Vladimir Putin is a former Lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union KGB and the current President of Russia. He may also be the most skilled combat athlete to every hold political office, never mind be the President of a country. Putin, now sixty three years old, still practices Judo on a regular basis.
Putin holds a black belt in Judo. However, he did not just limit himself to the Japanese martial art. He also trained in Combat Sambo and Greek-Roman and freestyle wrestling.
In this video below, Putin recently took some time to get on the mat with the Russian National Judo team for some sparring.
Russian president Vladimir Putin started training Combat Sambo at the age of fourteen before switching to judo. The video above shows him drilling techniques with other judo blackbelts.
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). However, like most judo black belts he is proficient in many different throws.
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 earned Master of Sports (a Soviet and Russian sport title) in sambo in 1973 and later in judo as well (1975).
He also co-authored a book in 2004 ‘Judo with Vladimir Putin’
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.
On top of judo, Putin is also an active athlete often seen skiing or cycling and has even learned to ice skate and play a little ice hockey.