2022 Contest Rules to be Implemented from 1st June

Following approval by the BJA, the International Judo Federation’s 2022 contest rules will be adopted, with limited exceptions, at all British events effective 1st June 2022.

The new rules have been introduced following the Tokyo Olympic Games to create more opportunities to use positive kumi-kata (griping) strategies, to require a judo technique and a clearer landing to score, and to improve the safety of the sport, particularly for younger or less experienced judoka.

The more significant changes are:

  • Side landings again require a minimum 90 degrees landing to score, requiring the full line from shoulder to the hips to touch the mat at 90 degrees. The position of the arm or elbow is now irrelevant. Shoulder and upper back landings can also score waza-ari.
  • Landings without a technique, or with an interruption to the technique, cannot score, the same applies to kaeshi-waza (counters) without a technique (eg. dragging to the back)
  • Reverse seoi-nage is prohibited and penalised with shido.
  • Landing on two elbows or hands (or one of each), towards the back, is now shido for uke in addition to waza-ari for tori.
  • Breaking grips with one or two hands is allowed provided at least one grip exists after the breaking of grips: having no grip after breaking grips is shido.
  • Greater tolerance for non traditional grips is allowed, provided they are used positively in preparation for a throw.
  • A wider range of landings directly on the head by tori are considered diving – turning the head or shoulders is not sufficient to avoid hansoku-make. However, it is not diving if another part of the body supports the head landing, typically the shoulder, knee or arm.

Full details of the 2022 rules and the BJA application of them are available here and all existing BJA amendments (eg. technical restrictions) will continue to apply alongside these changes. The full rulebook will be updated in due course, following updates to the IJF SOR.



  • The penalty for the referee needing to instruct the hair to be tied properly / retied on the second and subsequent occasion will not be applied at Level 3 and below development events. It will be applied at Level 4 events.

Medical updates:

  • The IJF changes to bleeding injury and finger or toe dislocations rules are not applied.


  • While judoka are encouraged to adopt the new judogi sizing requirements, particularly when next purchasing a new judogi, they will not be enforced at BJA events at the current time. They will apply at all EJU and IJF events (per their guidance).
    • Crossover of the jacket at belt level 25cm – not applied
    • Jacket must completely cover the buttocks plus a further 5-10cm – not applied
    • Disqualification for non-compliant judogi – not applied

Training and Support

Referees of all levels will be invited to attend one of the virtual rule update seminars on 23 & 24 May.

Referees in charge will provide short briefings on the new rules to referees and coaches at the beginning of the competition day. Many of our International and Continental referees have experience using the new rules at European events and are equipped to support their colleagues and to answer questions from athletes or coaches – both in the run up to and after the application of the new rules.

Further training on the new rules, open to all BJA members, will be available at the National Refereeing Seminar – the date will be advertised later this year.  A number of refereeing and contest rules courses, again available for all members, are also being run by areas and will be listed in the BJA events calendar.

Further information

A video summary of the rule updates was provided by the IJF – available here, alongside an article further explaining the changes, available here.

For those looking for a more detailed understanding, the recent EJU Refereeing and Coaches seminar is available on YouTube.

National Refereeing Commission