Every once in awhile I learn about someone who has been chronically underestimated. Ronda Rousey is one of those people. I’m embarrassed to admit I underestimated her biography. I’ve read a lot of crap bios in the past and I feared this would be the same.
I was wrong.
In her book, My Fight / Your Fight Rousey speaks fearlessly about losing her dad, the pressure to be an Olympic medalist, her battle with an eating disorder, and her sometimes estranged relationship with her mother and sisters. Even if you’re not into Mixed Martial Arts or Judo, this book should be on your reading list.
Every chapter starts with a short, direct lesson, almost all of which can be applied to life outside the fighting ring. Then she opens with a 1-2 paragraph overview of the learning. The rest of the chapter is devoted to telling a specific story from her experience that led to her learning the lesson. It’s compelling.
At times, the descriptions are so clear I can smell her car or the gym. I can feel the fabric or sense the heat of the sun. I get angry with her. I get excited with her.
I was really surprised to read her accounts of her fights. You get a glimpse into her thinking. A snapshot of her brain at the time. I love reading about her fights with great Judo or MMA competitors and then watching those fights online. She gives you a rare, inside look into her thoughts and feelings before and during the match and it makes for exceptional reading and watching.
She writes about an incredible fight against Edith Bosch at the 2007 World Judo Championships in Rio de Janeiro. Reading her side of the story and then watching the fight is one of the most captivating experiences I’ve had in a long time. I know nothing about Judo or the rules of the sport. In the fight, you see she’s just amped energy, itching to start. Because I’ve read Rousey’s account of her history with Bosch and you know what she’s thinking in the moment, I felt like I understood her in the fight.
You can watch the fight on YouTube, but I recommend you read the book first and then watch it:
What I took away from her biography is that she’s a strong, mentally tough athlete who doesn’t accept “no” or defeat. She’s a real competitor. Anyone can see that in the way she fights, but there’s also a softer side to her. Delicate. She’s still a woman with feelings.
There have been a few tough moments in my training recently. I took a hybrid of a Crossfit and Krav Maga class. It was tough. There were times when I was exhausted or I wanted to do less reps. Instead, I thought to myself: What would Ronda do? The answer is obvious. Keep going. Push harder. Be faster than last time. And so I did.
This was a stirring, visceral, inspiring read and I highly recommend it to everyone.
Note: If you follow the links in this post and purchase this book from Amazon, I will receive a small affiliate commission. No one paid me to write this review. I’m just excited to tell everyone about it.