Koga vs Mike Swain

Most judoka know who Koga is and most American judoka know who Mike Swain is.

Mike Swain made history in 1987 by winning the Judo World Championships, the first American to do so. He faced off against the 20 year old Koga in the quarterfinals of that tournament, and threw him twice for what I would argue to be an ippon (but both times was called a wazari). In their next two meetings, Koga ended up the victor, but this single match to me represents a great accomplishment, and even if you didn’t know the two people fighting, it’s still a fun match to watch. I couldn’t find it on YouTube, so I decided to upload it:

And of course, as if you needed proof, here’s a highlight of Koga later in his career.

0 thoughts on “Koga vs Mike Swain

  1. AnnMaria

    Actually, Mike wasn’t the first American to win the world championships. It was me (-:

    Mike was teaching a clinic once when at the end he had a question and answer session. One very little boy asked, “How many times did you beat Koga?”

    He answered, “Just one. The one time it counted.”

    I thought that was a great answer.

    1. Lex Post author

      Thanks for correcting that Dr. DeMars. That’s why I found it strange when he said in the interview I listened to that he was the “first American” and quickly added “the first American male” 😉 I guess now I know. That’s an incredible accomplishment.

      By the way, I have a good friend (and research colleague) that works at SAS. A lot of interesting work done there. It’s always good to see great judo combined with a great analytical mind in one person.

        1. Lex Post author

          That very well could be. I was having a discussion about it with a friend of mine last week. I’ve watched a lot of footage of Koga later in his career and his game is very different, so you may be right.

          Either way it’s a great match.

    2. Sebastian Jaime

      Olle que te pasa com Toshihiko Koga si toshihiko le da 1000 patadas a ese Mike Swain mas enésima con la técnica que swain le gano a koga esa técnica era muy fea esa porquería de técnica no se compara a Los Ippones que ase Koga y no digas que a koga lo han golpeado artas beses!!!
      Toshihiko Koga es campeón mundial 3 beses y 2 beses campeón olímpico
      en cambio Mike Swain solamente 1 bes campeon mundial jajaja no es nada comparado a Koga!!

  2. Dave Sanford

    I agree with the characterization that both of Mike Swain’s throws were Ippons. Mike dominated the action and planted Koga twice.
    As for Sebastian-you don’t need to tear down Mike Swain’s accomplishment to establish T. Koga as one of the all time greats. It is precisely because of Koga’s stature as one of the greatest competitive Judoka of all time that makes Mike Swain’s dominating win over him so notable, establishing Swain as one of the all time greats as well!

    And-Kudo’s to Ann Maria DeMars who broke ground on the World Championships long before any other American Judoka.


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