Contestant Bowing Procedures
The contestants are free to bow when entering or leaving the contest area, although it is not compulsory.
When entering the tatami area, contestants should walk to the entrance of the contest area at the same time. The contestants must NOT shake hands before the start of the contest. Sport and Organization Rules of the International Judo Federation page – 110
The contestants shall then walk to the centre of the edge of the contest area (on the safety area) at their respective side according the fighting order (judoka in the white judogi on the right side and judoka in the blue judogi on the left side of the referee’s position) and remain standing there.
At the signal from the referee, the contestants shall move forward to their respective starting positions and bow simultaneously towards each other and take a step forward from the left foot.
Once the contest is over and the referee has awarded the result, the contestants shall simultaneously take a step back from the right foot and bow to each other. If the contestants do not bow or do so incorrectly, the referee shall direct the contestants to do so. It is very important to perform the bow in the correct way.
The contest always starts with the contestants in the standing position, wearing their judogi correctly with the belt tied tightly above their hip bones, then the referee announces Hajime!