Judo is a Japanese self-defence sport that can also be practised by athletes with physical or mental disabilities. At the European Para Games, VI judo is on the programme. VI stands for Visually Impaired, judo for athletes with a visual impairment.
There are two categories of visual impairment: J1 and J2 (blind or partially sighted). Both the J1 and J2 categories have four weight categories for both men and women.
VI judo is an official event at the Paralympics. Because judo is a contact sport, a blind or visually impaired judoka can very well sense which technique his or her opponent wants to use. This allows the judoka to react and anticipate. All regular techniques are allowed in VI judo.
The history of VI judo goes back to the 1950s, when the first judo competition for athletes with a visual impairment was organised in England. In the 1970s, other countries also started practising the sport. In 1980, VI judo made its Paralympic debut as a demonstration sport, in 1988 it became an official event for men and since 2004 also for women.
Matches consist of one four-minute round for both men and women. Two scores are possible in judo: ippon and a waza-ari. With an ippon, the match is decided immediately. Twice a waza-ari is also an ippon and then the match also ends immediately. If the regular match ends and the match is not yet decided, the golden score starts. Every score, an ippon or waza-ari, counts. A third penalty can also decide the match.
The judokas try to score points by throwing or holding their opponent on the ground using various techniques.
Some important terms in judo are:
– Dojo: the place where judo is practised
– Sensei: the judo teacher or trainer
– Uke: the person who receives the attack
– Tori: the person who carries out the attack
– (Judo)Gi: the judo suit