Tag Archives: travis stevens

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.”

Links

17: Niko and Lex Talk a Little Judo

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In episode 17, I talk “a little judo” (for 90 minutes) with my comrade and judo mastermind Niko Dax. Our conversation is always full of opinions, disagreements, and Russian accents. We talk about Teddy Riner, Ilias Iliadis visit to the United States, judo in Kansas, AAU freestyle judo, being a big fish in a small pond, Nick Delpopolo, Travis Stevens, Kayla Harrison, Ole Bischof, financial support of American judoka, and much more.

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Quotes

Niko on one of the many reasons Ilias Iliadis is already judo legend at the young age of 26.

“Iliadis is amazing because he has major wins in four different weight classes: at 73kg, 81kg, 90kg, and 100kg.”

Niko on the challenge of training without a nation-wide system that supports judo:

“If Travis Steven or Nick Delpopolo win a bronze medal in the next Olympic games, that medal will have much more value than a gold medal by any Russian player, because that bronze medal will be won despite (the lack of financial support).”

Niko on money and happiness:

“Money won’t buy you happiness… unless you don’t have money.”

Links

YouTube Version

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

9: Kit Dale on Competition Mindset and a Life of Crime

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kit-dale-interview-and-mustacheIn episode 9, I talk to Kit Dale, Australian black belt and one of the rising stars on the jiu jitsu competition scene. He talks about facing Keenan Cornelius at the 2013 Worlds, his competition mindset, Copa Podio, confidence, visualization, Australian rules football, injuries, starting jiu jitsu in early twenties, wrestling and judo in bjj, importance of timing, drilling with blue belts, ADCC, Lloyd Irvin BJJ Kumite, teams, twerking, politics, Arnold Schwarzenegger, GTA, and the life of crime.

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Quotes

Kit Dale on his approach to competition:

“I would much rather lose to somebody in a really good fight than win in a really shit boring manner.”

Kit Dale on the two-party system in politics:

“I’m sitting here and picking what lube to use when I should be like: ‘How about I just get this thing out of my ass instead?'”

Clips of Matches with Comments

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Mentions

YouTube Version

Some Images

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6: Niko Dax on Elite-Level Judo and BJJ

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niko-dax-with-georgii-zantaraiaIn episode 6, I talk to Niko Dax, a judo black belt, instructor, and the most knowledgeable dude on the elite-level judo competition circuit than anyone I’ve met in the judo community. Here are some topics we  talk about: The role of sport judo in growing the art. The top American judoka. The difference between ground work in judo and BJJ. History of judo and  japanese  jujutsu. The  ratio of tachiwaza (standing technique) to newaza (ground techniques). “Crazy” is the best technique in a street fight. New judo rules on leg grabs and gripping. Tamerlan Tmenov striking  fear into the hearts of his opponents. Etc.

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Niko Dax on a rule  of thumb to use when learning a technique in judo:

“If you feel that the technique requires power, then you’re doing something wrong.”

Here are links, videos, people, things mentioned in this episode: