This page aims to answer common questions regarding JFAUK. If your question is not answered, please contact us and we will be more than willing to help.

What is JFAUK?

JFAUK is the National Governing Body for Traditional Kodokan Judo in the UK. We are backed by 52 countries worldwide under the World Judo Federation and Judo for All International. You can find out more here

What is the difference between you and other governing bodies?

At JFAUK our focus is on traditional judo as opposed to Olympic judo. All of our principles, policies and values are focused towards the preservation of traditional Japanese judo. This means we have a slightly different competition ruleset which allows us to do techniques that have been banned by other governing bodies. Our aim is to re-ignite judo as a martial art and keep it alive through the allowance of traditional techniques, leg grabs and by placing an emphasis on ne-waza. You can read more about JFAUK here, and read our competition ruleset here.

Furthermore, we are affiliated with the World Judo Federation (WJF), as opposed to the International Judo Federation (IJF). This means that all of our events and gradings are authorized by the WJF and most of our international integration is conducted through said international governing body. As a result, we regularly take part in international competitions organized by the WJF and are privileged to boast multiple international and world medalists as well as multiple WJF European Champions.

As well as providing a competitive platform for those that wish to undertake it, we also have a strong focus towards grassroots and club level judo. We view judo as an educational tool that helps to develop students and focus them towards being positive members of their local communities. We understand that all do judo for different reasons and therefore provide opportunities for all to excel in their own ways.

How are your competition rules different?

Our competition ruleset is focused on traditional judo meaning that many techniques that are banned in modern, olympic judo – such as leg grabs – are still allowed in JFAUK. Further to this, we put a strong emphasis on ne-waza due to our belief that judo should be a 50/50 split between tachi waza and ne-waza. Therefore, judoka competing will be allowed plenty of time to work into groundwork techqniues when fighting.

Other differences include:

  • White Judogi Only
  • No excessive Judogi badges – Manufacturer logo only
  • No Back patches on judogi
  • 30 second hold downs (25 second wazari, 30 second ippon)
  • Wazari and Ippon Only
  • Wazari’s are not cumulative – 2 Wazari’s = Ippon (Wazari Awaseti Ippon)
  • Upright judo – Little or no grip fighting allowed
  • ‘Tactical’ Judo is discouraged – students are not encouraged to win via technicalities such as causing opponents to get shido’s and holding onto that penalty until the end.
  • Shido, Chi and Kaikoku penalties.
  • 1 referee only.
  • No Golden score – referee decision after the time limit.
  • Formalities are required
  • No mat-side coaching
  • No excessive audience cheering

For the full ruleset, please click here


Do you allow leg grabs?

Yes. We believe that leg grabs are a core element of judo and removing them dilutes judo and weakens its effectiveness. Leg grabs are allowed in JFAUK/WJF EU competitions and clubs are encouraged to practice them. You can read more about our contest rules here.

Do you do competitions?

Yes! JFAUK organises and promotes participation in competitions domestically and internationally. In the UK,  JFAUK holds several competitions and tournaments that follow the Traditional Kodokan Judo contest rules. In addition, we also hold several commemorative contests and events such as Kenshiro Abbe Cup, throughout the year. Internationally, selected team members regularly travel abroad to compete and represent JFAUK. You can find out more about our events here, and more about team JFAUK here.

Our attitude towards competitions is defined by our adherence to Traditions Kodokan Judo expressed in part by the TKJ contest rules. JFAUK regards participation in competitions and tournaments as an integral part of the judo education and training. Thus, at national or international events JFAUK promotes these values and does not engage in glorification of winning, medals or promotion of flag-waving.

In general, the majority of such contests and competitions organised by JFAUK or our international partners are open to all judoka irrespective of their affiliation. However, on occasions, there may be closed events that are limited only to members of JFAUK.

Why don’t you allow blue judogi?

At JFAUK, we practice traditional judo and therefore only allow white judogi. Wearing a white judogi preserves the origins of judo. The white judogi represents purity and equality among students. Other coloured judogi cause the wearers to stand out and present themselves as different to others. Traditionally, this is disrespectful.  Furthermore, a white judogi will show dirt, sweat, blood and bacteria more clearly than blue judogi meaning that a wearing white judogi ensures all judoka stay on top of their personal hygiene.

The blue judogi was introduced to simplify the refereeing process and to cater for media audiences as the difference is colour makes it easier to distinguish between competitors. At JFAUK we cater for traditions and the practitioners of judo.

Who are your grades authorized by?

Our grades are initially signed off by our President and Technical Director, Sampson Sampson (8th Dan) who has over 45 years of teaching and practising judo. Before starting JFAUK, he was the technical director of the BJC (6th Dan at the time) and Olympic coach for Cyprus. He is now one of the Technical Directors and examiners of the World Judo Federation. This means that all our grades are also supported and authorised by the World Judo Federation.

Who graded Sampson Sampson to 8th Dan?

JFAUK Founder, President and Technical Director Sampson Sampson was awarded his 8th Dan by the World Judo Federation at the 2013 WJF European Championships held in Milan, Italy.

His grade was supported by Alfredo Vismara (9th Dan), Giuseppe Vismara (9th Dan) and all other members of the WJF Technical Committee. He was awarded his grade by WJF Vice President Paul Hoglund and General Secretary at the time Bruce Bethers (7th Dan).

For a full list of the Technical Committee involved with his grading please click here.

Can I use a JFAUK licence for events run by other governing bodies?

Yes. The JFAUK membership insures you under the Federation of Martial Arts, with a member to member cover of £10,000,000. This means you can practice judo at any dojo or event worldwide with the permission of the organiser. Please note that organisers do reserve the right to only accept entries for licence holders that they specify. This means that they can exclude certain governing bodies if they wish to do so. This is usually written on the entry documents.

Do you practice Kosen Judo?

Although we do not name our judo as ‘Kosen Judo’, we put an extremely strong emphasis on Ne-Waza. We believe that judo should be a 50/50 split between Tachi Waza and Ne-Waza. We, therefore, ensure all of our clubs spend plenty of time teaching students about the finer dynamics of groundwork. Further to this, our competition ruleset allows judoka plenty of time to work into Ne-Waza techqniues and we also hold regular Ne-Waza only competitions.

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