Russian grannies ready to take on Putin in martial arts

Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a well-known fan of judo, but he could face his greatest challenge yet as a martial arts class for grannies is ready to challenge the Premier on the mat.

Babushkas flexing their muscles through martial arts are a common sight in Japan, but in Russia the 70-year-old women dressed in kimonos have got everyone talking. The Russian ladies from the city of Novosibirsk, however, would like to go even further: they want to show off their skills at the highest level.

“Vladimir Putin! We invite you to come here. We can show you what we have learned,” says Lyudmila Ignatenko, aikido class student. “You know, once a Japanese guy came here – I knocked him out. Why not try it with Putin?” she boasts.

Russia's Prime Minister possesses a black belt in judo, so it is likely he will not be easily knocked out. Regardless, the ladies are well-prepared.

For five years already many of them have been training three times a week, sweating over every move and getting no allowances for their age.

“The ladies are not playing here, we don't gather for tea or chatter. This is aikido as it should be,” says aikido trainer Andrey Podoinikov.

Indeed, the women are certain they can run rings around anyone – and Putin is the man they would like to see in their dojo the most.

“Vladimir Vladimirovich! Please come here! And if you allow us – we will try our favorite grips on you,” says another aikido class student, Lyubov Adamchik.

Given both Vladimir Putin's love of meeting the public and his love of judo, a visit to the Novosibirsk club may not be entirely out of the question.