When we left Olimpiahalle in Munich, Germany, Ryoko Tamura had just made history to become the first ever five-time world judo champion. And, we continue with a nice little highlight section as CBC announcer James Kendrik, with the help of Canadian judo standouts Nicolas Gill and Keith Morgan, demonstrates scoring judo throws. You get a good idea of the sudden and explosive movements which turn judo matches around. Then, an example of an ippon is given in---
60kg. Mens Semifinal
Annis Lounifi (TUNISIA)
Kazuhiko Tokuno (JAPAN)
We pick up the action a couple minutes in. Heavy favorite Tokuno takes Lounifi's collar and arm in a classic grip but the Tunisian shows the better balance, countering the throw with a full grip under his opponents arms and rocking back for the ura-nage slam. The beautiful move sends the first ever African to contest for a gold medal at the Worlds.
60kg. Mens Final
Annis Lounifi (TUNISIA)
Cedrick Taymans (BELGUIM)
Belguim may inspire thoughts of washing down a sweet Lambic ale and a washed out, sour Jean Claude Van Damme, but it's a damned good judo country which has produced eleven world and Olympic championships. Taymans is known for his mat work and his tomoe-nage (aka monkey flip), where the attacker drops to his back with a leg on his opponent's stomach, flipping him to the mat. It's a nice combination. Even if the tomoe-nage fails, you still have the opponent in your guard for mat work.
Lounifi dominates the grips and Taymans is defensive early, drawing a non combative activity penalty. The sinewy quick Lounifi gets on the board right away as he surprises with a sudden ankle pick. Taymans lands gingerly on his hip so it's only good for a third of a point (yuko) though. (Remember, a full point wins.) At three minutes in, Taymans drops for his tomoe-nage but they tumble out of bounds. On the restart, Lounifi is bulling him around the mat and he drops to a turtled position, drawing another penalty. Now it's 2/3 of a point to zero. Taymans gets aggressive to close out, and comes close with a shoulder throw, then three tomeo-nage attempts, but each time the Tunisian moves just this much, shifts just that much, that he never scores; and the ground work goes nowhere. Lounifi gets the duke and wins Africa's first ever judo world championship. Good match.
52kg. Women's Final
Sun Hui Kye (KOREA)
Raffaella Imbrani (GERMANY)
Kye is one of the top judoka in the world, an Olympic bronze medalist in 2000 with wins over the likes of Ryoko Tamura. Imbrani is over matched here, but she shows some serious spirit. Kye drops her with an uchi mata, a hip toss where the attacker flicks a leg between the opponent's legs and tosses them down. It's pretty, but she draws my ire by looking to the ref for the score upon impact rather than going for mat work on the downed opponent. Why not look to get past Imbrani's legs and go for a pin? Open up and try for the arm or choke? Anyway, the throw scores a third of a point as Imbrani landed on her side with little impact. On the restart Imbrani almost gets a nice counter as she hooks around Kye's waist to block a throw, but Kye maintains her balance. The clock runs out on the German, and Kye wins in a bland match.
66kg. Men's Final
Musa Mastayev (UKRAINE)
Arash Mirasmaeli (IRAN)
Mirasmaeli hooks Mastayev by his arm and leg in a sort of standing cradle. He looks to flip him but the Ukranian basically cartwheels to avoid the score. The next two minutes they struggle for grip control but Mirasmaeli finally hooks him up and spins what looks to me like a belly-to-belly suplex for a crushing ippon. The Iranian wins his country's first ever world judo championship.
57kg. Women's Final
Yurisleidis Lupety (CUBA)
Deborah Gravenstijn (NETHERLANDS)
The Dutch have made their martial arts mastery known through Muay Thai standouts like Bas Rutten and Ernesto Hoost, but they've also have amassed an impressive fourteen world and Olympic championships. The Cubans (they're good at every sport, aren't they?) have won almost all of their fifteen judo championships in the women's divisions. From what I've gathered, the Cuban women are not known for use of a wide arsenal of tactics. Every match, it's a drop seoi nage (this is a shoulder throw where the attacker spins around and drops to his/her knees with grip of the opponent, then sends the opponent over the shoulder) and variants of the ankle pick. But hey, they win. Incidentally, Saulo Ribiero uses the drop seoi nage in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to great effect. The Cuban ladies all go from a crouching stance with a high grip around the sleeve of the opponent, and use sudden drops to hit the move. The Cuban's womens coach is the vocal and rotund Fernando Vieja who can be as much fun to watch as any match.
Gravenstijn (looking awfully cute in her little pig tails) avoids a drop seoi nage but is off balanced and Lupety spins back to her for an ankle pick to get a quick 1/3 point. I lose count of the (let's call it a DSN, shall we?) attempts but Lupety finally flips Gravenstijn in a variant of the move. The Dutch avoids back exposure and only a half point (waza-iri) is awarded. Lupety irritates me by looking to the ref on impact, especially considering she had the guard passed when they hit the mat. She's got a big lead though, and coach Fernando Vieja barks out "No la toque!" ("Don't touch her!"), and Lupety gets passive as time runs out. A meaningless penalty ensues, but Luptety wins the gold. It wasn't a great match but it's fun to watch someone trying the same move from a thousand different angles. Well, once, anyway. =) Every member of the Cuban ladies team would go on to medal at these games. Seeing how the rest of the entire western hemisphere was shut out, that's pretty impressive.
73kg. Men's Final
Vitali Makarov (RUSSIA)
Yusuke Kanemaru (JAPAN)
This is the classic Japanese vs. European match. Makarov uses a bent forward, "power" stance, akin to a freestyle wrestler, while Kanemaru uses a traditional erect posture. Makarov was second in the worlds in 1999. Kanemaru almost scores early with a pretty tomoe-nage, and when it fails he quickly shifts to go for an arm bar. Makarov is able to stall until standup is called. Makarov takes the lead on a leg sweep as he shifts to an erect stance gracefully. Kanemaru comes a hair away from scoring several throws, but can't quite get past Makarov's defense. Finally, with about a minute to go, the Russian hits an uchi mata for the win.
Probably the best match of the tape. These guys went at it non stop, back and forth. Great stuff.
90kg. Men's Final
Frederic Demonfaulcon (FRANCE)
Zurab Zviadari (GEORGIA)
A 2000 Olympic Bronze medalist, Demontfaulcon is a matwork specialist with a sweet tomoe-nage and joins K1's Jerome LeBanner in earning the almost-exclusive title of "French Badass". Zviadari ties him up on his feet, but makes a big mistake when he drops to the mat off a failed throw to just stall for a restart. Demontfaulcon takes his back immediately and as Zviadari squirms to escape, the Frenchman isolates an arm and rolls him into an armbar. Tapout.
Joe Moriera and other Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts have commented that several judoka have groundwork just as advanced as anyone in Brazil. But then there's folks like Zviadari, who looked totally lost. The sad thing is that he might not have paid for that "flop on my belly and stall" tactic if he hadn't been in there with Demontaulcon.
Kosei Inoue (JAPAN)
Antal Kovacs (HUNGARY)
Inoue won the worlds in 1999 and the Olympics (off the sweetest throw I've ever seen) in 2000. Kovacs is the only guy to have beaten him twice in recent years. Kovacs hits a sneaky little leg throw to get ahead, but Inoue catches him at about the midway point of the match with a leg reap. He pulls at Kovac's collar while manipulating his left leg with his own, and simply drives him to the mat for ippon. Inoue won every match of these games by ippon.
CONCLUSION: Good stuff. CBC gave this show 90 minutes and it breezes right by. I might have preferred a few more dramatic ippons in preliminary action, rather than the final in each division. But this was a very solid, professional affair and certainly the best martial arts broadcast on free TV this year; though ESPN2's K1 show with the fine Alex Gong vs. Duane Ludwig Muay Thai fight comes close.
With STVR coming to a close, I'd like to end this by saying thanks to everyone out there reading, and especially to Dan for taking the helm to put this out month after month.