Tag Archives: jimmy pedro

42: Jimmy Pedro on What Makes a Champion, New Rules, and the Future of Judo

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Jimmy Pedro is an American judo competitor and coach, World champion, 3x World medalist, 2x Olympic medalist; we talk about his father (Big Jim Pedro Sr), his early career, the times he wanted to quit, overcoming a neck injury, coming back from retirement, the life of an athlete vs the life of a coach, a system for developing elite-level judoka, Japanese vs Russian judo, periodization, a weekly program for an elite-level judoka, toughest moment as a coach, watching Travis Stevens lose the semifinals at the Olympics, mental game, visualization, IJF, judo as a spectator sport, the future of judo in the United States and the rest of the world, and more.

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Full Video Interview on YouTube

Jimmy Pedro Quotes (from Podcast)

On failure and doubt:

“Every champion wants to quit… At 19, I lost at the Kano Cup, went 0-2. I remember sitting on the steps of the Budokan, thinking to myself: I hate this sport, I just want to quit, this stinks.  People see champions as winners, but they don’t see those dark days, the days when they struggled or they lost or they failed or the day in training when they got their butt whooped or those tournaments where they fought miserably. We all go through it. Nobody goes undefeated.”

On never quitting on the mat:

“I’ve never been broken in a judo match. I’ve never quit. I’ve fought some guys who were tough as nails. I’ve had to fight for my life. But I’ve never backed down. I might’ve been beaten, but I went out fighting.”

On strategy:

“We know we can’t beat the Russians, the French, the Brazilians, the Japanese by doing more judo than they do. They have way more people to train with, way more opportunity. So we have to beat them with physicality, strategy, gripping, newaza, conditioning, toughness, and the mindset that we are going to win.”

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28: Kayla Harrison on Winning Olympic Gold and Overcoming Trauma

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In episode 28, I talk with Kayla Harrison, first American to win Olympic gold in judo, about her training methods, visualization, competition mindset, Olympic final experience, warm-routine, Eminem and country music, overcoming a past of sexual abuse, PTSD, finding forgiveness, finding strength in judo, being coached by Jimmy Pedro, her Team Force teammates, moving up two weight classes, strength and conditioning, going to college, writing her memoir and also a book on recovering from sexual abuse, new judo rules, serving as the IJF athlete representative, and much more.

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Quotes

Kayla on the evolution of women’s judo:

“In 26 years (since Ann Marie DeMars became the first American world champion), we’ve seen women’s judo come a long long way. I’m very fortunate that I had pioneers like Ann Marie and Rusty Kanokogi and women like that who paved the way to allow me to pursue my dreams.”

Kayla on what was going on through her mind as she was stepping on the mat at the Olympics:

“I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that day. I was just a psycho. (Lol). I am very big on visualization. Before the Olympics even occurred I visualized that day a thousand time in my mind. I would go over it and over it and over it. And I would tell myself: ‘Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion. This is my day. This is my purpose.’ And all that day, Jimmy (Pedro) was chirping in my head: ‘Do you want this more? Have you worked harder? No one deserves this more than you. You’re Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion.’ “

Kayla giving credit for her success to her coaches:

“In order to be a great coach, you can’t be an athlete’s friend. He’s not afraid to make me cry. They are not afraid to light that fire, and tell me when I’m wrong. They are not afraid to push me when I need to be pushed, and pull back when I need to pull back. They don’t really care if I like them. I do, but they don’t really care either way.”

Kayla on whether fear/doubt enters her mind in competition:

“When I was younger I used to be pretty scared. I was more afraid of losing than I was willing to win. And when you’re afraid to lose, you don’t compete,  you don’t show up, you just worry about losing. Through the years, through experience, and just literally competing in every single tournament on the face of the Earth, I started to get into a habit… One of the things I’ve heard before and that I completely agree with is: ‘Success breeds success.’ When I start to win and I get on that roll, I don’t question myself, I don’t doubt myself. If you look at that video of me on the day of the Olympics, every match, even the one I was losing, I was losing my quarterfinal to a girl I’ve never beaten before, at no point did I question myself. I don’t know, I was a psycho. I thought I was going to win, and damned if I wasn’t going to go out there and do it. I trained too hard, worked too long, sacrificed too much, been away from my family too long to lose.”

Kayla talking about losing a match at the 2011 World championships:

Failure is my fuel. If you beat me, I’m going to sleep that night thinking about ripping your arm off.

YouTube Audio-Only Version

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27: Chris Round on Climate Change Science and Policy, Balancing Sport and Study

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In episode 27, I talk with Chris Round about judo, balancing sport and study, the science and policy of climate change, his work at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University, growing up with asperger syndrome, training under Jimmy Pedro, conditioning, groundwork, harai goshi, Team Force, the science of global warming, scientific consensus and public opinion on climate change, Naomi Oreskes, evolution in schools debate, industry funded doubt, China, fossil fuel consumption, the motivation of the scientific community, empathetic messaging, being open to the possibility of being wrong, etc.

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Quotes

Chris talks about focusing on being prepared:

“If you do everything right leading up to a tournament. You handled your weight correctly. You trained hard. You did everything right. If you go out there and you lose, and you did everything right to get there, then how the hell can you be a loser?”

Chris on balancing judo and study:

“I’ve managed to finally strike a balance through a lot of practice at striking a balance, a lot trial and error.”

Chris’s advice on putting a lot of effort into building a habit of study and training:

“It’s really easy at the end of a long day to say: ‘Alright, I’m taking practice off.’ The first three weeks are key. It’s establishing habits more than anything. First three weeks of a semester or first three weeks of getting back on the horse in training, you have to chuck a lot of mental energy at making sure you go to everything.”

Chris on why climate change is often such a device topic of conversation:

“I think a lot of people fuse (political issues) with their identity and what makes them a good person. And when you attack an idea related to that issue they are not taking it as a rational discussion. They are taking it as: ‘You’re attacking me as a person. You’re attacking my identity.'”

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13: Travis Stevens on Fighting Through Injury and Training to Exhaustion

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travis-stevens-take-it-uneasy-podcastIn episode 13, I talk to Travis Stevens, an American judoka, 2-time Olympian, and also one of the best BJJ brown belts in the world. He talked about training and competing through injury, fear as the thing that makes you tired, the role of coaching, adjusting to the new gripping rules, coming back from a deficit, cherishing the feeling of exhaustion.

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Quotes

Travis on his passion for judo:

“I wake up every morning excited to do my job and train. I want nothing more out of life than to be healthy enough for the next training session.”

Travis on whether he has ever been scared to face a particular opponent:

“I laugh at people that get scared. How can you fear someone in a competition. There are rules in place to protect the competitors. If you look at a list of people competing and you fear someone in the bracket just quit and go home and save your money and don’t waste the time of the people who want to compete. Because what you really fear is yourself and you don’t have the confidence within yourself. You think you don’t have the ability and if that’s the case why bother. You should be itching to fight the best and prove yourself, not hiding in a corner hoping for easy street to just land at your feet.”

Links

YouTube Version

11: Nick Delpopolo on His Olympics Experience, Close Matches, Coaching, and Starcraft

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nick-delpopolo-judo-olympian-take-it-uneasy-podcastIn episode 11, I talk to judo olympian Nick Delpopolo. He is ranked #1 in the United States and top 10 in the world. We talk about the four dramatic matches that qualified him for the 2012 Olympics and the four matches at the Olympics, the loss by referee decision, overcoming the aftermath of the THC test, his journey in judo and wrestling, the Hound and Tyrion from the Game of Thrones, the importance of a coach, Yoshisada Yonezuka, Jimmy Pedro, Jason Morris, close referee calls, training partners, uchimata, new gripping rules, randori, weight cutting, his life in an orphanage, his parents, Starcraft, etc.

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Matches with Commentary

Quotes

Nick Delpopolo on  not complaining about referee decisions during the match:

“When you lose a referee’s decision 2 to 1 in the Olympic quarter final and the match to get in for bronze, you’re just shreds away, you’re just decimals away, it’s nothing, that’s how close it is, that’s how fine that margin is. That’s what you think about a lot. What would’ve made a difference there? Getting up for one more run? Anything could’ve helped. It’s so close. If you run out there and you get thrown for ippon in a minute, okay fine, there’s not a whole lot to think about. But if you run out there and you play a five minute match with one of the best guys in the world, you almost score a couple times, he can’t score on you, it’s really close… Man, there’s a lot to think about there. That’s what hurts about that: being close. But it’s just motivation to push harder.”

Nick Delpopolo on not complaining about referee decisions during the match:

“While I’m out there and if the call is not going my way there is not a whole lot I can do about it. Complaining about it… You’re only out there for 5 to 10 minutes. Being negative, throwing your arms up, causing a scene is wasting valuable minutes of energy… Just play the match.”

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YouTube Version