Kayla Harrison has studied judo with two-time Olympic medalist and 1999 world judo champ Jimmy Pedro since she was 16. At age 20, she stepped onto the world judo championship mat in Tokyo in September 2010. It had been more than a decade since the United States had produced a world judo champion and more than a quarter-century since that champion was a woman. While such pressure may have psyched out a lesser judo player, Harrison got in there and brought home the United States’ fourth world-championship judo gold medal.
When Harrison visited Black Belt’s photo studio in December 2010, she shared with us some of her winning judo techniques! In this segment, she demonstrates her usage of the ouchi gari, or major inner reaping throw.
JUDO TECHNIQUE VIDEO
Kayla Harrison Demonstrates the Ouchi Gari (Major Inner Reaping Throw)
“In judo, there are three major parts to a throw,” Harrison explains. “The first part, the kuzushi, or the off-balance, for ouchi gari is … I’m going to snap my opponent forward. This is going to get him thinking that I’m trying to throw him forward, and in return, he’s going to react by pulling backward.
“The second part of the throw, or the entry — the tsukuri — I’m going to step with my right foot right in between his feet, followed by my left foot stepping right behind that foot. So it’s going to be almost like a T.
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“The third step, for the finish — the kake — I’m going to push his elbow in and my forearm is gonna go right into his body. And as I do this motion, I’m going to hook his leg and make a circular motion.”
Harrison then proceeds to throw her somewhat unfortunate judo partner to the hard studio floor several times, but all can rest assured that he emerged from the ordeal unscathed.
As her partner recovers from the beating he took during the photo and video session, Harrison keeps her eyes on the goal: her shot at the United States’ first gold medal in Olympic judo. Her instructor, Jimmy Pedro, is confident that Harrison has what it takes to win the gold. He continues to expand Harrison’s technique repertoire and get her to as many matches as humanly possible to build and reinforce her judo competition experience. With such training, he’s certain that she’ll be more than ready when the time comes to make her visualizations of victory a concrete reality.