Russian president Vladimir Putin on the mat
Russian President Vladimir Putin held a wrestling session with members of Russia’s national teams. The training took place in a brand new sports hall in St-Petersburg, with journalists and photographers watching on.
Putin holds a black belt in Judo. However, he did not just limit himself to the Japanese martial art. He showed off his skills from its Russian analogue Sambo and from Greek-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
Russian president Vladimir Putin started Sambo and Judo at 12 years of age, and continues to practice to this day.
Though he is not the first world leader to practice judo, Putin is the first leader to move forward into the advanced levels. Currently, Putin holds a 6th dan (red/white belt) and is best known for his Harai Goshi (sweeping hip throw).
Putin won competitions in his hometown of Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg), including the senior championships of Leningrad in both Sambo and Judo. He is the President of the Yawara Dojo, the same Saint Petersburg dojo he practiced at when he was young.
Putin also holds an 8th dan black belt in Kyokushin kaikan karate gotten in November 2014. He was presented the black belt in December 2009 by Japanese champion Kyokushin Karate-Do master Hatsuo Royama.