Putin Shows Off Judo Chops in New Instructional DVD

He is better known for political maneuvers, but soon anyone with a DVD player will be able to check out Russian President Vladimir Putin's moves in another area of expertise: judo.

Putin, a black belt, said Friday that he and Yasuhiro Yamashita, a World and Olympic judo champion from Japan, have made an instructional video together.

The news came after Putin got a message of greeting from Yamashita during an opening ceremony at Toyota Motor Corp.'s new assembly plant near his hometown of St. Petersburg.

"He and I have recorded a video disc as a video supplement to a judo manual," Putin said. "I think it will be coming out in January or February."

Two years ago, Putin and Yamashita attended a judo lesson in St. Petersburg together, helping students practice holds at the judo school Putin, 55, attended in his college years. He had met Yamashita during a visit to Tokyo the previous month.

Putin co-authored a judo manual several years ago.

His apparent physical fitness helped build his popularity among Russians after years with the hard-drinking and chronically ill Boris Yeltsin, who died in April, as president.