Friday, October 31st, 2003

In the Underground Forum (a mixed martial arts discussion forum), I stumbled across a short video of a truly spectacular arm-bar, from standing, pulled off in judo competition.

I also stumbled across an article on Yoshida, a judo star who has joined Pride, the renowned Japanese MMA promotion:

Yoshida, 33, came to MMA after winning the gold medal in judo at 172 pounds in the 1992 Olympics. The gold medal only tells part of the story. Yoshida won all six matches via ippon, fighting just 16:21 total in what was regarded as an incredible performance at the time. More impressive was that in 1992, when he competed at 172, he once faced Naoya Ogawa, who ended up winning the silver at 286 pounds in the same Olympics. Giving up more than 100 pounds, he defeated Ogawa. In 1996 in Atlanta, moving up to 190 pounds, he placed fifth, competing with a bad knee. However, the idea that this guy is some judo guy who peaked more than a decade ago wouldn’t be fair, since he was world champion in 1999 and a gold medal favorite in 2000. He ended up suffering a broken arm in the Olympics that year and was unable to continue in the tournament. With the next Olympics not until 2004, he retired from judo, and quickly was offered a $250,000 signing bonus by Pride, looking for a national sports hero to add to its stable.

Yoshida won a controversial bout against Royce Gracie when the ref declared Yoshida the winner by choke — before Gracie tapped. He then beat Don Frye by arm-bar — dislocating his elbow before he could tap. His third match lasted less than a minute. He guillotine-choked Satake without wasting a moment — and without putting on enough of a show for the Pride promoters’ taste.

I have to catch this Yoshida guy in action.

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