Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, February 21, 2014

Ronda Rousey's Mom

Tomorrow, Ronda Rousey is going to defend her UFC Bantamweight title against Sara McMann in a MMA event.

Rousey has been dominant in MMA, and for good reason. From the time she was a little girl, her mother, who was herself a world class judoka, pushed her towards excellence. All her life, Rousey has had top coaches and has competed at the very highest level. She won a bronze metal in the Olympics, for crying out loud.

Her last match against Miesha Tate was an ongoing judo lesson. 

None of her competitors has come close to having such an impressive pedigree. All of them have come to MMA; to martial arts at all, fairly recently in comparison, and none have have competed consistently at the levels Rousey called home.

Until now. Her opponent, Sara McMann is herself a long time wrestler and won a silver medal in the Olympics. This will be the first time that Rousey has been matched up against someone with a background similar to her own.

But this post isn't titled "Ronda Rousey;" it's "Ronda Rousey's Mom." 

Recently, at Ozymandias, there was an article about Ronda Rousey's mom, AnnMaria De Mars. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

When I fought a woman from Cuba, I broke her fucking arm.”

If AnnMaria De Mars cared about us excusing her French, she’d have asked us to excuse her French. But this she did not do as she told us exactly what she said to her Olympic Bronze medalist daughter in an effort to cool a moment of competitive panic before an international match.

    De Mars is all those things: nice, friendly and not so relaxed.

That’s right. Those are her gentle words of motherly advice. And they are entirely in keeping with the armbars that the 5-foot-2-inch De Mars used to use to wake the same daughter up for school in the morning — the daughter who became the undefeated Bantamweight Ultimate Fighting Championship belt holder, Ronda Rousey. Rough way to welcome a kid to the day? Well, if winning were going to be easy, everybody would win. Which is not at all how the real world works, really.

”It’s rare to see someone get to that level of athletic achievement and be really relaxed about getting there,” said Dallas Winston from the sports commentary site SB Nation. “Or nice. Or friendly,” he laughs.

But De Mars is all those things: nice, friendly and not so relaxed. When we catch her on a rare day off, what we want to know above anything else is this: What happens in the heads of folks for whom winning becomes a kind of addiction? It was something De Mars wondered herself when Ronda, an athlete just like her other three kids, announced that she wanted to be a champion, too. Just like her mom.

”I took it really seriously since I knew exactly what it took to do that. No way was I going to work harder than her for something she said that she wanted,” said De Mars. So she did her due dilligence and rounded up all of the people that she had met on her way up — world team judokas, Olympic champs — and asked them what their parents and coaches did to lay the groundwork for success. It’s that kind of methodical approach that helped her transform from an overweight 12-year-old Air Force brat in Alton, Illinois, born to nonathlete parents, into a national competitor by age 16.

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