Vintage Judo – James Cagney

This past weekened we saw Ronda Rousey use some world class judo to become the best women’s fighter on the planet, so I thought it would be nice to have a vintage judo themed post.

Years before Kimura broke Helio’s Gracie’s arm in 1951, James Cagney already knew that judo was pretty great. Hollywood actor James Cagney, most fondly remembered for starring in classic gangster films like The Public Enemy and The Roaring Twenties was a judo practitioner. To those not familiar with James Cagney, here he is in one of his most famous scenes, him smashing a grapefruit into his woman’s face in The Public Enemy (1931):

He would go on to make a film called Blood on The Sun, which would feature judo in a big way. This film is from 1945, I haven’t seen this entire film but I’ve seen this clip many times. Cagney gets in a heated fight with a stereotypical Japanese character. After the first punch is thrown, Cagney proceeds to judo throw him through a table! Altogether, this fight contains about 8 judo throws! Cagney even goes for an armbar and a Kata-Ha-Jime! Great to see Cagney mix in aggressive grappling with high volume boxing en route to a knock out victory in a 1945 film. Cagney knew what was up, I think The Diaz Brothers would be fans of James Cagney if someone showed this to them.

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