A Little Presidential Weakness
VVP is an accomplished judoka. Putin began training in sambo (a martial art that originated in the USSR) at the age of 14, before switching to judo, which he continues to practise today. Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championships of Leningrad in both sambo and judo. He’s the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same St Petersburg dojo he practised at when young. Currently, Putin holds a 6th dan (red/white belt, higher than the black belt in judo), and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw). Putin became a Master of Sport in judo in 1975 and in sambo in 1973. On a state visit to Japan, Putin was invited to the Kodokan Institute, the judo headquarters, where he showed different judo techniques to the students and Japanese officials. Putin also holds a 6th dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan karate. In short, VVP’s a real-deal no-nonsense athlete of the top rank… which shows in his self-confidence and lack of bluster and puffery.
Yolkin’s also pointing up that Putin’s almost invariably “thrown” the Americans in whatever situation arises. Putin halted American aggression towards Iran and he halted American attempts to attack Syria (as he thwarted the American-fomented attack on South Ossetia in ’08).
Although it’s translated as “the gentle way”, Judo could also mean a way of poise, calmness, self-possession, self-confidence, composure, dignity, self-control, and seemliness. VVP has all of these qualities… most of his Western interlocutors lack them. That should tell you something…
At the G8 summit, Barack Obama admitted that he’s not as good in basketball as he once was, whilst Vladimir Putin is still as good in judo as he ever was. Sergei Yolkin takes a wry look at all this.
19 June 2013