What a cracking final it was U60kg at the Grand Prix of Montreal between triple World Champion Naohisa Takato and 2018 World Championships runner-up Robert Mshvidobadze of Russia. Two clashes of styles, but analyzing a bit deeper Takato, who was always a bit special, developed himself to a Russian style hybrid judoka.
This is the style you need to have to be on top of modern judo, both master the traditional style as the modified style Takato has been showing us for the last few years.
The Final U60kg was decided in 90 seconds by the Japanese four time World Championships medallist. It was the third time that Takato defeated Mshvidobadze. It is definitely time that Japan wins that wanted Olympic gold this time after two Russian victories.
The big guns reached the final in Montreal. Takato now 26 and Mshvidobadze 29 and World number one have a huge experience and it was clearly all about this final, not so much about the road to the final which was relatively easy for both.
The Canadian crowd simply loved the level of this fight. While watching Takato you can see some unusual techniques as in the time that he got a suspension of his coach Kosei Inoue Takato went alone to Europe, tried to learn other techniques, tried to learn a bit of English and adjust to some European styles. The became un unusual Japanese hybrid and actually set the benchmark for the modern judoka in a category that needs such a speed, gripping, timing and rotation that only the best can survive in a field where Takato starts. Takato is one of the most creative athletes and he can change the contest from a traditional fight into a modified combat.
Classic techniques like uchimata or seoi nage are now modified and trendy techniques like sode tsurikomi goshi are more spectacular to see and make judo even more attractive. With fast gripping and double sleeve and lapel grips you have to respond quickly. In fact Mshvidobadze had some difficulties with Takato after a minute of feeling each-other. He had to attack and so he started with the first attempt but was immediately taken over by Takato who blocked the leg of the Russian and countered with a left uchimata with a good lapel grip and super-fast spin in a direct ippon in 85 seconds. The timing and feeling of Takato was superb. Having his support leg on the outside he gets the ultimate spin and the weight of Mshvidobadze worked against himself because of the rotation.
The modern judoka is fast, outstanding technique and the ability to adjust styles within any contest any time.