Wednesday 1st February 2023

Want to know more about Judo before joining a society? Here’s a quick overview of the sport and what SSS has to offer.

Judo Image

Kodokan Judo (more simply known as Judo) is a Japanese martial art which originates from Jujitsu. It was created in 1882 by Dr Jigoro Kano and would become an Olympic sport in 1960 with men first competing in 1964 and women in 1992.

Judo is seen as a sport of honour with specific rules in place for matches. A match will pit two Judoka (Judo fighters) against each other. One fighter dressed in a blue gi with the other donning white. The Judoka will step onto the Tatami mats and bow before the fight begins. A Judo contest will consist of five minutes, with the object of dominating one’s opponents.

There are two main ways to defeat your opponent in Judo. The first is to score an Ippon. An Ippon is awarded if a Judoka can throw their opponent onto their back, can keep their opponent in a grapple hold for more than 20 seconds or get their opponent in an arm hold/chokehold. Scoring an Ippon will immediately end a Judo contest.

The second is to score a Waza-ari. A Waza-ari is awarded to moves that connect with their opponent slightly less than that of an Ippon, such as landing a throw on an opponent without them fully landing on their back and holding a grapple for just shy of 20 seconds. Waza-ari translates to ‘half-point’ which means that scoring two Waza-ari will win the contest.

The final score that can be gained is a Yuko. A Yuko is a move that connects with less force than a Waza-ari. So, a throw with little pace and a grapple for shy of 15 seconds will score a Yuko. You can score any number of Yuko but if your opponent gains at least one Waza-ari, it will outrank any Yuko scored. In some competitions, a scoring system will instead be used, with 100 points awarded for an Ippon, 10 for Waza-ari and 1 for Yuko.

Like most contact sports, Judo matches are split into different weight classes. These are:

  • Extra Lightweight – Men’s ~60kg, Women’s ~48kg
  • Half Lightweight – Men’s 60-66 kg, Women’s 48-52kg
  • Lightweight – Men’s 66-73kg, Women’s 52-57 kg
  • Half Middleweight – Men’s 73-81kg, Women’s 57-63kg
  • Half Heavyweight – Men’s 81-90kg, Women’s 63-70kg
  • Heavyweight – Men’s 90-100kg, Women’s 70-78 kg
  • Open Weight – Men’s +100 kg, Women’s +78kg

Unsurprisingly, Japan has been the most successful nation in the Olympics for Judo competitions. They have received 48 gold medals, exactly three times more than the second most successful nation, France. Great Britain is yet to receive Judo gold but has won eight silver and 11 bronze medals. The most recent of which came in the 2020 Summer Olympics, where Chelsie Giles won a bronze in the Half Lightweight division.

Scottish Student Sport hosts two big Judo events per year. The first is the Kyu Grade Open which is aimed at newcomers to the sport and held to aid in their learning/development. The second is the Individual & Team Championships which is held at the SSS Games which has competitions separated into belt categories, so those at even their 1st kyu can compete for a medal. If you are interested in taking part in a judo club/society, click the links below:

University of Dundee:

University of Edinburgh:

University of Glasgow:

University of St. Andrews:

University of Stirling:

University of Strathclyde:


Sports Chair: Paul Grady –

Governing Body – Judo Scotland –

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