Teddy Roosevelt’s Jiu-Jitsu

Theodore “T.R.” Roosevelt, Jr. was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States.

I saw this article over at Huffington Post. I knew that Teddy Roosevelt boxed, wrestled, and was a general bad ass but I did not know that he studied jiu-jitsu!

He wrestled, boxed, fenced, rock-climbed, rode horseback, hiked, played tennis and was even trained in Jiu-Jitsu by a Japanese master during his presidency.

Digging a little deeper I found this article:

Theodore Roosevelt trained the same type of old style Judo & Jiu-Jitsu that the first Gracies learned in Brazil from Comde Koma (who was passing by The USA on his way to Japan) back in the early days. He was taught by Yamashita Yoshiaki, the pioneer of Judo in The US, and a direct student of Jigaro Kano.

The end of the article has an excerpt from one of Roosevelt’s letters. In it he discusses how Yamashita mopped the White House floor with his son, Grant.

In consequence, Grant did not know what to do except to put Yamashita on his back, and Yamashita was perfectly content to be on his back. Inside of a minute Yamashita had choked Grant, and inside two minutes more he got an elbow hold on him that would have enabled him to break his arm…

American bias, proud father, or the truth? Roosevelt goes on to say that Grant held his own in throwing, and that with a little training a larger and faster American would “kill any of those Japanese.”


About Bob Patterson

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