Ronda Rousey made a huge mistake when she threw interviewer Aaron Tru, with what is referred to in Judo as a Makikomi. For the record, Tru has a history of this type of thing but he appears to be genuinely hurt in the video that has gone viral on line. Unfortunately, we live in a world where egos trump almost all else. While it’s true that the Tru may have challenged her and may have pushed her buttons, in good fun of course, a trained Judoka, an Olympic Bronze medalist, should not have taken up his challenge. She should have simply waved him off.
The first thing we teach new Judoka, is the art of falling or Ukemi. No student is permitted to be thrown until he or she masters at least the basic falls. Since most of the earlier throws are easier to take, most students are able to be thrown after several classes. However, Ms. Rousey not only didn’t teach him how to take a fall, but threw him with what appears to be a Hari Makikomi, which is a throw that can inflict major damage even to a trained uki (opponent). There are dozens of throws she could have used but she chose to throw the interviewer with one of the most violent ones we have. Broken ribs are common. The concept is to throw the uki and land on him or her, using his or her body to break your own fall. When done properly and I assure you, hers was beautiful, it will cause serious harm because not only is the uki hitting the floor hard but then must withstand all of the weight of the person who has executed the throw. While Ms. Rousey is not heavy, even 100 pounds landing on your ribs will break them as easily as breaking match sticks.
The Martial Arts are supposed to be about so much more than simply proving ones ability to hurt others. It’s simply too bad that someone as accomplished as Ms. Rousey is not a better Ambassador for the Art I love. I can’t imagine that Dr. Jigoro Kano, founder of Judo, would approve of her actions. But it’s a trend in many of the Arts. People are no longer humble and rank is almost all anyone cares about.
Ms. Rousey is the real deal. Can she compete with the men in her weight class? Probably. After all, that’s why Judo was invented in the first place. Dr. Kano was a slight man and Judo demonstrated that a smaller person could defeat a larger person in hand to hand combat. But she needs to study, not just memorize the Code of Bushido. A Judoka has a great responsibility and should be about respect and honor, not ego. Hopefully she will learn something from this incident, particularly if she’s sued her for injuring Tru. And she should be sued because just as a parent should know better than a 5-year-old child, she should have known better than to throw and possibly injure a defenseless, untrained, albeit, silly reporter.