IFJ Rule Changes

The IJF has been busy the last few months. They have finalized the new rules going into 2018 that will be in effect for the 2020 Olympic Games Qualification process. With these new IJF Rule Changes, be sure you’re aware of what you can and cannot do. You can find some of the new rules below:

The Rules

  • You can’t straighten the leg when doing a choke
  • Defined leg grabbing that is allowed
  • Defined leg grabbing not allowed
  • Golden Score Rules have been updated
  • Osaekomi updated & defined
  • 2 scores end a fight now or Ippon
  • Spinning out on your head will result in a direct disqualification

But Why?

With all of these IFJ rule changes happening every quad, the IJF seems to be pushing for Judo to become more of a mainstream sport. Whether you agree or disagree with the rule changes we can all agree that when it comes to the martial arts, judo is undoubtedly the most professionally run. This is especially true within the last 10 years.

As an athlete, Travis Stevens learned really quickly that there was no sense in arguing or being upset with the rule changes. If you focus on just being offensive and winning, then they won’t effect you. There is obviously going to be a learning curve for everyone, but the champions will still be champions in a year’s time.

The professionalized moves the IJF has been making especially in regard to the World Championships next year giving out $1 million dollars in prize money. Even this weekend there was an event call the World Open Championships held in Marrakech!

The Issues

The part Travis Stevens (and others) struggles with is the IJF allowing tournaments to be hosted in countries that do not allow other nations to compete. In the past few years there have been many instances where athletes have had issues getting visas. They have even been detained because of what country their passport says they are from.

We’re not talking about some Continental Open. Or competitions that don’t play a big role in Olympic Qualifications. We’re talking about competitions like the World Masters, Grand Slams, even the new World Open Event in Marrakech!

It made world news when the Israeli team was detained at the airport at the World Masters in Morocco. Or when the Israeli Team was not able to compete for their country at the Grand Slam in Abu Dhabi. All because Abu Dhabi did not recognize them as a country.

A Final Thought

Judo and the Olympic Movement is supposed to be above politics. We NEED to stand behind our fellow athletes. When it comes down to it, we all understand the sacrifice and dedication our fellow judoka have made to accomplish their dreams.

Why does the IJF choose to continue to hold such important Olympic Qualifying events in places that make it almost impossible for some athletes to compete to the best of their ability?  This is a question we should all be asking ourselves as judoka. If the IJF is not going to provide a field of play that is fair across the board for all countries involved, maybe it is time for the athletes to stand together and not attend such exclusive events?

Overall we are all for where the IJF is taking the sport. At the same time, it can’t just be about the money! We have to maintain our integrity as judoka and as a premier Olympic Sport. We have to level the playing field and support our fellow athletes.


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