Olympic Judo Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison Is Going To Start Jiu-Jitsu

Olympic judo gold medalist Kayla Harrison is going to be retiring from judo, but that doesn’t mean she’s giving up martial arts.

In fact, the back-to-back gold medalist has a new fighting style in mind: Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

“I’m going to continue to workout, start to help with the next generation of judo athletes and I’m actually going to start jiu jitsu,” Harrison is quoted as saying in Jiu Jitsu Style. “I think jiu jitsu looks like it will be a fun sport to learn and won’t be as hard on my body as judo is. I don’t mean it in a disrespectful way at all, but I think the mind-set for jiu jitsu is possibly just a little more relaxed and not so intense and crazy as judo can be.”

She continued:

“Judo is my thing, it’s my sport and it’s what I’m known for, but I think jiu jitsu will give a chance to still workout, but not at such a crazy, intense level as I have had with my judo. At the end of the day it’s always good to learn something new and have some fun with it.”

Harrison has already turned down plans to compete in MMA . . . at least for now.  Soon after winning her medal, Kayla told reporters:

“After a match in judo, you shake a person’s hand or you give them a hug. You bow to them to show respect. MMA isn’t like that. I don’t know if I’m cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, and . . . not necessarily what you’ve done in the ring.”

Judo is certainly an excellent complement to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is often said that judo is 90% standing and 10% groundwork, while jiu-jitsu is the other way around. A person proficient in both arts is therefore deadly on the mat and on her feet.

Jiu-jitsu, however, will expose the Olympic judoka to moves she may be unfamiliar with. Leg locks, for instance, are becoming more and more popular in BJJ, but are virtually unheard of in judo dojos.

Kayla did not say if she wanted to compete in jiu-jitsu, but if she does, she will certainly be a force to be reckoned with.

And if she doesn’t, she’ll still be able to help the students at one lucky jiu-jitsu school develop some excellent stand-up.



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