What Are Judo Rules For Grips?

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Judo is a martial art with its roots in Japan, where it was developed by the renowned Jigoro Kano in the late 19th century. The sport has become highly popular all over the world, and it is now an Olympic sport. One of the critical elements of Judo is the way players grip each other. Most of the throws and techniques in Judo require a certain type of grip, and hence, it is vital that players adhere to the Judo rules for grips.

In this article, we will explore the Judo Rules for grips, which are essential for any player hoping to take on the art of Judo. We will also answer six sub-questions related to Judo grips and educate you on playing the sport.


What are the types of grips recognized in Judo, and what are their requirements?

The Judo rules recognize three types of grip:

1. The lapel grip – This grip is taken at the top of the opponent’s gi on the side of their neck. The fingers should be on the collar, while the thumb should be on the outside.

2. The sleeve grip – This grip is taken on the opponent’s sleeve, and the player’s fingers should be inside the sleeve, while the thumb should be outside.

3. The cross grip – This grip is taken on the opponent’s opposite lapel. The player grips the gi on the other side of their opponent’s neck.

It is important to note that a player can only use one hand for one kind of grip. For example, if you take a lapel grip with your right hand, you cannot take a lapel grip with your left hand simultaneously.


What are the parameters of a legal grip?

In Judo, certain parameters must be met for a grip to be considered legal. Here are some of the requirements for a legal grip.

1. The grip must be performed on the gi – Players must grip their opponent’s gi and not their skin or clothing outside of the gi.
2. The grip must be made directly on the clothing – A player cannot use their fingers or thumb to get under their opponent’s gi to gain an advantage.
3. The grip must not be made below the belt – Players cannot grip their opponent’s gi below their hips. Doing so will result in a penalty.
4. The grip must not break the opponent’s balance – If a player pulls down the gi too hard or in a way that disturbs the opponent’s balance, it is considered an illegal grip.


What are the penalty criteria for illegal grips?

Judo referees are skilled at spotting illegal grips, and players must avoid them at all costs. Here are some of the criteria for the penalty handed out if the player manages an illegal grip.

1. Shido – For a minor offense, like a grip on the inside of the arm, a referee can give a Shido, a penalty that can lead to point deductions.
2. Hansoku-make – If a player commits three Shidos in a match, or if a player commits a severe violation, they will be disqualified.

Sub-question 4: What is the difference between a defensive and an offensive grip?

In Judo, players can take two types of grips: offensive and defensive.

An offensive grip is one that allows a player to maneuver their opponent into a position where they can throw or submit them. It is often taken high on the collar or low on the sleeve.

A defensive grip is a grip taken to neutralize the opponent’s grip or to protect oneself. It can be taken on the opponent’s sleeve or lapel and is often used to create distance between the players.


How does the grip affect the throws?

The grip is one of the critical elements that determine whether a player can execute a throw successfully. The aim of taking a grip is to create an opening or unbalance the opponent so that they are off-balance, which makes it easier to throw them.

The type of grip a player takes on their opponent will determine which throws they can execute. For instance, a sleeve grip is ideal for throws like Tai Otoshi, Seoi Nage, and Tomoe Nage, while a lapel grip is useful for throws like Osotogari, Kouchigari, and Uchimata.


What are the tactics for breaking the opponent’s grip in Judo?

Breaking the opponent’s grip is a critical tactical move in Judo. Here are some ways of breaking the opponent’s grip.

1. Grip fighting – This involves a player breaking their opponent’s grip by grabbing and letting go of the gi repeatedly to disorientate their opponent.
2. Using the hips – By pushing the hips forward, a player can break their opponent’s grip naturally.
3. Kumi-kata – This involves a player changing their grip to create an opportunity that forces their opponent’s grip to loosen up.
4. Combined grip – By taking a firm grip on their own gi, a player can break their opponent’s grip by pushing back.



As we have seen, the Judo rules for grips are critical for any player striving to become a successful Judo fighter. A legal grip is essential for executing throws successfully, and players must always work within the confines of the rules to avoid penalties. It is also important to note that various types of grips exist, each triggering different throws.

Additionally, breaking the opponent’s grip is essential to avoid getting thrown off balance. Players must work on grip fighting, using the hips, kumi-kata, and combined grips to break their opponent’s grip.

Knowing the Judo rules for grips inside out and mastering the various types of grips and how to break them is vital to become a successful Judo fighter.

Maxim Tzfenko

Maxim Tzfenko

"I live and breath Martial Arts"

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