Putin Loses Multiple Martial Arts Titles


Tyler Leu, Staff Writer

Vladimir Putin, the leader of Russia, is quite skilled in martial arts. However, because of the recent invasion of Ukraine, Putin has been stripped of his title of a Taekwondo Black Belt and has been suspended as the Honorary President of the International Judo Federation.

Starting on February 24th, 2022, Putin and the Russian military have been invading their neighbor, Ukraine. It is suspected that Putin was driven to this drastic measure by Ukraine’s interest to join the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This invasion has been the main topic on American news since.

Judo is a Japanese martial art and Olympic Sport, founded by Kano Jigoro Shihan in 1882. Putin is an experienced Judoka, a person who practices or is an expert in judo. The International Judo Federation, the officials for the sport, awarded Putin with an Eight Dan Black Belt in 2014, which is one of the highest issued to Judokas. Marius Vizer, the President of the International Judo Federation, said back in 2014 that Putin was “the perfect ambassador for our sport,” and he was given the role of Honorary President. However, that changed on February 27th, when the International Judo Federation announced that Putin would be suspended as the Honorary President due to the Ukrainian invasion. The International Judo Federation in a statement said that, “In light of the ongoing war … in Ukraine, the International Judo Federation announces the suspension of Mr. Vladimir Putin’s status as Honorary President and Ambassador of the International Judo Federation.” This was somewhat surprising news, as Putin even co-wrote a book on Judo titled Judo: History, Theory, Practice.

Taekwondo is a Korean martial art, known to be one of the oldest in the world. However, modern Taekwondo began developing in the 1940’s. World Taekwondo, Taekwondo’s officials, took things a step further than Judo. Their statement on February 28th states, “World Taekwondo strongly condemns the brutal attacks on innocent lives in Ukraine, which go against the World Taekwondo vision of ‘Peace is More Precious than Triumph’ and the World Taekwondo values of respect and tolerance. In this regard, World Taekwondo has decided to withdraw the honorary Ninth Dan Black Belt conferred to Mr. Vladimir Putin in November 2013.” Unlike in Judo, Putin’s Taekwondo Ninth Dan Black Belt that gives the title of Grand Master, was stripped from him due to the recent invasion. Him getting a Ninth Dan in 2013 put him higher than world-renowned Taekwondo martial artists, including Chuck Norris, who holds an Eighth Dan reportedly. At the time, this was surprising to many.

The reason for Judo and Taekwondo revoking Putin’s titles is to hopefully get through to Putin that what he is doing is wrong. The goal of sanctions against Russia and sports committees saying that Russia is no longer allowed to participate in their tournaments is to get Russian people to go against the Russian government, to send a message to Putin. However, as of now, this strategy has had little impact on Putin’s decisions with Ukraine.