Kastriget Medhi, Robert Mehdi
9th degree red belt in Judo Kodokan certified
Kastriot "Georges" Medhi (born 1934) is a Brazilian judoka of French ascendance, considered one of the most prominent practitioners of judo in Brazil and the nation's top judo instructor.
Born in Cannes, France, George originally came to Brazil on a vacation in 1949 and did not return. A trained judoka, he went to the jiu-jitsu school of Carlos Gracie, but left it after some time due to differences with the Gracie family. They taught very little throwing claiming that it was less useful than groundfighting, while Mehdi believed that they did so because they did not know how to throw. He also was uncomfortable with which he perceived as lack of honesty by the family, as they had been publicizing him as a French judo champion despite he was just a beginner. He then traveled to Japan to train in the Kodokan school in 1952.
Learning under all Japan champion and Kyuzo Mifune trainee Yasuichi Matsumoto, Mehdi trained for five years at the Tenri University in Nara, meeting names like world middleweight champion Isao Okano and the great Masahiko Kimura. He actually had already met Matsumoto in Brazil, where Yasuichi had seen him do judo while on a tour of the world. He provided Mehdi with tuition room and board and spending money for 5 years. Additionally Mehdi trained at the Kodokan and Chuo University. The training in Japan only lasted 6 months as George went to attend his sick mother. Georges spent a total of 10 years in Japan and taught Judo in a high school in Japan, probably the first non Japanese to do so. Mehdi is currently a 9th dan in Judo.
Mehdi once said "judo is for intelligent people", and regards the Gracie family as "liars" for claiming Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a separate art from judo. Judo champion Okano said of Mehdi that "if you took all the knowledge of all the instructors in this hall [the Olympics], it would not equal the knowledge of Sensei Mehdi".
Mehdi was referred to as the best judoka in Brazil, whom the Gracie family refused to face in competition. This was after the loss of George Gracie to Euclydes Hatem fearing that it might have a bad effect on their growing reputation. George was the Brazilian champ for seven years straight. He competed in the 5th world championships. At the age of 32 he was already a 4th dan in Judo. He received a silver medal and a bronze medal in the Pan American games in 1963 and 1967 respectively.
George was a witness to the Kimura-Gracie match and Helio's subsequent hospitalization, He states that, unlike what the Gracie side claimed, Kimura was no giant, but about 5'6 and 185 lbs. Additionally he thinks the fight was worked or choreographed to a point, with Kimura intentionally allowing Hélio to fight for minutes before finishing him
He has trained numerous individuals including Henrique Machado. George's students included Mario Sperry, Rickson Gracie, and Sylvio Behring.
He is fluent in French, English, Japanese, and Portuguese.