I is for Ippon

Shoshei Ono upending Ugo Legrand on his head. Photo by Jack Willingham, official judo photographer.

There is a country that is more passionate about judo than Japan, even though “the gentle way” was crafted by Japanese educator Kano Jigoro. The Japanese martial art was designed to be about control rather than combat, defeating an opponent by knocking him off balance rather than beating him senseless. In judo, the ippon is the match-ending throw or pin, like a pin in wrestling, although such a move in judo is about orchestrating a series of techniques rather than exerting dominance through force, strategic as much as physical:

In this sport, you search for the ippon (winning throw) and I like this because it’s difficult, it’s not an easy sport.

Teddy Riner, three-time Olympic medalist and ten-time World champion in the 100kg+ class in Judo.

Six-foot eight-inch Teddy Riner is in the running to become the Greatest Of All Time, as we Americans would say. Riner just lost his first match in ten years this past February, wherein he tweeted to his thousands of followers:

Merci à tous 🙏🏾🙏🏾
On ne lâche pas et on se remet au boulot

Teddy Riner, after his win streak of 154 ended at the Paris Grand Slam.

Yep, that’s right. Teddy Riner is from that judo-crazy country, France.

Continue reading “I is for Ippon”