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Debating with your friends who’s the best Judo coach?

Yasuhiro Yamashita, Kōsei Inoue, or Isao Okano?

Here is our list of the best Judo coaches of all time.

Do you agree with our picks?

Best Judo Coaches:

  1. Yasuhiro Yamashita
  2. Kōsei Inoue
  3. Isao Okano
  4. Toshihiko Koga
  5. Anton Geesink

#1 Yasuhiro Yamashita

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medalist, 4-time World Judo Championships winner
  • πŸ“… Years Active: As coach: 1993–Present (years active as competitor: 1977–1985)
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Japan National Judo Team, Tokai University Judo Club
  • 🌐 Nationality: Japanese

Yasuhiro Yamashita is not only one of the most successful judokas in the history of the sport but also a revered coach. He transitioned seamlessly into coaching after an illustrious competitive career that saw him undefeated in 203 consecutive matchesβ€”a remarkable feat.

As a coach, Yamashita has continued to have an enormous impact on judo, fostering new generations of athletes. His understanding of the technical and philosophical aspects of judo has been pivotal in Japan’s continued success in the sport.

His contributions extend beyond coaching; Yamashita also serves in leadership positions, influencing the direction and development of judo both nationally and internationally, marking him as a true ambassador of the sport.

#2 Kōsei Inoue

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medalist, 3-time World Judo Championships winner
  • πŸ“… Years Active: As coach: 2010–Present (years active as competitor: 1993–2008)
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: Japan National Judo Team
  • 🌐 Nationality: Japanese

Kōsei Inoue, often regarded as one of the greatest judokas, has made his mark as an exceptional coach for the Japan National Judo Team. His contributions have been vital in maintaining the country’s status as a powerhouse in the judo world.

His coaching philosophy not only enhances the technical skills of his judokas but also instills in them the ethos and discipline required to excel at the highest levels of competition. Inoue’s leadership played a crucial role in Japan’s impressive performances at international events.

Inoue is distinguished by his innovative approach and dedication to the progression of judo. His own competitive experience provides him with valuable insights that he imparts to his athletes, molding them into world-class competitors.

#3 Isao Okano

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medalist, 2-time World Judo Championships winner
  • πŸ“… Years Active: As coach: Unknown-Present (years active as competitor: 1954–1965)
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: Japanese

Isao Okano’s contribution to judo both as an athlete and as a coach has been significant. After capturing a gold medal in the Tokyo 1964 Olympics and winning multiple world championships, he transitioned into coaching where his impact was quickly felt.

His expertise in judo techniques, especially groundwork (ne-waza), has been influential in the training regimens of many successful judokas. Okano’s dedication to the study and teaching of judo has earned him respect throughout the judo community.

Though specific details about the teams he has coached are limited, Okano’s legacy is well recognized, and he is often sought after for his judo knowledge and philosophy by practitioners worldwide.

#4 Toshihiko Koga

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medalist, 3-time World Judo Championships winner
  • πŸ“… Years Active: As coach: Unknown-Present (years active as competitor: 1983–2000)
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: Japanese

Toshihiko Koga will forever be remembered for his electrifying techniques and his famed one-handed ippon-seoi-nage. After an outstanding competitive career that peaked with an Olympic gold medal, Koga naturally transitioned into coaching.

As a coach, Koga sought to transfer his unique approach and deep understanding of the sport to his students. Known for his disciplined training methods and innovative techniques, Koga’s influence on the judo community has been profound.

The exact details of the teams he coached and the capacity in which he served may not be well-documented, but Koga’s status in judo is legendary, and his insights as a coach are highly valued by those who have trained under him.

#5 Anton Geesink

  • πŸ† Achievements: Olympic gold medalist, 21-time European Judo Championships winner
  • πŸ“… Years Active: As coach: Unknown-Present (years active as competitor: 1951–1967)
  • πŸ‘• Teams Coached: x
  • 🌐 Nationality: Dutch

Anton Geesink stands as a trailblazer in judo, being one of the first non-Japanese judokas to win at the highest level, including a gold medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics that dramatically transformed judo’s global perception.

Post-competition, he dedicated himself to coaching, where his innovative outlook on training and strategy further influenced the growth of judo, particularly in Europe. Geesink’s stature in the sport opened doors for the expansion and popularization of judo worldwide.

While individual coaching roles and specific teams might not be extensively recorded, Geesink’s legacy is etched in judo history as an athlete and as someone who inspired countless practitioners through his teachings and philosophy.

Creating a team? Get inspired with the for a unique and catchy name that stands out at Judo team name generator.


Who is the greatest judo coach of all time?

Yoshimi Osawa is often considered the greatest judo coach, renowned for his technical expertise and having trained numerous champions during his long career.

Who was the most successful judo coach?

Toshihiko Koga is regarded as the most successful judo coach, having mentored Olympic and World Champions, including many Japanese athletes who dominated international competitions.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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