Across the street from Central Park on a sunny albeit cold Spring day, the NY Athletic Club once again hosted the New York Open Team Judo Tournament yesterday.
Featuring male and female teams representing the United States of America, France, Germany, and Poland, this event was historic for being the first one in the US to feature a Cuban team. Competing in the women's division, a team of five Cuban ladies, coached by the prolific Ronaldo Veitia, went head-to-head against international competition to make it to the finals where they battled it out with Team USA.
Coached by Jimmy Pedro, who has coached MMA fighters Rick Hawn and Ronda Rousey in Judo among countless others, the American women's team defeated Cuba, thanks to the strong finishes by Olympic bronze medalist Marti Malloy and Olympic Gold Medalist Kayla Harrison. Unfortunately for the men, they were not so lucky in their endeavors and were beaten by the German team. They met the French team in the finals, who had defeated the team from Poland earlier in the day, where the French took home the gold for their country.
Judo has been in the news within MMA circles lately for being decried by many international Judo organizations. However, this event reached out to the MMA crowd and embraced them with open arms, which saw Renzo Gracie, Aljamain Sterling and Eddie Gordon in attendance, as well as local NY MMA reporters.
The highlight reel from this event is above, and below is the official playlist of the matches I shot, which includes both the men's and women's team finals, and matches from Germany vs. USA in the men's division and France vs. Cuba and France vs. USA in the women's division. There is also a demonstration of the Nage No Kata by Sensei Lloyd Llamas, which you can watch at normal speed and in 60 FPS slow-motion to truly appreciate the beauty of the martial arts style that is "the gentle way"... except when people are getting armbarred. That ain't so pretty.
For easier access, here are Kayla Harrison's two matches that I filmed:
Kayla Harrison VS Lucie Perrot
Kayla Harrison VS Yalennis Castillo
And here are Marti Malloy's fights:
Marti Malloy VS Marnie Bonnet
Marti Malloy VS Aliuska Ojeda