MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti) – While opening an international competition in Russia’s second largest city St. Petersburg on Friday, President Vladimir Putin, an avid judoist, called martial arts “a philosophy” that helps people to gain confidence in themselves.
During his opening speech at the World Combat Games 2013, Putin, a judo black belt, said martial arts were, “in essence a philosophy that gives people confidence in themselves and helps them attain harmony, strength and responsibility.”
“Various martial arts differ in technique and rules, but they all share the same common principle that fair victory always goes to the genuinely strongest,” the Kremlin website quoted Putin as saying.
“Not chance but the athlete’s own will, and not the team’s strength but personal skill and courage decide each combat’s outcome. There is no hiding behind your teammates in martial arts,” he went on. “Whether in the ring, or on the mat or the tatami, there is only you and the opponent, and it means a lot to take victory in an uncompromising and honest fight.”
According to the Russian president, martial arts are among Russia’s most popular sports with 4.5 million Russians practicing various types of them.
The Games will be held through October 26. The event’s program comprises 15 martial arts: aikido, boxing, jiu-jitsu, judo, karate, kendo, kickboxing, savate, sambo, wrestling, sumo, Thai boxing, taekwondo, wushu and fencing.