I recently watched a Judo fight and I was confused about the scoring system. How exactly can a fight be won?

2 Answers 2


There are (as of 2018) four ways how a fight can be won:

  1. Ippon - An Ippon ("full point") is awarded, when either the opponent is thrown on the back with force, control and speed or when the opponent is fixed in Osae-komi for 20 seconds or when the opponent surrenders after an arm lock or a strangulation. Every Ippon ends the fight immediately.

  2. Waza-ari - If you perform a technique, that does not fully match the criterias for Ippon, you will be awarded an Waza-ari ("half point"). Two Waza-aris result in an Ippon ("Waza-ari-awasete-Ippon") and end the fight immediately. Also the fighter with more Waza-aris wins, when the fight time (usually 4 mins) is over.

  3. Fight end - In case of a draw, the fight will continue in Golden Score-mode. The fighter that scores the first score will immediately end the fight and be declared winner.

    Some smaller tournaments don't have Golden score but use a Hantei instead. In this case the referee decides who fought better and declares this Judoka the winner.

  4. Hansoku-make - For major or repetitive rule breaks, actions against the spirit of Judo or the performance of techniques that put the fighters health in danger a Hansoku-Make can be given. This penalty is a disqualification and ends the fight immediately. The punished fighter may or may not (depending of the circumstances) continue to fight in the tournament.

More information can be seen in a video published by the IJF (international Judo federation) to inform about the 2018 rules:


Win Ways to achieve this
Ippon - throw opponent flat on their back with skill, speed, and force
- submit opponent with armlock or strangle
- pin opponent for 20s
Waza-ari (half point) + time runs out - throw opponent but they only land on one side of their back
- pin opponent for 10s
Waza-ari-awasete-ippon (two half points) Score two waza-ari

One can also win (as in other sports) if the opponent is disqualified or must withdraw from the match:

Win Ways to achieve this
Hansoku-gachi - opponent gets 3 shido (minor penalties)
- opponent gets hansoku-make (major penalty)
Fusen-gachi Opponent does not appear to match
Kiken-gachi Opponent withdraws
Fuso-gachi Opponent withdraws due to injury

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