We all know Vladimir Putin is quite the sportsman -- but did you know his fists are also considered deadly weapons?
In fact, the Russian president is a black belt in judo, having practiced the martial art since the age of 11 and later earning a Master of Sports in judo. He even penned a book about the history, theory, and practice of the Japanese art of fighting, and released an instructional DVD entitled, "Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin." (Do yourself a favor and watch the full-length video below.)
On Wednesday, Putin mourned the loss of his first judo trainer, Anatoly Rakhlin, who began training the future world leader in 1964 and was one of a handful of people invited to his first presidential inauguration in 2000, AFP reports. A Vanity Fair profile from that year demonstrates the close relationship the two maintained as Putin rose the ranks of Russia's political hierarchy -- success Putin attributes to the skills he learned on the mat.
"Judo teaches self-control, the ability to feel the moment, to see the opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, to strive for the best results," Putin writes on his website. "I am sure you will agree that these are essential abilities and skills for any politician."
Last year, Putin's passions for sport and state collided when Russia's Tagir Khaibulaev won the gold medal in the Judo 100 kg category at the London Olympics. Putin watched the match with British prime minister David Cameron, taking the time to school his host on the intricacies of the sport, the Associated Press reported at the time. Unfortunately, since judo is a summer event, he won't get to witness a similar victory on his home turf when Sochi plays host to the Winter Olympics next year.
Lest you think he's just a one-punch pony, Putin is also a black belt in karate and multiple champion in the Russian martial art of sambo, which was developed in the 1920s to improve the hand-to-hand combat skills of the Red Army. Back in March, he called on action star Steven Seagal to open a help promote a Soviet-style physical fitness plan for the country's schools designed to make Russian youth healthy and fit for military service, the Christian Science Monitor notes.
Watch the video below to learn judo from the Russian president, and check out the slideshow for photographic evidence of Putin's prolific martial arts skills.