60th Anniversary of Win That Changed Judo History

Anton Geesink

Thursday marked the 60th anniversary of a major milestone in martial arts history, the victory of Dutch judoka Anton Geesink at the 1961 World Judo Championships. Held in Paris, it was the third ever world championship tournament and the first to be contested outside Japan. More importantly, it was the first time a non-Japanese competitor had ever defeated the Japanese in their own sport on the world stage.

As reported in the April, 1962 issue of Black Belt, Geesink, a towering 6 foot 6 inch fifth degree black belt, defeated the previous world champion, Koji Sone, by pin to capture the title. Geesink's victory signaled the end of Japan's complete domination of the martial art they created and the emergence of judo as a true, worldwide sport. Geesink would go on to prove this again in 1964 capturing gold at the first ever Olympic judo competition in Japan.

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