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Saturday, November 1, 2008

Vladimir Putin releases judo instruction DVD

The Russian prime minister, Vladimir Putin, today released an instructional judo DVD to celebrate his 56th birthday.

Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin shows the former president, who is a black belt and former judo champion in his home city, St Petersburg, throwing opponents to the floor.

It has been compiled in a collaboration between Putin and other judo fighters including the former world and Olympic champion Yasuhiro Yamashita.

Other segments of the production show the prime minister talking about the history and philosophy of the martial art.

At a presentation to journalists and other guests, Putin said anyone watching the DVD "will be learning not from your humble servant but from real geniuses" of judo, describing the title of the video as an "advertising trick".

As part of his advice to viewers, Putin says: "In a bout, compromises and concessions are permissible, but only in one case - if it is for victory."

Putin, a former KGB agent and enthusiastic skier, hasn't been shy about showing off his sporting prowess.

Last year, he was pictured bare-chested and wearing combat trousers as he entertained international dignitaries on a fishing holiday in Siberia.

Other exploits shown on Russian state-controlled media have included tiger tracking and truck racing.

Putin said the health of a country was expressed through sport. "The level of developing of sports undoubtedly defines the level of development of the country itself," he added.

"Without sports, it's impossible to speak of a healthy way of life, about the health of the nation as such."

Last month, Putin told the French Le Figaro newspaper that the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, twas keen to take judo lessons, saying: "We have decided to do some training together."

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