Judo…Thrown Into The Spotlight

Olympic Silver Medalist Leads the Way

     When the thought of the Liberty Games first took shape, we were prepared (so we thought) for competitions in many sports.  Having played competitive Football, Basketball, Tennis, and Track & Field, it was believed that all of the known “staple sports” of any State Games would make this production process simple and easy.  Then we met Jason Morris, a four (4) time Olympian in Judo, and a Silver Medalist at the Olympic Games in Barcelona.  It didn’t take us long to begin to understand and sense the passion he brings to this growing sport.

     We thought you might just want us to share a bit of the history of Judo, which may help shed some light on what is taking place on those mats, where the folks in bathrobes (Judogis) are throwing each other around.   You may even learn a Japanese word or two(2):

     In 1899 a committee of the Dai Nippon Butoku Kai chaired by Jigoro Kano drew up the first formal set of rules for Judo contests.  Wins were by two ippons, awarded for throwing the opponent onto his back or by pinning them on their back for a “sufficient” amount of time or by submission.  Submissions could be achieved via shime-waza or kansetsu-waza. Finger, toe and ankle locks were prohibited. Contests were set at 15 minutes long. In 1900, these rules were adopted by the Kodokan with amendments made to prohibit all joint locks for kyu grades and added wrist locks to the prohibited kansetsu-waza for dan grades.

     In 1916, additional rulings were brought in to further limit kansetsu waza with the prohibition of ashi garami and neck locks, as well as do jime.  These were further added to in 1925, in response to Kosen Judo (高專柔道, Kōsen jūdō?), which concentrated on ne waza at the expense of tachi waza.  The new rules banned all remaining joint locks except those applied to the elbow and prohibited the dragging down of an opponent to enter ne waza.

     Judo’s international profile was boosted by the introduction of the World Judo Championships in 1956.  The Championships were initially a fairly small affair, with 31 athletes attending from 21 countries in the first year.  Competitors were exclusively male until the introduction of the Women’s Championships in 1980, which took place on alternate years to the Men’s Championships.  The Championships were combined in 1987 to create an event that takes place annually, except for the years in which Olympic Games are held.  Participation has steadily increased such that, in the most recent Championships in 2011, there were 871 competitors from 132 countries that took part.

     The first time judo was seen in the Olympic Games was in an informal demonstration hosted by Kano at the 1932 Games.  However, Kano was ambivalent about Judo’s potential inclusion as an Olympic sport.  Nevertheless, Judo became an Olympic sport for men in the 1964 Games in Tokyo.  The Olympic Committee initially dropped judo for the 1968 Olympics, meeting protests.  Dutchman Anton Geesink won the first Olympic Gold Medal in the Open division of Judo by defeating Akio Kaminaga of Japan.  The women’s event was introduced at the Olympics in 1988 as a demonstration event, and an official medal event in 1992.

     The traditional rules of Judo are intended to provide a basis under which to test skill in Judo, while avoiding significant risk of injury to the competitors.  Additionally, the rules are also intended to enforce proper reigi (礼儀?, etiquette).

     Penalties may be given for being inactive during the match, or for using illegal techniques. Fighting must be stopped if a participant is outside the designated area on the mat (tatami). If the referee and judges need to discuss something during groundwork, the referee will call sono-mama (used in the sense “do not move”, literally “as-is”) and both fighters must stop in the position they are in.  When they are done, the referee says yoshi and the match continues.

     All scores and penalties are given by the referee. The judges can make a decision that changes the score or penalty given by the referee.

     A throw that places the opponent on his back with impetus and control scores ippon (一本?), winning the contest.  A lesser throw, where the opponent is thrown onto his back, but with insufficient force to merit an ippon, scores waza-ari (技あり?).  Two (2) scores of waza-ari equal ippon  (技あり合わせて一本, waza-ari awasete ippon?).  A throw that places the opponent onto his side scores yuko (有効?).  No amount of yukos equal a waza-ari, they are only considered in the event of an otherwise tied contest.

     Ippon is scored in ne-waza for pinning an opponent on his back with a recognized osaekomi-waza for 25 seconds or by forcing a submission through shime-waza or kansetsu-waza.  A submission is signalled by tapping the mat or the opponent at least twice with the hand or foot, or by saying maitta (まいった?, I surrender).  A pin lasting for less than 25 seconds, but more than 20 seconds scores waza-ari and one lasting less than 20 seconds but more than 15 seconds scores yuko.

     If the scores are identical at the end of the match, the contest is resolved by the Golden Score rule.  Golden Score is a sudden death situation where the clock is reset to match-time, and the first contestant to achieve any score wins. If there is no score during this period, then the winner is decided by Hantei, the majority opinion of the referee and the two corner judges.

     Judo scoreboards show the number of waza-ari and yuko scores scored by each player. Often an ippon is not represented on the scoreboard, because upon award of an ippon the match is immediately terminated.  Some computerized scoreboards will briefly indicate that an ippon has been scored.

     Scoreboards normally also show the number of penalties imposed on each player, and sometimes the number of medical visits for each.  Only two (2) “medical” attentions are allowed for each competitor during a match—most often for minor bleeds.

     The Empire State Sports Council is pleased to announce Judo as an Official Sport of the 2013 Liberty Games!  If you are interested, and wish to compete for the State Title, you may now Register online by going to our website designed just for the games @ www.TheLibertyGames.com; in fact, if you Register early you can qualify for special prizes (see Below).

     Because the Liberty Games are built around the concept of T-E-A-M (Together Everyone Achieves More), we would like to make a spot in each of the articles written, that will announce the arrival of each Sport, to impress upon you the importance of each of the individual Sport’s Chairs, as they are critical in the effort to Bring Back the Games!  The Judo Sport’s Chair is Jason Morris.  When asked about Judo being part of the Liberty Games Jason responded saying, “Judo is one of the most dynamic sports in the Olympic Games.   It is fantastic that Judo will be a part of the Liberty Games.”  He adds, “…come check it out for yourself!”  This will be easy to do, as Judo will Kick Off the Liberty Games with a Special Competition on Saturday, July 13th.

     The Empire State Sports Council is very excited to have Jason Morris on our TEAM, and we hope you will enjoy taking part in the upcoming competition.  Moreover, we are so excited that we are offering the following promotion.  Be one of the first to purchase the Official Liberty Games Sportswear, as the Empire State Sports Council will hold a drawing of the first 100 Athletes, in each sport, that purchase Liberty Games Sportswear, and the selected Athlete will receive a Gift Card to a local restaurant for $10!  In addition, the winners from each sport will be placed into a larger drawing, which will be made at the Opening Ceremonies of the Liberty Games, and the winner will receive a Free Apple iPod.  The runner-up will receive a $50 Gift Certificate from Dick’s Sporting Goods.  Don’t wait, be one of the first 100 athletes in your sport to purchase Official Liberty Games Sportswear, and you can be a winner today!

     In the meantime, be sure to Like Us on Facebook, as we look forward to making so many new friends.  If you are in a position to do so, we would certainly appreciate your support of the 2013 Liberty Games.  Please take just a minute right now to click the DONATE NOW button at the top of the page and make a contribution of any amount, or better yet, join us as an ES Sports Member by clicking the BECOME A MEMBER button.  For only $3 per month you will have access to an enormous amount of benefits and discounts, that will make being an ES Sports Member one of your wisest moves of the year.  The Empire State Sports Council would greatly appreciate it!


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