Putin's Olympian judo teacher bashes Russian leader for acting 'cowardly'
Vladimir Putin (Mikhail KLIMENTYEV SPUTNIK/AFP)

After his invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has encountered an outbreak of condemnation resulting in many of his honors being revoked. Such was the case with his black belt in Judo, which was rescinded last month. Now Putin's friend and teacher is coming out to rebuke the Russian leader.

Vice News noticed a statement from Judo Olympian Yasuhiro Yamashita, who once recorded an instructional video with Putin in 2008. The International Judo Federation suspended Putin as the honorary president and ambassador of the group last month. Putin had an honorary 9th dan black belt—which means he was listed as a Grand Master, until he was stripped of it.

"Listening to the media reports of the inhumane acts committed in Ukraine and the Russian military aggression leaves me heartbroken," wrote Yamashita on his website in both Japanese and English. "President Putin is a Judoka and these actions are against the spirit and purpose of Judo. This cannot be tolerated."

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He explained that the whole point of Judo is to "learn the spirit of Jita-kyoei and Seiryoku-zenyo, to strengthen the body and mind, to perfect oneself and ultimately contribute to the benefit of society."

Killing nearly 2,000 Ukrainians is obviously contrary to that purpose.

"As a Judoka, my deepest sadness and thoughts are with the people of Ukraine as well as all Judo lovers around the world. I hope that these cowardly acts be halted," he said.

Read more about Putin's Judo life at Vice News.