Classic Techniques on Principles of Techniques Kodansha Intl., 2004, ISBN 4-7700-2979-9 .
  • Moshe Feldenkrais: Judo, the art of defense and attack. Frederick Warne & Co., London 1944.
  • Toshiro Daigo: Kodokan Judo Throwing Techniques. Kodansha Europe, 2005, ISBN 4-7700-2330-8 .


Web links

Commons : Judo  album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Judo  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • JudoInside.com - detailed information on Judoka and results
  • JudoHD.de - Detailed information on techniques, sorted according to the DJB's examination program
  • Judoinfo.com - detailed information on techniques
  • Judoki.de - detailed information on techniques, testing
  • Judo.de - information about the sport of judo
  • judobund.de - Website of the German Judo Association
  • SJV.ch - Website of the Swiss Judo & Ju-Jitsu Association

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Duden online: Judo
  2. Duden online: the judoka and the judoka
  3. Only German victory in the international match against Korea ( Memento from August 22, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  4. Horst Wolf: Judo self-defense. Sportverlag, Berlin 1986, ISBN 3-328-00141-7 .
  5. Bernd Linn: Judo-related self-defense. Meyer & Meyer Verlag, Aachen 2015, ISBN 978-3-89899-881-9 .
  6. ÖJV - Kyu Examination Regulations 2016. (PDF) p. 6 , accessed on April 25, 2017 .
  7. Basic rules of the German Judo Association valid from November 16, 2014 (PDF)
  8. Kyu information flyer of the DJB ( Memento from March 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  9. a b ÖJV Kyū Examination Regulations 2016 - § 13: Graduation levels. (PDF) Retrieved October 2, 2017 .
  10. Grundsatzordnung the German Federal Judo Association valid from 11.16.2014, 03.02. Requirements for participation in exams ( Memento from March 12, 2016 in the Internet Archive )
  11. ^ Rules of Honor of the German Judo Association (PDF) Retrieved on October 26, 2016 .
  12. Handbook DAN Examination Regulations (ÖJV). (PDF) Austrian Judo Association, January 21, 2011, accessed on December 20, 2016 .
  13. Ulrich Klocke: Learning to Judo. VP-Masberg, Bonn 2012, ISBN 978-3-922006-22-0 .
  14. Ulrich Klocke: Applying Judo. VP-Masberg, Bonn 2010, ISBN 978-3-922006-23-7 .
  15. ^ Christian Landsberg: Judo throwing circle. BoD, Norderstedt 2011, ISBN 978-3-8423-8229-9 .
  16. Mahito Ohgo: Basic Judo Methodology. Niederhausen 1972.
  17. a b V ENG Proposal Refeeing rules 2013–2016 meeting in Tokyo 12 2012_06 12 2012 ( Memento of the original from June 19, 2013 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 176 kB) @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.intjudo.eu
  18. a b Overview of the rule changes from 2014 to 2016 on the website of the North Rhine-Westphalian Judo Association
  19. a b c DJB: DJB presentation of the new IJF rules ( Memento from February 5, 2017 in the Internet Archive )
  20. BSO member statistics 2017. (PDF (17 kB)) (No longer available online.) Austrian Judo Association, archived from the original on July 2, 2017 ; accessed on August 29, 2017 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bso.or.at
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on November 18, 2005 .