According to Wittes, a 47-year-old who holds black belts in aikido and taekwondo, many of his judo videos are false. They typically start with him and his sparring partners warming up, then move on to him throwing or tackling an opponent. His partners drop to the floor all too easily, Wittes says.
“At least in the videos I have seen, there are no committed attacks on him, and I see no evidence that his opponents are even trying to get the better of him,” Wittes wrote on Lawfare. “The videos show off his masculinity and mastery with them taking what the Japanese call ukemi [defensive falls] for him.”
In a Facebook post titled “Why Won’t HE Fight Me?,” Wittes put it more bluntly: “he is a fraud martial artist. He only fights people who are in his power, and they are all taking falls for him.”
The dark side of shis displays is that they are rooted in his aggression on the international stage and repression of protesters and minority groups at home.
His martial arts background is well accounted for, and he has long promoted judo and other fighting techniques as a way of disciplining oneself. Whether he’s actually as fierce a fighter as he is made out to be is, of course, a different question, one that few writers other than Wittes have approached with much scepticism.
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