The main purpose of this study was to investigate how extreme physical strain influences cytokine response and oxidative stress markers by examining professional judo athletes during a typical 3-day judo training session (randori combat training).Creatine kinase (CK) activity, a marker of muscle damage, was considerably elevated immediately after randori training. Pro- (IL-1β and TNF-α) and anti-inflammatory (IL-6 and IL-10) cytokines were also increased. The strongest effect was seen in IL-1β concentration, which correlated with CK activity (r = 0.49, P < 0.05). All the observed cytokines returned to baseline (IL-1β) or even dropped below initial levels (TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10) 12 h after completing the training. Lipid peroxides (LPO), a marker of reactive oxygen species, also decreased below their initial values. LPO levels correlated directly with IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6 and IL-10.This study is the first to evaluate the effect of a 3-day judo training session on muscle damage by evaluating the release of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and markers of oxidative stress. It is also the first to demonstrate significant changes in the blood cytokine profile that correlate with lipid peroxide levels and muscle damage.