Rekhviashvili: ‘It’s A Privilege To Do Judo’

One of Georgia’s top judokas, Zebeda Rekhviashvili owes his life to the sport. Training in 2001 at ten, the 29-year-old sees it as a gateway to do great things in life. Rekhviashvili hopes that he can give back to others as judo has to him.

Speaking to Judo Inside, Rekhviashvili discussed how big judo is in Georgia and the MENA region in general. While limited, the reasoning is for the balance of it all.

“In Georgia, the situation is not like in other countries where you have a lot of private clubs,” Rekhviashvili stated. “What we have in Georgia right now are two professional clubs. One is called Fighter Tblisi and the other is called Golden Gori. Most of the top players in Georgia belong to one of these two clubs. I belong to Fighter Tblisi… In Georgia top judo athletes only do judo. We don’t have other jobs.”

Rekhviashvili is a multi-time gold medalist as a member of the group’s division. He also won bronze in the 2013 European Championships in Budapest. One of the top things he has done is to teach himself how to perform a variety of moves. Moves like the flying juji-gatame he got from France’s Loic Pietri and Brazil’s Rafaela Silva. Teaching himself moves not normally taught in Georgia helped Rekhviashvili on his quest to become the very best.

Throughout his career, Rekhviashvili has gone through several injuries. From torn ACL’s and right shoulders to a recent left leg strain, Rekhviashvili has taken his time to heal. While injuries are never a good thing, he sees this as an opportunity that judo has prepared him for.

“I’m always in pain. But it’s okay,” Rekhviashvili continued. “You have to learn to appreciate the pain, if you know what I mean. It’s a privilege to do judo. Pain is the price I pay for it.”

According to Rekhviashvili, his love for judo has him competing until he can’t anymore; there is no set age. He believes it is a way of life that cannot be duplicated. The judoka also believes in learning the newaza, a ground grappling technique that most Georgian’s don’t normally utilize. For him, judo is not complete without it.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, training appears to be out of the question. Rekhviashvili is currently healing up as best as he can. He hopes the younger generation of judo fans can appreciate what they are doing, no matter the circumstances.

“Even though you cannot do judo training right now you can still practice judo because judo is not just a sport, it’s a way of life. It’s a mindset,” Rekhviashvili said. “So be a good judoka and practice the good values of judo during this time of lock-down.”

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