Henri Courtine, the first French 10th dan, died on Saturday February 20 at the age of 90. A monument left the world of judo. In Judo he had an outstanding record in the 1950s and claimed a bronze medal at the 1956 Judo World Championships. Later he had a career as a leader that was just as successful. In 2007 he was awarded the first tenth dan of France and the only one to date.
1980 World Champion and French Federation President Jean-Luc Rougé had gone to Japan to seek authorization to appoint the first French 10th dan. The Tokyo Kodokan had given her its consent to award this supreme honor to Henri Courtine, which was done on September 10, 2007. It designates Henri Courtine for this distinction for the first great French designer, the first great champion, the first DTN of French judo. He who had worn the 9th dan for 14 years at that time and who, beyond the mat, had known how to make judo the laboratory for a life of responsibility within sports institutions as well as within the French Republic.
Courtine said in 2007 to Jean Luc Rouge, in a interview by L’ Esprit du Judo:
"Why do you want me to be tenth dan?" Jean-Luc Rougé answered me thus: “France is one of the greatest nations in judo for both quality and quantity. It's just that we have a tenth dan. It’s on you ”. Men need rattles said Napoleon. I'm seventy-seven, I take it happily, but I can't say I dream about it every night. "
“The high-grade Shin-Gi-Tai, each person embodies it in their own way, in their particular journey. They had gone thirty years without a 10th dan in Japan, before naming three all at once. Daigo, who had the profile of the former great champion, Ozawa, the profile of the genius of the tatami, and who has been said all his life to be the best, and finally Abe, whose prestige was built on his international career, especially in France. I did judo with all of them and especially with Ozawa, who had me looking good. For the Japanese, my marshal's staff, anyway, was Mifune (10th dan) who gave it to me a long time ago when I wrote that I was "a good judoka".
“With judo, I learned, I got better. I lost, I won. In '54 I was the tallest, in '55 I was worthless ... That was a long time ago. The responsibilities I took there forced me to go back to school. She gave me a friend like Bernard Pariset, who could also have been the first French 10th dan. Today my book is finished. At my age, I wouldn't dare to give a technical demonstration, out of respect for the discipline. Tenth dan? Nothing has changed. I will continue, as judo taught me ... "
Courtine entered his name on the list of major international medallists, when he placed 2nd at the European Championships in Brussels, open category. A year later he repeated that silver medal at the European Championships in Paris. The following year, 1956, Henri Courtine stepped on the podium of the first World Championships in Tokyo. He went on to obtain several European titles before passing to the other side of the barrier, by becoming national coach.
In 1966, he became the first French 6th dan, along with Bernard Pariset and the same year was appointed National Technical Director of the French Judo Federation, before becoming its administrative director.
This weekend also Italian judo icon NIcola Tempesta died at the age of 85.