Wim Ruska

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Wim Ruska
Wim Ruska 1968b.jpg
Wim Ruska in 1968
Personal information
Full nameWillem Ruska
Nickname(s)Tarzan of the Tatami
Born(1940-08-29)29 August 1940
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Died14 February 2015(2015-02-14) (aged 74)
Height1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight94 kg (207 lb)
Sport Judo

Willem "Wim" Ruska (29 August 1940 – 14 February 2015) was a judoka from the Netherlands. He is the only athlete to win two gold medals in Judo in one Olympics – in the heavyweight and absolute categories in 1972. [1]

Netherlands Constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Europe

The Netherlands is a country located mainly in Northwestern Europe. The European portion of the Netherlands consists of twelve separate provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba— it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian.


Judo career

He started learning judo at the Dutch Navy, later traveling to Japan for further training. In the 1960s and 1970s, under the training of Jon Bluming, [2] he won seven European titles, five in the +93 kg category (1966–67, 1969, 1971–72) and two in the open category (1969 and 1972). [3] He furthermore won two world titles (1967 and 1971) and two Olympic titles. [4] His success at the 1972 Summer Olympics was overshadowed by the Munich massacre that took place days before. [5]

Jon Bluming Dutch martial artist

Johannes Cornelius Bluming was a Dutch martial artist, instructor and actor. Known as a pioneer in variety of martial arts, Bluming held 9th dan in judo, 10th dan in Kyokushin Karate and 10th dan in Hapkido. He was also the coach of two-time Olympic champion Willem Ruska.

1972 Summer Olympics Games of the XX Olympiad, held in Munich in 1972

The 1972 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XX Olympiad, was an international multi-sport event held in Munich, West Germany, from August 26 to September 11, 1972.

Munich massacre attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany

The Munich massacre was an attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, West Germany, in which the Palestinian terrorist group Black September took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer.

He retired after the 1972 Olympics [1] and later took part in professional wrestling.

Professional wrestling entertainment form that mimics contact sports

Professional wrestling is a form of performance art and entertainment that combines athletics with theatrical performance. It takes the form of events, held by touring companies, that mimic a title-match combat sport. The unique form of sport portrayed is fundamentally based on classical and "catch" wrestling, with modern additions of striking attacks, strength-based holds and throws and acrobatic maneuvers. Much of these derive from the influence of various international martial arts. An additional aspect of combat with improvised weaponry is sometimes included to varying degrees.

Professional wrestling career

Ruska competed between 1976 and 1980 for the New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation promotions. He had over 150 pro wrestling matches, in some of which he was the tag team partner of fellow judoka Allen Coage. [6]

Allen Coage American judoka and professional wrestler

Allen James Coage was an American-Canadian judoka and professional wrestler. He won medals for the United States at several international judo competitions, including the heavyweight bronze medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and later appeared in professional wrestling promotions such as the World Wrestling Federation, New Japan Pro Wrestling and Stampede Wrestling under the ring names Bad News Brown, Buffalo Allen, and Bad News Allen.

In August 1976, Ruska fought vale tudo legend Ivan Gomes during a NJPW tour in Brazil. [7] It is said he initially challenged the Gracie family, [8] likely in response to a previous challenge they had made to Anton Geesink in 1965, [9] but Gomes accepted to fight him instead. [8] At 110kg, Gomes was significantly heavier than the 95kg Ruska. [8] The bout was fought at least partially under pro wrestling rules, with NJPW worker Teruo Takahashi as the referee and the rule that every fighter would have to release any hold if his opponent grabbed the ropes. [10] [9]

Vale tudo An unarmed, full-contact combat sport

Vale Tudo is an unarmed, full-contact combat sport with relatively few rules. It became popular in Brazil during the 20th century. It uses techniques from many martial arts. Vale Tudo is the precursor of mixed martial arts.

The Gracie family is a prominent martial arts family from Brazil known for their development of Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). They have been successful in combat sport competitions including mixed martial arts, vale tudo, and submission wrestling events. As a family, they uphold the Gracie challenge, which promotes their style of modern jiu-jitsu. Members are affinally and consanguineously related to the Machado family.

Anton Geesink Dutch judoka

Antonius Johannes Geesink was a Dutch 10th dan judoka. He was the first non-Japanese judoka to win gold at the World Judo Championship, a feat he accomplished in 1961 and 1965. He was also an Olympic Champion, having won gold at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Japan, and won a record 21 European Judo Championships during his career.

Details about the fight are sparse. Marcial Serrano wrote Gomes threw illegal strikes during the bout, [11] though Keisuke Shibusawa claimed Ruska held his own and might have injured Gomes at some point. [10] Anyway, at some other point Gomes captured Ruska's back and tried a rear naked choke, but they became tangled on the ring ropes; a photograph of the position exists in Shibusawa's book. [12] A turmoil then happened, and referee Takahashi decreed victory for the Dutchman. [7]

The rear naked choke (RNC) is a chokehold in martial arts applied from an opponent's back. The word "naked" in this context suggests that, unlike other strangulation techniques found in Jujutsu/Judo, this hold does not require the use of a keikogi ("gi") or training uniform.

The circumstances of this decision are unknown: Ivan's brother Jose claimed Ruska fell unconscious at the submission leaving unclear if he had grabbed the ropes or not, leading Takahashi to disqualify Gomes, [9] while Shibusawa said the referee noted Gomes's body was positioned half out of the ropes, so he counted him out. [10] In any case Brazilian crowds were infuriated and caused a turmoil. Local newspapers declared Gomes the winner of the match, [11] and it was rumored Takahashi was expelled from Brazil due to what was perceived as a bad call. [10]

Ruska was a close friend to sambo world champion Chris Dolman, also a Bluming understudy. They had a falling out after Dolman joined Akira Maeda's Fighting Network Rings while Ruska was part of Antonio Inoki's New Japan Pro Wrestling, but they mended it in September 1997, when Inoki visited Holland along with Naoya Ogawa. They stayed in contact until Ruska's death in 2015. [13]

Later life

In 2001 Ruska suffered a major stroke which left him physically disabled. [1]

In 2013 he was inducted in the Hall of Fame of the International Judo Federation. [14]

Ruska was admitted to a nursing home in 2014. Ruska died on 14 February 2015 at the age of 74 and was survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren. [15]

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  1. 1 2 3 Ruska. Triomf en tragiek van een judokampioen Archived 14 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine . thomasrap.nl
  2. Donn F. Draeger, Jon Bluming, Letters to the Editor, Black Belt magazine, December 1966
  3. Obtained results (dutch). Wimruska.nl. Retrieved on 16 November 2012.
  4. Wim Ruska. sports-reference.com
  5. "Wim Ruska op 74-jarige leeftijd overleden" (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
  6. Kreikenbohm, Philip. "Matches « Willem Ruska « Wrestler-Datenbank « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database".
  7. 1 2 "ANTONIO INOKI HOME PAGE 70s'kakutougi history".
  8. 1 2 3 Phil Baroni, Shinya Aoki make pro wrestling debuts in Tokyo
  9. 1 2 3 Ivan Gomes, BJJ Heroes
  10. 1 2 3 4 Keisuke Shibusawa, Gracie Jiu Jitsu no Itsusashu, 1995, Nihon Sports
  11. 1 2 Marcial Serrano (June 15, 2016). O Livro Proibido do Jiu-Jítsu Vol. 6. Clube de Autores. ISBN   978-85-914075-8-3.
  12. "★「マット界スキャンダル『機密文書』」にルスカvsゴメスの記事が - 格闘技徒然草".
  13. "ウィリアム・ルスカとクリス・ドールマンの物語~日本マット界に多大な影響、大親友としての別離と氷解 - プロレス/格闘技 カクトウログ".
  14. "Judolegende Wim Ruska overleden" (in Dutch). de Telegraaf. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.