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Judo is a martial art derived from jujitsu. It was created in Japan by Dr Jigoro Kano, who opened his first school, known as adojo, in 1882. In Japanese, the word “judo” means “the gentle way”, but the traditional wrestling sport can hardly be described as such – it requires considerable physical effort. In judo, Kano combined philosophical principles with physical, intellectual and moral rigour, while eliminating many of the more dangerous aspects of jujitsu. Judo developed in Europe and particularly France in the late 20th century, becoming the first martial art widely practised outside Japan.

Brief overview of the rules

The objective of judo is to throw the opponent to the ground, immobilise them with a pinning hold or force them into submission with a joint lock or choke. There are two types of advantage in modern judo. The first, Ippon, is awarded for a throw that places the opponent on their back with strength, speed and control, or submission (by choke or joint lock) or pinning them to the ground for 20 seconds. If a judoka achieves Ippon, they immediately win the match. The second advantage is waza-ari, which is awarded either after an impact that misses one of the three criteria for Ippon or when an opponent is pinned down for less than 20 seconds (but longer than 10 seconds). Two waza‑ari in one match is the equivalent of Ippon and means victory for the recipient.

Judo is divided into classes by weight for men and women, with combats lasting four minutes that are extended in the event of a draw. The discipline promotes the teaching of moral values; penalties can be awarded for passivity or behaviour deemed contrary to the spirit of judo.

Olympic history

Judo made its Olympic debut at Tokyo 1964 and was a permanent fixture in the programme from the Munich 1972 Games, with women participating from the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992 onwards. Since it was first introduced at the Olympic Games, judo has massively developed across the world – with 128  National Olympic Committees competing in the judo event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Japan has been a formidable force in the sport at the Games, with Japanese judokas winning 96 medals, while French (57 medals) and Republic of Korea (46) judokas have also been highly successful.


The judo events of Paris 2024 will take place between the 27th of July and the 3rd of August.

  • -60kg (men’s)
  • -66kg (men’s)
  • -73kg (men’s)
  • -81kg (men’s)
  • -90kg (men’s)
  • -100kg (men’s)
  • +100kg (men’s)
  • -48kg (women’s)
  • -52kg (women’s)
  • -57kg (women’s)
  • -63kg (women’s)
  • -70kg (women’s)
  • -78kg (women’s)
  • +78kg (women’s)
  • Mixed Teams

Venue in 2024

International organisation

International Judo Federation

© Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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