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Black Tiger
Black Tiger's picture
West Versus East (Win)

So, disregarding martial style, affiliation, country, governing body etc.,

Can anybody tell me what the first significant instance of an individual competitor from the WEST beating a competitor from the traditional home of the art (i.e. Japan or China),EAST, in an international fighting competition might be?

It should be either karate, judo, jui-jitsu or the similar, and should be of Western (European or American (creed/race not an issue)) origin. Is there any such stand-out victory which marks the coming of age of western fighters?

From what I can find is

Tikky Donovan





Just wondering if there's any more

Gary Chamberlain
Gary Chamberlain's picture

One of the biggest upsets in my memory was when Steve Arneil coached the British WUKO team that beat the Japanese to become world champions in 1975.  (EDIT: Just noticed your link)

But why not?  I personally think race has nothing to do with it, only effort and the quality of ones training / coaching.  When I trained in Japan I'd say there were more students in the dojo willing to give 100%, but they weren't any stronger as individuals than the top British fighters that also gave 100%.


PASmith's picture

In Thai I'd guess it would be the Dutch fighters like Rob Kamen and Ramon Dekkers? Dekkers was the first westerner to be voted "Fighter of the year" in Thailand which is quite an achievement.

Wasn't Anton Geesink the first westerner to really make a mark in Judo and that started the use of weight divisions?

Iain Abernethy
Iain Abernethy's picture

Anton Geesink (Netherlands) would also be an obvious one. He was the first non-Japanese judoka to win the World Championships in 1961.

He also won the open weight gold medal in the 1964 Olympics; which was the first time judo was included in the Olympics as an official sport. The 1964 Olympics were held in Japan too – and Japanese players won all other categories – so you can imagine what an upset this was.

There are more details about him on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anton_Geesink

All the best,


ky0han's picture

Hi everyone,

Helio Gracie jumped my mind. Acording to Wikipedia he had several fights against Japanese fighters in the 1930s that he won and some of them ended in a draw.


Regards Holger

Gareth's picture

Regarding Steve Arneil, wasn't he the first westerner to (successfully?) complete the 100-man kumite? Not a regulated 'competition' I know but if I am correct it was a significant success.