Friday, 4 May 2012

Ronda Rousey

Let me just start by saying that Ronda Rousey was not a guest at Dorking Judo club last week and neither is she likely to be anytime in the future, although I’m sure the instructors would welcome her if she happened to be in the area. Anyway, I’ll come back to Ronda later.

Stewart took the class tonight, that’s black belt Stewart not Big Stewart. After warming us up I paired with Oli and was told to practice Hiza-guruma which is quite similar to Sasae-tsurikomi-ashi, a throw I’ve had some success with lately. Stewart then had us practice Harai-goshi, which is a bit of a hit or miss throw with me. I very rarely try this in randori as I favour Uchi-mata instead but Stewart told me to get in closer and really reap my leg and this made it very effective.

We then practiced Hiza-guruma and Harai-goshi as a combination which worked pretty well although I need to practice my footwork so that I can close the space quickly to get in for the Harai.

Anyway back to Ronda Rousey. She was a Judo bronze medalist in the 2008 Olympics who turned her hand to MMA and recently won the Strikeforce Bantamweight world title. She’s caused quite a stir in the MMA world as she doesn’t look like your archetypal female cage fighter instead she is a rather statuesque blond haired, blue eyed California blond who just so happens to be able to hurl anyone through the air and on to the ground where she will submit you with a perfectly executed Juji-gatame. She recently made an appearance on The Ultimate Fighter as a guest coach and it was quite nice watching her throw these MMA fighters using O-soto-gari, which is well known in Judo circles as being a hard throw and she certainly did not hold back any when she was showing the fighters on the show how to do this without a gi.

I just wondered whether the likes of Ronda and Hector Lombard (a Cuban Judo Olympian), who was recently signed by the UFC to fight Brian Stann, might bring some well deserved interest in learning the art of Judo. Up until now most MMA fighters favour Wrestling and BJJ as their form of grappling but there are now enough top level Judoka’s having success that I’m sure at least some fighters might start to look at Judo as a viable alternative. I’ve heard rumors that the likes of Ilias Iliadis might turn to MMA after the London Olympics, which would be a real loss to Judo but you can understand why he might be tempted as the money now on offer to the top level MMA fighters, especially in the UFC, is quite substantial.

Of course your average local Judo club would probably miss out on any increased interest in Judo through MMA as a lot of MMA gyms are bringing in Judo coaches to teach classes. Also, there are a number of BJJ instructors who also hold black belts in Judo who may now start to incorporate more throws in to their BJJ class or add in a Judo only class to their schedule. So although more people might become aware of Judo or trained in Judo techniques it’s unlikely that your average 18-35 year old male that typically frequents BJJ or MMA gyms will find their way in to their local Judo club which is a shame.


  1. The usual MMA fighter or aspiring fighter is likely to be turned off by the lack of athleticism, over emphasis on rank and formality of many judo programs. Ronda was hardly welcomed with open arms by many in the judo community until she made it big in MMA. That isn't universal, of course, but I think the judo clubs that will be able to capitalize on MMA are limited in number

  2. Hi AnnMaria, I agree that BJJ clubs certainly place a larger emphasis on athleticism than your average Judo club and this is likely the reason most of the 18-35 male demographic veer towards BJJ. That said, I have visited a number of Judo clubs who’s work outs, especially on their “Randori only” nights, are at least the equal of the BJJ clubs that I’ve frequented. I think if more Judo clubs were run this way then Judo would claw back some of the young males that otherwise leave and go to BJJ.