Putin Shows His Judo Moves On New Instructional DVD

The prime minister on Tuesday presented an instructional judo DVD that bears his name and shows him throwing an opponent to the mat.

"Let's Learn Judo with Vladimir Putin" is a joint project between Putin -- a black belt -- and other judo enthusiasts, including former World and Olympic judo champion Yasuhiro Yamashita. It apparently was privately made and intended mainly for Russians studying judo.

Early Tuesday, minutes into his 56th birthday, Putin talked about the video during a presentation at a state-owned venue. Putin said the video's title was little more than an "advertising trick." Anyone who watches it "will be learning not from your humble servant but from real geniuses" of the martial art, he said.

Portions of the promotion and the video were shown on television later Tuesday. The video depicts a black-clad Putin talking about the history and philosophy of judo, as well as a white-robed Putin demonstrating moves against a practice partner -- and throwing him to the mat several times.

"In a bout, compromises and concessions are permissible, but only in one case: if it is for victory," Putin says at one point in the video, as Asian-style music plays on the soundtrack.

Putin, a one-time judo champion of St. Petersburg, does not hesitate to promote the sport. For instance, he has disclosed that French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to take some martial arts lessons. "He is interested in martial arts, and we have decided to do some training together," Putin told France's Le Figaro in an interview published last month.

Putin also is an avid skier, and his apparent fitness and devotion to physical activity helped increase his popularity as president. "The level of sports development undoubtedly defines the level of the country's development," Putin said during the video's promotion.

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