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She won the United States' first Olympic gold medal in judo, and now Kayla Harrison shares with you how to execute one of her favorite judo techniques in this Black Belt video exclusive!

Kayla Harrison has studied judo with two-time Olympic medalist and 1999 world judo champ Jimmy Pedro since she was 16. At age 20, she stepped onto the World Judo Championships mat in Tokyo in September 2010. It had been more than a decade since the United States had produced a world judo champion and more than a quarter-century since that champion was a woman. While such pressure may have psyched out a lesser judo player, Kayla Harrison got in there and brought home the United States' fourth world-championship judo gold medal. And then, of course, she went on to win the United States' first gold medal in judo during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London! Before her historic Olympic win, Kayla Harrison visited Black Belt's photo studio in December 2010 and shared with us some of her winning judo techniques! In this segment, she demonstrates her usage of the ouchi gari, or major inner reaping throw.

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Watch an exclusive interview video filmed prior to what would turn out to be Kayla Harrison's history-making, gold-medal-winning judo performance at the 2012 Olympic Games!

Twenty-two year-old Kayla Harrison stunned the world this summer by earning a gold medal in judo at the London Olympics. That in itself would be an accomplishment worthy of a story in Black belt. However, her accomplishment is grander than its face value. Kayla Harrison, through her judo gold-medal victory in London, became the first American — man or woman — to win gold in Olympic judo competition. In short, she made history. You may remember that Black Belt ran a story on Kayla Harrison in its April 2011 issue and published an online judo video featuring her demonstration of ouchi gari (major inner reaping throw). Well, we were introduced to her by none other than four-time Olympian and two-time bronze-medal winner Jimmy Pedro Jr. — perhaps the winningest judo coach in history, having trained at least eight judoka to the elite skill level necessary for Olympic Games entry. Among these judoka were none other than 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Ronda Rousey — and, of course, now gold medalist Kayla Harrison.

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Long before there was the Ultimate Fighting Championship or mixed martial arts, there were judo moves. Founded in 1882 by Dr. Jigoro Kano, judo took the best techniques of various schools of Japanese jujitsu, refined the ones that needed it and incorporated them into a single scientific system. Its adherents then put those techniques to the ultimate test: limited-rules combat with practitioners of other arts. It doesn’t sound all that different from the premise of the UFC — except that it took place a century earlier. It seems like a no-brainer that judo moves would have taken over the MMA world, but that’s not the case. The reason, says four-time Olympic judoka Jimmy Pedro, is politics. “In the rest of the world, there are professional judo programs that pay athletes to pursue Olympic medals and world titles. The guys who are at the top of their game in judo aren’t allowed to fight in MMA or [Brazilian] jiu-jitsu tournaments. The coaches don’t want any distractions to get in the way of their athletes’ performances. It’s the same in all the European countries, which are the best in the world in judo. “If they wait until their judo days are over before getting into MMA, they’re essentially starting as a white belt when they’re 28 or 30 and facing guys who have been fighting for eight or 10 years already.”

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