Judo at the Olympics | Dispatches from Planet Judo by Mark Law book banner
Judo at the Olympics | Dispatches from Planet Judo by Mark Law book banner

Dispatches from Planet Judo

by Mark Law, author of The Pyjama Game

A fascinating and unsettling behind-the-scenes account of the lives of fighters on the Olympic judo circuit as they pursue a sport which:

  • calls itself the ‘gentle art’
  • allows you to torture or choke your opponent into submission
  • claims for itself a moral dimension – a means of self-improvement
  • has killed more than 120 Japanese children in the space of 30 years
  • helped to build the monster that is Vladimir Putin
  • codified 65 ways of throwing an opponent to the floor
  • sees its athletes switch to cage fighting for an easier life
  • beats, imprisons and starves defeated fighters
  • is widely valued aid in the education of the young

Welcome to Planet Judo!

In this extraordinary sequel to his award-winning The Pyjama Game, A Journey Into Judo, Mark Law goes behind the scenes of judo’s international tournament circuit to reveal what happened when a young Tokyo schoolteacher turned a Samurai skill designed to maim and kill into a thrilling sport which has conquered the world.

Against a fraught backstage drama unfolding within Team GB at the London 2012 Olympics, Dispatches from Planet Judo explores the nature of combat sport through the prism of judo, following its remarkable athletes, male and female, as they travel around the world between the great tournaments and the harsh regimes of alien training camps in their desperate quest for gold.

We meet some of the sports most feared fighters and encounter Vladimir Putin and his judocracy, the cheating ayatollahs of Iran, brutal coaches in the Congo and North Korea, and a hideous bullying culture in Japan which has humiliated its star judoka and killed scores of schoolchildren. We hear of careers dogged by injury, lack of funds and crushing defeats bringing crippling despair – even suicide – as well as lives utterly transformed by glorious victories.

Inspiring, poignant and sometimes horrifying, Dispatches from Planet Judo is both an entertaining celebration and a chilling revelation which lets us see this Olympic sport of judo as it has never been seen before.


Mark Law is the author of The Pyjama Game, A Journey Into Judo:

‘A classic in its genre’ – The Sunday Times

‘Absolutely riveting’ – The Independent

‘A brilliant exploration of judo’ – The Spectator

He is a member of the Budokwai judo club in Chelsea, London. He can be contacted at mark.law@btinternet.com

Dispatches from Planet Judo is published by Ravelin Books and is available on Amazon at £14.99 (Paperback) £9.99 (Kindle e-book) Extracts are available.


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