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In a way, small children are scary. Their language skills aren’t fully developed, so you can’t negotiate with them. When they’re angry, their lack of adherence to societal norms means they’re likely to scream at or even bite you. Really, the only thing that keeps them from being paralyzingly frightening is the superior size and strength we have as full-grown adults.

So when we first heard about toddlers practicing judo, which would eventually allow them to use our strength against us, we assumed they must be terrifying. Then we watched this video, and learned that they’re somehow even more adorable as a result of their training in Japanese grappling techniques.

While their ages aren’t given, neither of the two combatants is as tall as the judge’s waistline, so it’s a safe bet that they’re each preschool-age. While this might seem like an awfully young age to start training in the martial arts, it’s roughly the same age as many kids start playing other sports. In certain circles, judo isn’t even considered particularly violent, and it’s part of the standard P.E. curriculum at some Japanese schools.

Despite their tiny sizes, the two girls squaring off in the video certainly look the part of judo disciples, dressed in their white judogi and bowing to each other each time the match resumes after one scores a point.

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Of course, being little kids, sometimes they can’t resist the urge to dance during these periodic breaks in the action.

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Other times, they seem to have the sudden epiphany “Wow! Bowing is fun!” and throw in a couple more bows in the middle of the contest.

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Eventually, though, they seem to recall that the goal in judo is to knock the other person down, so they latch onto each other and show off their moves.

In theory, it seems like even young kids should be able to master advanced judo techniques. After all, instead of relying on your own brute force, you’re supposed to use your opponent’s own strength and momentum to provide you with the leverage you need to throw him or her to the mat.

The problem is that when your foe isn’t old enough to make it through the afternoon without needing a nap, there’s not a lot of strength to turn against him or her. Toddlers’ short limbs also mean they don’t have quite the range of motion needed for some of the sport’s most impressive flips and holds.

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Most of the time, rather than fierce warriors determined to best one another, the two kids look like good friends saying good-bye at the end of a play date, until one of them seems to recall something about this being a competition, and then flops to the ground, possibly taking her opponent with her.

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We’re sure someday these two will be strong and talented enough to completely own us in a fight, until that day comes, though, we’re going to smile at their antics, secure in the knowledge that, for now anyway, we could easily pick them both up and give them a time-out if they become too rambunctious.

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Source: AOL Japan, YouTube
Images, video: YouTube