Musa Betsu Kyu Judo club

Greater Moncton Judo (official JudoNB affiliate)

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Top 10 Judoka in MMA

The following is a list of the “Top 10 Judoka In MMA” using again like the previous post, no particular scientific formula, just going with general consensus. These are ranked not in order of their accomplishments but in the order in which they represent Judo exclusively, or made big shifts in consciousness towards awareness of Judo’s practical use in real fighting situations:

  1. Ronda Rousey (Strikeforce / UFC)
  2. Yoshihiro Akiyama (K1 / UFC)
  3. Karo Parisyan (UFC / Bellator)
  4. Hidehiko Yoshida (PRIDE / Sengoku)
  5. Rick Hawn (Bellator)
  6. Kazuhiro Nakamura (PRIDE / DREAM)
  7. Hector Lombard (UFC)
  8. Dong Hyun Kim (UFC)
  9. Shinya Aoki (OneFC / RizinFF)
  10. Fedor Emelianenko (PRIDE / Strikeforce / RizinFF)

1. Ronda Rousey (Strikeforce / UFC)

Despite her polarizing personality (you either love her or hate her), it goes without saying that this woman has probably done the most for Judo in MMA. She ran through the female divisions of Strikeforce & UFC without any serious competition until finally being stopped by Holly Holm. Nothing can take away her amazing accomplishments though, having some of the fastest submissions and shortest fights in MMA history, all against the best female competition of her generation:

Top Ronda Rousey defeats Cat Zingano via Juji Gatame (armbar) in 14 seconds

In the gym, she even throws top MMA guys twice her size:
<Ronda throws Nick Diaz, Luke Rockhold & Gegard Mousasi>

2. Yoshihiro Akiyama (K-1 / UFC)

Perhaps known more for his pop musical talents (with a massive following in Korea where he is known by his birth name “Choo Sung-hoon“) as well as his theatrics and elaborate ring entrances than his fighting skill, Akiyama was actually once Gold medal Judo champion at the Asian Games and representing both South Korea and Japan (he was born in Japan to “zainichi Korean” parents). He has pulled off some of the most impressive Judo throws in the history of MMA. Here are but a few examples:


3. Karo Parisyan (UFC / Bellator)

Karo “the heat” Parisyan is well known for being one of the first to substantially represent Judo in the UFC with some beautiful throws.


4. Hidehiko Yoshida (PRIDE / Sengoku)


He is also very humble despite being at the top echelon of the Judo community in Japan, here’s an interview after his infamous match with Royce Gracie:

5. Rick Hawn (Bellator)


6. Kazuhiro Nakamura (PRIDE / DREAM)

7. Hector Lombard (PRIDE / UFC)

8. Dong Hyun Kim (UFC)

9. Shinya Aoki (One FC / RizinFF)

10. Fedor Emelianenko (PRIDE / Strikeforce / RizinFF)


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The importance of Kata in Judo

A typical discussion on the topic of Kata in Judo might go something like this:

Sensei: "People today don't appreciate Kata"
Student#1: "What the heck is a Kata?"
Sensei: "A routine of techniques and movements practiced as a tool for learning"
Student#1:  "Ohh, that stuff, like punching in the air and yelling ki-ai, well that's nice but Judo doesn't have Kata right?"
Student#2: (looks to Student#1 next to him)... "Pssst, I think it's a joke/test, he's trying to see if we confuse Judo with Karate or something?!"
Sensei: (slaps forehead)... "You both still have a lot to learn, now drop and give me 20 pushups."

The basic movements in a Kata can be used to assist in balance, strength & flexibility training in a manner relevant to most throwing techniques. Kata also assist in training spatial awareness, gripping, overall control, concentration, timing & that very important element of breathing.

“When properly performed, ju no kata gives a balanced exercise for the whole body. Constant use of this kata over an extended time period results in a harmoniously developed, flexible, and strong body, as well as giving the user the fundamental mechanics for sport and self defense Judo applications”
~ Donn F. Draeger.

“Kata is possibly the most misunderstood and sidestepped subject in nearly all judo circles”
~ Kenji Osugi


Kata can be a very important part of any judoka’s training.

The following is a set of links to the official Kodokan Kata:

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Differences between Olympic Judo and Self-Defense Judo

olympicsday5judomrbfikgjr1rxSo the Judo competitions of this year’s (2016) Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil are all wrapped up. Well don’t worry, you can still watch the full-day event replays for a limited time on the CBC website (likely in Canada only, see your local broadcaster for listings/archives). Spoiler Alert: unfortunately Canada didn’t win any medals.

Both the qualifying rounds and repêchage/medal matches are available. In total there were 7 days of Judo action, running from August 6th to August 12th, 2016. Here are the links:

Full Schedule (listing of male/female weights contested, by day):

What is repêchage?

Don’t feel bad, I also had to lookup the term “repêchage”; turns out it is a French word which literally means “to finish up again”. Judo and other Olympic sports with tournament brackets (such as Wrestling, TKD, Cycling sprints and even Rowing) the repêchage round allows a fair chance for all (or some, depending on sport) of the losers to compete for the final medal(s) up for grabs. The two finalists of course get Gold and Silver, but any competitor who had already lost a match to one of the finalists and/or semi-finalists is guaranteed to get another chance for a medal (as long as they are injury-free and healthy enough to compete again). So don’t go drinking your woes away as soon as you hear the words “ippon” if you’re an Olympic Judoka who has lost, in case the person who defeated you goes on to the finals. In Judo, repêchage is fought for the Bronze medal. If you lose against a semi-finalist, you get to fight in the repêchage rounds in a mini-bracket for the Bronze. As such, the repêchage bracket is built from athletes who were knocked out by the finalists and building brackets to determine third place. The 1st & 2nd round losers fight each other, the winner of this fights the 3rd round loser, and so it goes until there are only two individuals remaining who fight for third place; the other competitors who made it to repêchage get a tie for 5th place. Repêchage addresses the possibility of two top competitors or favorites meeting in an early round where one is of course eliminated much earlier than their rank or skills would have indicated they should, thus it allows the early loser a chance to still compete for a Bronze medal. In part this is also to address the “Golden Score” rule that ensures that somebody wins and there are no draws or inconclusive bouts as each round is an elimination round. A major weakness of repêchage is to make sure that competitors are not paired with anyone from the same club, country, or social gathering to avoid conspiracies during the last match, such as: “if you let me have a yuko, and then you win by ippon, I’ll get the silver and not the bronze, but you win the gold all the same”. So it is important that contest individuals who may even remotely know each other must fight first in a repêchage system. The benefits of repêchage is that it is one of the best ways to work through a large number of competitors/teams, as it goes from a Qualifier or 100s down to Round of 64, Round of 32 then Round of 16, Quarterfinals, Semi-finals and finally the Gold medal match.

On to the Differences between Olympic Judo and Self-Defense Judo

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