The Road To Victory-Common Victory Conditions

Victorious Judoka wearing their hard earned medals (on the page common victory conditions)
Victorious Judoka wearing their hard earned medals (Photo titled: Indy Godschalk (Antwerpen United Judo) and taken by Rik Vander Sanden © 2016 and added to the public domain)

Part 2, Common Victory Conditions


In the previous article (which you can read here) we discussed the scoring system for Shiai judo. In this part, we go over how to achieve the more common victory conditions in a Judo match. Now, when I say “Common”, what I mean to say is, how a beginning Judoka will usually achieve victory. In part three of this article we’ll go over other uncommon methods to win.


Scores are achieved during a judo match when the referee feels there is enough properly applied techniques in a given situation to merit a score. When and where these scores apply as a victory condition usually apply to the following situations as interpreted by the referee according to the rules of Shiai Judo:


  • Nage Waza-Throw Technique
  • Yusei Gachi-Score/Referee’s Decision
  • Osaekomi- Hold Down
  • Maitta- Submission/Surrender
  • Hansoku Make- Disqualification
  • Golden Score- Sudden Death


Nage Waza, Yusei Gachi and Osaekomi are the most common victory conditions for beginners who are still new to the Judo Shiai scene, and are what we are concentrating on in this section.

The other victory conditions-

  • Maitta-Submission/ Surrender
  • Hansoku Make- Disqualification
  • and Golden Score-Sudden Death

will be addressed in part 3


Each of these victory conditions have with them their own descriptions and methodologies. We’ll start with the one that encompasses Judo’s main objective-


Nage Waza (throw technique)


Throwing your opponent is what separates judo from the other grappling arts. It’s usually what most of your Judo instruction encompasses at practice. It’s what you practice ukemi drills for (more on that here). If done properly, your Nage Waza will win the match with a score of Ippon. To be more specific, to score Ippon, if your throw attempt:


  • Is considered a Judo Nage Waza at some basic level
  • Can be determined control was maintained throughout the throw
  • Your opponent lands on, or because of the throws momentum rolls to, their back or does an action that could be considered a “Bridge”*
  • Has adequate speed
  • Uses sufficient force


You automatically win, regardless of current scores, provided all of these elements are present.


*Bridging is the action of arching of the back so as to not contact the mat. Bridging is considered a dangerous maneuver when being thrown. If you attempt to bridge while being thrown, it will cost you the match. Hopefully that all it costs you.


Yusei Gachi-Referee’s Decision/Score


If the match ends because time on the clock has expired, which is usually anywhere between three and five minutes depending on the tournament and the participant’s skill level, the scoreboard determines who the winner is. This was gone over in more detail in part one (which you can read here), but to quickly recap; If either participant has a Waza-ari and the other does not, the judoka with the Waza-ari wins. When Waza-ari scores are equal (zero or one each), then the judoka with the most yukos wins. The judoka with the least shidos wins if everything else on the scoreboard is tied.




As with many grappling arts, victory can be achieved if you can hold your opponent on the ground in such a way they cannot escape or reverse the situation in a timely manner. In Judo, this is called Osaekomi Waza, or a Hold Down Technique. To achieve victory with Osaekomi, if you can


  • keep control of your opponent in a hold down considered to be an Osaekomi Waza (hold down technique)
  • The Uke/person receiving the technique cannot escape your control
  • And The Uke cannot encircle their legs around your waist, your head and one arm, or one of your legs
  • The Uke cannot reverse positions with you
  • And the Uke cannot remedy this situation within 20 seconds


You win.


It is not necessary,  like in say wrestling, to keep your opponent’s shoulder blades pinned to the tatami/mat. You are considered holding an Osaekomi Waza as long as you maintain control of the situation and all the aforementioned points are still applicable.


There is a lot that can happen during this phase of a match- escapes, reversals, stoppages of the osaekomi waza clock, and more that are outside the scope of this article, but will be the subject of a new article soon.


In part 3 we will go over the other ways to achieve victory in a Judo Shiai- Maitta/Surrender, Hansokomake/Disqualification, and Golden Score.


 Page 1: Introduction
Page 2: Part 1- Scoring
Page 4: Part 3: Other Victory Conditions- Coming Soon

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