2 Jewish Brothers Have ‘Judo in Their Blood’ — and They’re Headed to Olympics

Nathan and Joshua Katz, two brothers from Australia now headed to the Olympics, are Jews with judo in their blood.

Nathan, who is 21, and Joshua, age 18, inherited their love for the Japanese martial art from their parents, both of whom were judo fighters, too.

Now they’ve made it to the Olympics.

The two young men qualified in June by remaining in the top 22 of the Olympic-adjusted world rankings in their respective weight divisions. The two will be Australia’s first set of brothers to compete in judo at the Olympics at the same time. And this truly is a family affair — the siblings’ mother, Kerrye, competed at the Seoul Olympics in 1988 and their father, Robert, was a coach.

On top of that, Joshua will become the youngest Australian male Olympian judoka, as players are known, when he heads into battle at the Maracana Stadium for the opening ceremony on August 5.

“It’s something we’ve dreamed about since were little kids,” Joshua told 9news, an Australian news outlet.

Already a rising star in the junior ranks, Josh won four junior Oceania Championships between 2012 and 2015; he also won junior national championships in 2013 and 2014.

Embed this video

“It’s really amazing to be able to share the whole Olympic experience with my brother,” Joshua said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph. “We’ve been training partners since we were kids and we want each other to achieve everything the other one does.”

“With Mum competing in 1988 and Dad the Olympic coach they appreciate what goes on to make this happen. I think they are very excited for us because they’ve been through it all with us.”

In an interview with Huffington Post, Nathan said that he had garnered some life lessons from the combat sport. “Judo is always about respecting other people. You bow before you fight and shake hands and that sort of thing,” he said. “I’ve had some real wars with some of my best mates but I think leaving all that on the mat is a big factor.”

Remarkably, the two are not the only siblings from Australia headed to the Olympics — there are five other pairs.

Email Sam Kestenbaum at kestenbaum@forward.com or follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum

Author

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum

Sam Kestenbaum is a staff writer for the Forward. Before this, he worked for The New York Times and newsrooms in Sana, Ramallah and Beijing. Contact him at kestenbaum@forward.com and follow him on Twitter at @skestenbaum and on Instagram at @skestenbaum.

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

2 Jewish Brothers Have ‘Judo in Their Blood’ — and They’re Headed to Olympics

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close