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These Rio-Bound Brothers Are A Scrabble Word You'll Never Make

No, judokas are not number puzzles.

19/06/2016 11:20 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:54 PM AEST
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That's Nathan on the left and Josh on the right.

Meet Nathan and Josh Katz. They're judokas, and before we go any further, you really need to know that your humble Olympics correspondent actually MADE THAT WORD IN SCRABBLE ONCE. As you'd expect, it scored the lot.

A judoka, for the record, is someone who does judo. And these guys do it well.

Australia has won two previous medals in the combat sport, and while the Katz brothers had originally aimed for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, they both performed so well this year that they've been picked for Rio.

Nathan, 21 and Josh, 18, both won their respective weight divisions at the Oceania Judo Championships this year. They'll compete as part of Australia's seven-strong team in Rio. Remarkably, they're the seventh set of siblings to be selected for the Rio Team to date.

The Huffington Post Australia caught up with the Katz brothers as they basked in some delightful Sydney winter sunshine, and started by asking them the completely nonsensical question we ask all athletes.

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Giant boarding passes so they can get on a REALLY BIG PLANE. We've made that joke before and don't worry, we'll make it again before Rio!

Ant: Hi guys, well, you've got your beautiful team shirts there with the coat-of-arms on it. Who would win a fight between a kangaroo and an emu?

Nathan: Kangaroos can box, can't they. Emus have got the beak going on, so I wouldn't mind seeing that. I'm going to back the kangaroo.

Josh: I think from a judo perspective the kangaroo's got an advantage with the arms. Those would definitely be helpful.

Ant: Ah, but is not judo about tactics and evasion where necessary? Emus are fast and have sharp beaks, you know.

Josh: Well I fight a lot of the time as the smaller person so I'll switch to the emu. He'd play the speed game.

Ant: Excellent, one of each, Now perhaps more importantly in this instance, who would win a fight between the two of you?

Nathan: I've got to say it would be, I'm a bit bigger, a bit older, I'm in his head now. Yeah I'd have to say me.

Josh: I'd like to think I've got an underdog chance. I think I've picked up a few tricks over the years.

Nathan: We've actually never ever fought in competition before because we've always been in different weight divisions but we've trained together every day.

Ant: Well we'll leave it to the imagination. Hey I've been busting to tell you this, I actually made the word judoka in Scrabble once. True story.

Josh: That's a good effort.

Nathan: Most people don't even know what a judoka is, especially in Australia, so you've done well. It would have scored all right as well.

Ant: Oh it did, don't worry about that. Now, you guys grew up in a judo family. Was it "do your judo or you'll have no dinner" or were your parents not quite that severe.

Nathan: We certainly started judo because of our parents, but there was never any pressure, just positive encouragement. There are days when it's tough, especially when we were young and in school and had to get up at six to go training or whatever. But I was never forced out of bed or anything like that. I've wanted this for a long time and the same with Josh.

Ant: And Josh, maybe you can talk us through one of your exhausting training days. We know the swimmers get up at the crack of dawn. You guys too?

Josh: Usually we do like two to three sessions a day. We usually have strength and conditioning in the mornings and then some technical and tactical training and light resistance, and then most days some sparring at night time as well.

Ant: I have to ask this. Don't hate me for asking this. Is there any Karate Kid-style training in your routine? I'm talking about the domestic chores that help your judo moves the way that Mr Miyagi made the Karate Kid paint the fence and wax the car and so on.

Nathan: I don't think so, no. Maybe a punch or kick thrown in the lounge room, but no domestic chores, no.

Ant: Tell me a judo joke. Is there even such a thing as a judo joke?

Nathan: There was a shirt that was made up. I think one of the girls in our club brought it back from overseas or somewhere. It said "Judon't know who you're messin' with".

Ant: Oh, dear. Let's move on. We always hear with martial arts about the philosophy underpinning each sport. Is there a philosophy underpinning judo?

Nathan: Judo is always about respecting other people. You bow before you fight and shake hands and that sort of thing. 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.

Ant: Does judo hurt?

Josh: In competition, not really, but training often does. When you get to that point where you're tired and haven't had enough sleep, there's some motivation needed to get up for the next session sometimes. But I think over the years you build up a bit of a tolerance to getting thrown. It's still not fun getting thrown on your back, I don't think it matters how long you've been doing it for, still not the best thing in the world.

Ant: Does it take the wind out of you?

Josh and Nathan: Yeah, for sure.

Ant: What do you guys do when you're not being Olympic standard judokas?

Nathan: Josh just finished school but I study as well at night. I'm enrolled at the Australian College of Physical Education part time by correspondence doing sports business.

Ant: Well I hope both of you get the business done in Rio. Thanks for talking to the Huffington Post Australia, fellas.

Josh: Thanks Ant.

Nathan: Thanks Ant.

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