Marti Malloy Interview Part II

March 26, 2014, 6:46 p.m. (ET)

Thank you all who took the time and sent questions to Marti Malloy, London 2012 Olympic medalist! Here is the second part of the interview:

15.  What advice have you got for anyone wanting to coach and start up a club?

Wow, that is a complex question. I would say it's important to establish a presence in your local community in order to spark interest. Many people don't know what Judo is, let alone what it can do for you. Setting up a public demonstration where people can see what it's all about and obtain informational pamphlets etc. about the sport is a good place to start. No one is going to be tearing down the door trying to start Judo until you tell them what kind of benefits they can get from it.

16.  What advice have you for those who do judo as a sport?

As opposed to what? Anyone who does Judo is participating in a martial art sport. I'm guessing you mean competitively. It really depends on your goals, do you want to be an Olympic champion, a newaza specialist, or an uchimata expert? Either way, perfecting your technique is key in my opinion. Work to do your Judo correctly and effectively. If you just go through the motions with no real deliberate and focused thought you are not improving, you are acting like a robot. Deliberate practice is good practice.

17.  What advice do you have for those who do it as a martial art?

As opposed to what? Judo is a martial art and sport. I'm guessing you mean as a non-competitor. My answer is the same as question 16.

18.  Who has been your inspirations inside and outside of judo?

Inside Judo my inspirations have been the obvious ones, Jimmy Pedro, Mike Swain, Ronda Rousey, and Kevin Asano. Kayla Harrison, Yvonne Bonisch, and Gella Vandecaveye were major inspirations for me growing up and women I really admired in the Judo world. People like Chuck Jefferson who was my coach at SJSU [San Jose State University] for some time and an incredible judoka also inspired me. As well as Japanese fighters Ryoko Tani and Nomura to name a few. I was a huge fan of Marion Jones growing up, but that all changed later on for obvious reasons.

19.  What is your favorite genre of music?

Country, yes I admit it.

20.  Do you remember your first judo tournament?

Absolutely, it was a great day. I won all my fights in the first ten seconds with koshi guruma (head and arm throw) at the Bellevue Judo Club tournament. I was six years old, there were some natural light skylights shining down on the mat. Afterwards I sat with my mom on a bench under an eave of ivy outside the gymnasium and she told me how proud she was of me and that I did really well. I felt so happy knowing that I had made her proud althought I couldn't really comprehend what I had done. I just knew that I had done what my sensei told me to - BOW, GRIP, THROW.

21.  When you retire from competing will you become a judo referee?

I'm not sure. I am not against it. I think it's important for former competitors to give back to the sport and becoming a referee is a definite option.

22.  Do you collect any objects when you travel? What colors?

I have started to collect stickers from all the countries I travel to and stick 'em on my suitcase. I like pink but I don't discriminate against other colors. ;)

23.  If you had your own school; what ideas would you have to market it? How would you draw people in and what kind of things would you do to promote it?

See question 15. In addition, for marketing in particular, I think it's important to make your presence in the local community known.

24.  You have been to many places around the world. What are other Judo countries doing to get more people involved? What programs caught your eye, were you interested and how were they funded?

Unfortunately most of my world traveling has been for judo tournaments therefore, I haven't really had the chance to see what it is other countries are doing to involve more people in Judo. I also don't know much about how those programs might be funded... I can say in my frequent trips to Japan for training that getting kids started early in Judo is key. They have the sport in the school system starting in Elementary School which I think has helped to retain Judo players later down the road.

25.  When did you first realize that you wanted to go all the way and commit to the Olympics, what kept you going through the hard times?

FI think my early success as a kid paired with a strong support system made up of people who supported and pushed me to keep improving played a big part. Realizing that you can do something you love at the highest level motivated me to try and go all the way to the top. Then, meeting people like Mike Swain, Sandy Bacher and Jimmy Pedro at seminars etc. set an example for what I could attain and the ways to do it. I started dreaming of being an Olympic champion when I was around age 9 or 10. Judo is very difficult, so the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be good at it was something I always fell back on when times got hard. I would say to myself "you have already sacrificed so much time and effort to get this far, you can't five up now just because it's hard."

26.  How long did it take for you to be promoted to black belt?

I started Judo at age 6 and got my black belt at 16. So ten years.

27.  If you could go back to the beginning of your training and start over... what things would you focus on primarily, knowing what you know now? Conditioning? Combinations? More UchiKomi? Cross Training?

I would focus on 'deliberate training.' It is too easy to just go through the motions with no thought going into why you are doing something a certain way and how it can apply to competition. I would definitely have fought more, a LOT more. It's the best way to test yourself and find out what you need to improve on. That includes realizing what you already do well and resisting the urge to just do those things. Instead I would have put way more focus into what I struggle at and turn those things into strengths.

28.  What kind of pizza is your favorite?

My favorite is combination pizza with sausage, olives, mushrooms, ham, bell pepper, and lots of cheese!

29.  What's your favorite throw?

Ippon-seoi nage.

30.  Favorite techniques? Standing and ground?

See quesiton 8.  LINK TO QUESTION 8

31.  The -100kg US Olympian you find most attractive?

Since I know who asked this question, I have to say it is my buddy and Olympic team mate Kyle Vashkulat ;)

32.  What do you eat the day of a contest?

2 packs of oatmeal, a banana and orange juice for breakfast. Then I snack on breads and meats, crackers and chocolate throughout the day.

33.  What is your favorite throw to teach kids?

Any ashi-waza!

34.  How many Judogi do you own?

Between 35-40 approximately.