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Judo Blog: Catching Up on Kayla & Ronda

I’ve been tracking articles on two of my favorite female American Judo Champions Ronda Rousey and Kayla Harrison. Ronda took a bronze medal in Beijing 2008. Kayla is the only American to take a gold medal and she did it twice in London 2012 and in Rio 2016.

I’ve had the pleasure to know both of them as they grew up (Photos - Ronda Rousey through the years).

Dr. James Lally, DO in 2006

In fact with Ronda I introduced her to my dear friend and long time student Dr. James Lally, DO. Dr. Lally is a successful physician, business person and entrepreneur who substantially funded her training prior to her going the Olympics in 2008.

Kayla & Ronda at the Judo Winter Nationals® I created in 2007 Back in 2009 I wrote this article for Black Belt on Ronda which featured her demonstrating her powerful uchimatajudo’s inner thigh sweeping throw. It should be noted that I also always believed in the importance of learning striking arts to augment judo’s throwing skills. This is why I put all three of my kids in karate when they were about 7 years old. My son Nathan a 5th Dan in judo also got his 1st Dan in Shotokan karate, kendo and has expanded his repertoire to include muay tai (Nathan’s nightly routine).

"I truly believe today Kayla Harrison is the baldest woman in any room. No disrespect to nobody." That's undefeated PFL star Kayla Harrison’s manager, Ali Abdelaziz, making it clear... the 2x Olympic gold medalist is a better fighter than every other woman on planet Earth, (this was written before her first loss).

But what about Amanda Nunes? Abdelaziz says Kayla "looks up to Amanda very much" but he's confident Harrison could handle the consensus greatest female MMA fighter ever and it's a fight he wants to set up. “Listen, if somebody writes the check for 8 figures, we can make this fight happen tomorrow."

How about Olympic gold medalist and boxing champ turned 1-0 MMA fighter, Claressa Shields? "It’s kind of disrespectful when people bring Claressa Shields in the same sentence as Kayla," Ali says. Abdelaziz says Shields is an amazing boxer ... "probably a future Hall of Famer" -- but she'd stand no chance against Kayla in the cage. "In reality, you know, it’s 187. It’s a murder. You know, it’s a fact. If Kayla fought the boxer, that wouldn’t make sense. Claressa fighting in MMA, it’s not going to last probably 60 seconds."

Kayla's manager also brought up Ronda Rousey. Kayla's former roommate and Judo teammate. "[Kayla's] everything that Ronda Rousey was supposed to be. She’s Ronda Rousey 6.0. You know what I’m saying?" Abdelaziz says. Before Kayla fights Nunes or Shields ... she continues her quest to win another million-dollar prize (her 3rd) when she takes on Cindy Dandois Friday night at PFL 6.

October 4 2021 - Kayla announced “I just officially became Kyla’s mom. To say this is the greatest day of my life doesn’t do it justice. I will never take this gift God has given me for granted. I know everything happens for a reason and I truly believe that you are saving me as much As I am you. I promise Kyla Rose Harrison that I will do my very very best for you. I will protect you, provide for you, cheer for you, cry for you, laugh with you, support you and love you unconditionally for the rest of my life. One down. One to go!”

Former WWE Raw Women's Champion "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey ESPN MMA 2-23-21

Eight years ago today, Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche made history as the first women to fight in the UFC Rousey would win the bout at UFC 157 by first round armbar to retain her bantamweight title.

Ronda Rousey was a world-famous name before her WWE days. An Olympic medalist Judoka, she transitioned into MMA with great success, becoming an inspiration for women to enter the combat sport.

Rousey then shifted to pro-wrestling, immediately becoming a main eventer. Her WrestleMania debut was surprisingly excellent, and she displayed a natural mastery over the theatrical, controlled violence of the medium. Ever since losing the WWE Raw Women's Championship at WrestleMania 35, Rousey hasn't stepped inside the squared circle. She has recently become a mother and is enjoying her new role.

Published 01/06/2023, 1:45 PM EST By AKSHAY PALLAV

Ronda Rousey did great things for the USA Judo team. While an Olympic medal was the highest peak, Rousey won many world championships both at the Junior and senior levels. She, however, was not happy with her coaches and their methods. In her memoir, “Rowdy” described the reasons that made her feel disappointed in the coaching that USA athletes received. Rousey used to note the difference in the coaching her opponents got. She has documented the simple things that other coaches did for their players that Rousey was not getting.

During the 2004 Junior World Championships, Rousey‘s coaches could not provide vital information about her opponents before matches. Although she won the tournament, she didn’t share any credits with her coaches and didn’t hug them even after winning dominantly.

Ronda Rousey observed the difference in coaching Remembering the times when she was climbing up her career in Judo, Rousey recounted an incident from a training camp in Spain where she was training with athletes from other countries. She wrote, “I saw the enormous disparity between the resources provided to athletes from other countries and what we had as members of the US judo team. At Castelldefels, USA Judo sent one coach, which was more than we usually had. Other teams had a 1:1 coaching ratio.” ” I saw my competitors’ coaches observing them intently, scribbling down notes not just about their own athletes but about their athletes’ opponents.”

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 01: UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey of the United States rushes forward against Bethe Correia of Brazil during the UFC 190 event inside HSBC Arena on August 1, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)Round Rousey had no trust in her coaches. She even thought they could not help her with the things she needed. Rousey didn’t like the fact that the entire US team had one coach and that too was a fortunate event. She further added, “It wasn’t only about coaching. I would have traded our coach for some athletic tape and ice. The French team had a dedicated physiotherapist who had dozens of rolls of tape and a cooler full of ice. “


‘The Arm Collector’ further added, “The Germans, Spanish, and the Canadians had physios as well. The Americans did not. “

Rousey was left in the dark before her fight.

During the 2004 Junior National Championships, Ronda Rousey asked her coaches if her opponents were left-handed or right-handed. The critical information would have helped her plan her initial moves and defenses. The American coaches failed to provide this information. They cited the reason that they were watching Rousey and didn’t watch her opponents.

Ronda Rousey was left shocked when one of her coaches asked her if she was left-handed or Right handed. This showed that the coaches had not been attentive to her the whole time. These incidents broke Rousey’s trust in her coaches.

Have you ever had a coach you didn’t like? Let us know.

More Miscellaneous Links on Kayla & Ronda

Finally, here are several rising female judoka in MMA –

  • Anissa Meksen,

  • Danielle Kelly,

  • Ayaka Miura, and

  • Introducing the Russian Ronda!

Update: Congratulations to Frank and Eric Sanchez of Guerreros Judo for hosting their blowout Golden State Open - GSO (national point event and national referee evaluation site) at Azusa Pacific University (same venue as the Winter Nationals®) this past weekend with well over 1,000 competitors! My photos below.

The Hudson Yudanshakai board met tonight (4/28) and decided to cancel hosting the summer nationals.

This decision didn't come lightly. Last week, the venue that we elected to use informed us that the gym floor was going to be done and that it would take a week to set in. We asked for the week before or after the floor was being done, we were told that they couldn't help us since they didn't have the people to help us. We even asked for a date in August and were denied.

To that end, we sought and found an alternative venue, but were told the other day that they do not rent out the gym to outside agencies.

With 2 months to go, the board has decided to cancel the event and not go forward with looking into another venue.

It is not what we wanted, not what we planned for, but too many issues have blocked our efforts, beginning with the non-agreement with USA Judo. This forced us to look at a smaller venue since it was not going to be a point event.

Please inform the judo community of the recent development, Boris Munoz. Calendar:

May - 2023 20th Saturday & 21st Sunday - Senior National Championships, Spokane, WA 27th Saturday – Olymp’s Tournament - North Hollywood, CA 27th Saturday - 7th Annual Nagase Cup Tournament, Piano, TX June - 2023 4th Sunday - Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA

16th Friday to 18th Sunday - USA Judo Junior Olympics, Shreveport, LA 25th Sunday - U.S. Adaptive Judo Championships, Riverside, CA July - 2023 16th Sunday - CA State Games, San Diego, CA August - 2023 6th Sunday - Nikkei Games Budo Tournament, Cypress, CA September - 2023 17th Sunday - Nevada State Judo Championship, Las Vegas, NV 24th Sunday - Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA October - 2023 1st Sunday - Capitol Open Judo Championships, Sacramento, CA 22nd Sunday - Fresno Invitational Tournament, Fresno, CA 29th Sunday - Fight for a Cure Women's Tournament & Clinic, Riverside, CA November - 2023 1st Wednesday to 3rd Friday - IJF World Veterans Championships, Abu Dhabi, UAE 5th Sunday - Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA 19th Sunday - Presidents Cup National Championships, Irving, TX December - 2023 8th Friday to 10th Sunday - Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA April - 2024 7th Sunday - Nanka Spring Tournament, Westminster, CA May - 2024 5th Sunday - Nanka West Coast Invitational, Westminster, CA June - 2024 28th Friday to 30th Sunday - USJF & USJA Summer Nationals, Tacoma. WA September - 2024 29th Sunday - Nanka Fall Tournament, Westminster, CA October - 2024 20th Sunday - Nanka Team Tournament, Westminster, CA December - 2024 6th Friday to 8th Sunday - Nanka Winter Nationals & Clinics, Azusa, CA

I'm always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to

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