To AAU Judo Referees and AAU Judo Coaches;


Effective immediately, the following rule interpretations and rule modifications will be in effect. These rules interpretaions and modifications are for both the regular AAU Judo rules and AAU Freestyle Judo rules.




The “verbal instruction” will no  longer be used. The referee is instructed to issue an “official warning” (what the IJF is calling “shido”) without penalty.  Subsequent offenses will be issued a “chui” (and corresponding score of yuko in regular AAU rules or one (1) point in AAU freestyle judo rules to the opponent). Any following offense is issued “keikoku” (and corresponding score of waza-ari in regular AAU judo and 2 points in AAU freestyle judo to the opponent). If the athlete persists and does not comply with the rules, that athlete will be issued “hansoku-make” (and corresponding score of Ippon to the opponent).


Hierarchy of Penalties:

Official Warning  (equals no penalty)

Chui (equals yuko or 1 point to opponent)

Keikoku (equals waza-ari or 2 points to opponent)

Hansoku-make (equals Ippon to opponent)


Important: Athletes bending over at the waist (defensive posture), stiff-arming, failure to engage or grip the opponent, failure to attack in a reasonable time (within 15-20 seconds) are all subject to penalization.


Penalties are cumulative.  Any rule infraction is an offense.  The next offense does not have to be the same as the initial offense.  Any rule infraction can be penalized.  Some rule infractions are awarded an immediate keikoku or hansoku-make and are already addressed in the AAU Judo Rules.


Hand in face/Cross-facing. Gi in the face: Under no circumstances is any athlete allowed to push onto his opponent’s face with his hands, arms, feet, legs or elbows and under no circumstance will cross-facing be allowed. I am instructing all referees to immediately issue a penalty (even without an initial official warning) when this takes place. These actions can lead to a neck crank, which is dangerous and this will not be permitted. When the lapel or other part of the juodgi is accidentally placed in the face (as when going for a lapel choke, the attacker wraps the lapel in his opponent’s face), immediately instruct the offending athlete “gi in the face” and if he does not immediately stop, call mate. If this is his first violation and the move was not a neck crank (see below), the referee is instructed to give an official warning. If the referee deems the move as dangerous, he is instructed to issue aa appropriate penalty to the severity of the situation.

Additionally, an athlete who uses his hand, forearm, elbow,shoulder, foot or leg to shove his opponent’s face onto the mat is subject to penalties for unsportsmanlike behavior (as already outlined in the aAU Judo rules).


Pinning: Headlocks are not permitted.  When an athlete is pinning his opponent with kesa gatame or other osaekomi waza, holding the head only is not permitted. If the pinner is holding only onto the head, then the referee is instructed to call “mate” and issue an immediate “chui.”  If at any time, the pinner cranks the neck or bend the head forward, backward or twists the neck and head to the side, the referee is instructed to issue an appropriate penalty.  If the officials deem the infraction severe, the penalties of keikoku or hansoku-make may be issued.


Note:  Referees MUST be alert at all times for the possibility of injury to one or both athletes and aggressively enfore the AAU judo rules.  The referee is instructed to stop a potentially harmful technique or situation immediately.  The safety of the athletes is paramount.




Standing:  All attacks must initiate with at least one hand gripping or holding the judogi by the attacker.  Attacks such as morote gari, ashi dori, kata guruma, te guruna, sukui nage and other similar throws are all valid techniques.  However, they must be initiated after gripping or holding the opponent with one or both hands by the attacker.


NeWaza:  All athletes must show progression toward a definitive technique with skill and progress to be considered attacking.  Athletes must make an active attempt to turn the opponent onto the back, secure a pin, choke or armlock where appropriate by age group within a reasonable timeframe.  Progress must be shown toward a scoring move.  “Riding” an opponent (as in wrestling) without an attempt to turn the opponent onto the back and secure a technique is considered passivity and is subject to penalties.


NOTE:  All contestants in any AAU judo tournament are expected to attempt judo. It is not wrestling in a judogi.





Only one (1) coach is allowed in the designated coaching area per match (either at the corner or by the side of the mat). Parents, team-mates or other people are not permitted to coach, call out advice or instructions to athletes on the mat during a match. Coaching credentials will be issued at the discretion of the tournament director.


All coaches must be properly attired in a polo shirt, clean t-shirt or judogi. Shorts are permitted, but unclean or cut-off shorts are not permitted.


Coaches displaying unsportsmanlike conduct will be removed from the gymnasium and may be disqualified from further particiaption in the tournament (and may be subject to further sanctions by the AAU Judo Committee or Amateur Athletic Union of the United States).


Anyone, including coaches, who uses foul, profane or obscene language or gestures will be removed from the gymnasium and disqaulified from further participation in the tournament (and may be subject to further sanctions by the AAU Judo committee or Amateur Athletic Union of the Unites States).




The purpose of AAU Judo is to provide fair and safe opportunities for athletes, coaches, parents, officials and anyone else who wishes to participate. It is the responsibility of the referees and mat officials to enforce the rules of AAU Judo. I do not want AAU Judo to have the reputation that “anything goes” or anything other than skilled, technically proficient judo is displayed. Referees and mat officials are expected to enforce the rules of AAU Judo and coaches are expected to know the rules of AAU Judo and teach them to their athletes. These rule modifications have been written in response to the events that took place in the AAU Judo Grand Nationals on July 9, 2011. As one of the founders of AAU Judo, I want to insure that AAU Judo does not become “wrestling in a judogi” and insure that the quality of judo displayed by the athletes, officiating displayed by the referees and coaching displayed by the coaches in the AAU program is of a high quality and in keeping with the tents of Kodokan Judo.


Steve Scott

AAU Judo Vice-Chairman