In our opinion, Keiji Suzuki is without question the world's leading expert on Ashi waza.
Suzuki fought in the same era as his great Japanese rival Kosei Inoue. In 2002, when Suzuki started making a name for himself, Inoue was already an international superstar, having won two World Championships and the 2000 Olympic Games.
Suzuki was an -100kg fighter, but because Inoue was the automatic Japanese selection at the weight, Suzuki had to settle for the Openweight at the 2003 World Championships and +100kgs at the 2004 Olympic Games.
What he achieved at these two tournaments was nothing short of incredible. In every contest Suzuki fought, he was up against stronger and significantly heavier opponents. He not only won each contest, but won them in style.
Suzuki relied almost entirely upon his Ashi waza to win both titles, which included beautiful foot-sweeps in the finals against Estonia's Indrek Pertelson (2003) and Russia's Tamerlan Tmenov (2004).
In these two tournaments Suzuki demonstrated to the world why judo is so unique. He took the sport back to its roots. Judo is essentially about using someone else's force and power against them, and in that respect you are able to overcome stronger and heavier opponents. What nobody thought possible was for a fighter to be able to do this at the absolute elite level. In 2003 and 2004 Suzuki proved it was and is possible. (Suzuki also won the 2005 World Championships at -100kgs)
So how did he do it? He used the only type of techniques that would work against larger opponents. Ashi waza is the purest form of judo. It's about timing, understanding your opponent's movements and weight transference, and it's about technical brilliance.
Suzuki designed a judo system that was based on every type of judo opponent and scenario. His repertoire of techniques catered for every direction, every type of grip and every style of opponent.
This is the first time Suzuki has revealed his Ashi waza to the world. He breaks down each and every Ashi waza, showing grips, leg movement, foot placement, posture, balance, weight transference and execution. There is also the chance to see Suzuki using his Ashi waza at the world's biggest competitions.
Fighting Films have wanted to work with Suzuki for several years. Suzuki expressed an interest to come to the UK to film in our new Superstar Judo dojo last year. However, his busy schedule meant that he was unable to get enough days off to fly over to us. The only way we could make it work was by filming him in Japan.
We filmed in the same Kodokan dojo that FF used to film the great Toshihiko Koga back in 2001. It was a real pleasure and honour to work with Suzuki. He is a true hero of ours. He epitomises everything that is great about judo. He opened our eyes to the real capabilities of Ashi waza and judo. We cannot wait to share with you his ideas, concepts and techniques.
This is judo in its purest form.
Director - Fighting Films