Judo is a traditional Japanese grappling art developed by Jigoro Kano
, whereas the competitors try to throw or force their opponent to the mat.
When competing in judo one can score points by performing an effective throw, or by forcing an opponent into submission.
Judo players, a.k.a. judoka, will do their best to gain control of their opponent before applying a throwing or holding technique.
Along with such greats such as Masahiko Kimura,
Yasuhiro Yamashita is considered one of the best judoka ever.
When his home country of Japan boycotted the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow for invading Afghanistan, Yamashita had a winning streak of 194 (!) fights to his record.
And there went his chance of winning an Olympic gold medal. Yamashita was devastated and even wept on Japanese television.
As the only judoka from the 1980 Japanese judo team to qualify, Yamashita got his chance four years later at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Very unfortunately in an early match of the tournament, Yamashita tore the calf muscle of his right leg. This painful injury did not deter him from continuining and winning this and several consecutive Olympic bouts.
In his final match against Egyptian Mohamed Ali Rashwan, Yamashita won the gold medal despite his calf muscle injury and became a national hero.
Noteworthy is also the fact that Rashwan did not attack Yamashita’s right leg. For his act of fairness he received an award from the International Fairplay Committee.
Yamashita went on to be awarded the Japanese National Prize of Honor and at the age of only 28 he ended his extraordinary with a whopping 203 total victories in 1985.
Ever since, 9th degree black belt Yasuhiro Yamashita has been an instructor and a trusted advisor for Tokai University and the All Japan Judo Federation as well as the International Judo Federation.
I enjoy watching ’16 Days of Glory’. I hope you do, too.