From our friends at USAJUDO.COM
There's tremendous buzz about the upcoming Maruyama vs Abe battle for a spot on the Olympic team. If you want to watch it, here's the link to the livestream (it'll be at 3pm Japan time, Sunday).
Japan's "good problem" of having more than one excellent player in a category isn't restricted to the -66kg division. At -60kg, they also have two incredible players in the form of Takato and Nagayama. And at -73kg, there's Ono and Hashimoto. It's also not limited to the men's division. At -52kg, there's Uta Abe and Shishime.
But in all those other categories, the superior player is clearer. Nagayama is absolutely world class (and he has beaten Takato before) but he's a double World Bronze Medalist while Takato is a triple World Champion.
The gap between Hashimoto and Ono is relatively smaller, and both have shown an ability to beat anyone in the world. But while Hashimoto is a World and Asian Champion (held every year), Ono is an Olympic, triple World and Asian Games Champion (held every four years).
Shishime is a World Champion and World Silver Medalist while Uta Abe is a double World Champion. On that basis, they seem pretty close. But a deeper dive into their respective stats will provide clearer insight on who is the one with more potential. In the past four years, Abe has lost only once (to Amandine Buchard of France). In the same time period, Shishime has lost to Krasniqi (KOS), Kelmendi (KOS), Buchard (FRA) and to Abe (not once, not twice but five times!).
Crucially, Abe has beaten Kelmendi, the defending Olympic champion. That alone probably makes her the obvious choice for Japan.
On paper, Hifumi Abe is superior to Maruyama. Abe has two World titles and nine IJF World Tour golds while Maruyama has a World title and five IJF World Tour golds. In terms of results, Abe has a more impressive record. A scrutiny of their stats however makes it harder to decide who is actually more likely to win gold at the Olympics.
Both seem to be hard for international players to beat. In the past four years, Abe has lost only four times (once to Lombardo of Italy, once to a Mongolian and twice to Maruyama). In the same time frame, Maruyama has lost five times (three times to An Baul of South Korea and twice to Abe).
So, as you can see, there is hardly any gap between them in terms of their ability to win internationally. While it might be easy to conclude that Maruyama seems to have a bogeyman in An Baul, it should be pointed out that he has actually beaten An twice.
As for Abe, there are signs that he has difficulty dealing with Italy's Lombardo. Although technically he has lost to the Italian only once (in the 2019 Paris Grand Slam), most observers feel he had lost to Lombardo in the 2019 Tokyo World Championships and was only saved by a dubious judges' decision.
It's worth noting that it's 2:2 for Abe and Maruyama when it comes to their international battles with each other.
If you were to ask most judo fans and commentators whether the choices of Takato, Ono and Uta Abe were the right ones, you'd probably get a chorus of agreement. But ask them who would be a better pick, Abe or Maruyama, and you will surely get very deeply divided answers.
Maruyama has an unbelievable uchimata but Abe has an unreal morote-seoi-nage. A play-off is probably the fairest way to decide who gets to be on the Olympic team. But should it be just one match to decide this? Perhaps the best of three matches would be a better way.
This, in fact, is the format that Judo Canada will be taking to resolve their "good problem" of having to choose between Christa Deguchi and Jessica Klimkait. They will battle it out, in a yet-to-be-determined date, over three matches.
In judo, sometimes luck (good or bad) can decide a match. Anything can happen in one bout, especially when it involves two very evenly-matched players. When you have the best of three, you are better able to mitigate the role of luck. If a player can beat the other one at least two times (or perhaps all three times), you can feel confident that he is the right one to be selected.
Three matches will also make it more exciting for the audience. I'm sure if you did a poll of judo fans asked whether they would prefer one or three matches, the answer would overwhelmingly be the latter. But one match is all we'll get.
So, don't miss it. Be sure to tune in on the livestream on Sunday 3pm, Japan time.
2x Olympic Judo Gold Medaist & Professional Fighters League Champion Kayla Harrison will be stepping into the Invicta cage to fight against Courtney King on November 20th. With the PFL on hold due to COVID, Harrison has been itching to get back on the canvas to continue to show the world that she is a top conetender in MMA. With this annoucnement, Harrison will be moving down to 145 pounds. Will this be a permant move for Harrison or just something temporary? Is she setting herself to hold the title in two divisions?
Everyone here at Hatashita & FUJI Sports is cheering Kayla on from afar and will be tuning in to support her! For more information on how to watch, click here!
Olympic Medalist & World Judo Champion Jimmy Pedro & Olympic Medalist & BJJ Black Belt Travis Stevens have teamed up to bring you the AMERICAN JUDO SYSTEM. The American Judo System is more than just technique breakdowns, it is a fully realized system on how to improve your judo and elevate your understanding and knowledge of the sport itself.
Ultimately, the American Judo System is designed to help you win more matches easily with all of the tools you need on one platform. Decades of judo experience and proven methods of success are at your finger tips in this digital platform.
Right now, you can get access to SIX FREE TECHNIQUES just register for an account on USAJudo.com and get ready to elevate your judo!
Check out the results fron Day 1 for Team USA Judo at the 2020 Hungary Grand Slam!
Team USA Judo and the rest of world steps back on the competition stage in Hungary on Friday, October 23rd.
JUDO IS BACK!"
The following athletes will be representing Team USA:
A few weeks ago, the International Judo Federation announced the imminent return of the World Judo Tour, which has been at a standstill since the start of the global health crisis linked to Covid-19. Today, we are delighted to confirm the holding of the Grand Slam Hungary which will take place, as planned, at the end of October 2020 (23-25), in the beautiful capital of Hungary, Budapest.
IJF President, Mr. Marius Vizer, said: “It is an historic moment for world judo and for sport.
According to the IJF, the 2020 competition season will begin in October with the
Budapest Grand Slam and will be followed by the Tokyo Grand Slam in December. The World Judo Masters will be held at the beginning of 2021 in Doha, Qatar.
While this is a huge step towards the "new normal", the IJF is committed to the safety of the athletes, coaches, and officials.
"The health of our judo family is of the utmost importance and we will ensure that the local and global health situations will be taken into careful consideration in the planning of each event, with more details to be given in the coming weeks." - IJF Statement
It is vital to continue training during COVID-19. Keeping your physical and mental health in a positive state will not only make you feel better but keep you sharp for when your dojo re-opens.
Olympic Judo Coach & World Champion Jimmy Pedro has created the "Ultimate Home Judo Workout" that anybody of any fitness level or judo experience level can do!
The FUJI Training Bands are perfect to stay active and sharp at home, at the gym, or on the go!
The ultimate training tool. Whether you're training at home, working out outside, or looking to step up your overall game, the Training Bands are for you! The Training Bands can be used to develop strength, speed, coordination, grip strength, and overall accuracy when it comes to executing techniques.
The Training Bands come with a 10' long bungee cord, two carbines and three gi ends - two sleeves and one lapel.
Check out the individual exercises below...
Pick your favorite forward throw and get to work. Be sure to set up your bands to have the proper sleeve or lapel grips!
Now just work on the kuzushi or off balance movement. It's important to mimic the kuzushi to be a specific throw and not just generic movements.
Have some good tension, keep your elbows in tight and pull the band (one at a time) all the back in a rowing motion.
Increasing grip and arm strength in one exercise. Be sure to keep your feet planted!
Perfect for when you're fatigued from other exercises! Keep your blood pumping and the momentum going!
We can't forget about our non-dominant side! When working out at home with bands, we want to make sure both sides of our bodies are strong!
Joint Statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee
The President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning (March 24, 2020) to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
They were joined by Mori Yoshiro, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee; the Olympic Minister, Hashimoto Seiko; the Governor of Tokyo, Koike Yuriko; the Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission, John Coates; IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper; and the IOC Olympic Games Executive Director, Christophe Dubi.
President Bach and Prime Minister Abe expressed their shared concern about the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, and what it is doing to people’s lives and the significant impact it is having on global athletes’ preparations for the Games.
In a very friendly and constructive meeting, the two leaders praised the work of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee and noted the great progress being made in Japan to fight against COVID-19.
The unprecedented and unpredictable spread of the outbreak has seen the situation in the rest of the world deteriorating. Yesterday, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that the COVID-19 pandemic is "accelerating". There are more than 375,000 cases now recorded worldwide and in nearly every country, and their number is growing by the hour.
In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.
The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.
With everything that is going on, it is easy to lose focus and not take care of ourselves during such a stressful time. Hatashita Sports has compiled a list of things you can do at home to stay healthy mentally and physically.
NO EQUIPMENT REQUIRED - Just a few ideas...
Here are some excellent "At-Home" Training Exercises from Olympic Silver Medalist Travis Stevens
Notice how Travis trains BOTH sides during his at-home training. Travis is a right-sided player, but it's important that we practice both sides just like we would in a regular lifting / stretching workout.
Also, here are some more "At-Home" training exercises and drills you can do without any equipment:
AAre you training at home? Be sure to share your workout journey with us on Instagram - @hatashitasportsjudo
We are teaming up with FUJI Sports/Hatashita Sports, FUJI Mats, BJJ Fanatics, and Judo Fanatics to give back to the community! We’re giving away a 10’ x 10’ premium home tatami kit from FUJI Mats to 1 winner. Shipped right to your door for FREE - over $1,500 in value. Here’s how to enter:
For each time you post a workout by March 31st, you’ll be entered in for a chance to win. The winner will be announced on April 1st.
Good luck and stay healthy out there!
We will inform you if there are any changes or updates."
We are in the unfortunate position where we must take a drastic decision in order to protect the judo family and also to comply with the general safety measures all around the world.
The IJF Executive Committee has taken the emergency decision to cancel with immediate effect all Olympic qualification Events on the IJF Calendar until April 30, 2020. This includes the Ekaterinburg Grand Slam in Russia and the Grand Prix in Tbilisi (GEO) and Antalya (TUR) and the continental events.
Unfortunately, the situation is now dangerous and critical from many points of view. It is of paramount importance to keep the judo family safe in these difficult times, and also to ensure fair chances for all athletes engaged in the Olympic qualification.
More information will be released in the upcoming days."
Regardless of what you feel about Coronavirus, it is clear that the safety of the athletes, officials, volunteers, and spectators needs to be the first priority. Also, would it be fair to the countries that cannot participate because of travel restrictions for these events to still be held? Hatashita Sports will be sure to share any and all information released by the IJF & USA Judo.
The third IJF event of 2020 has concluded and it was an amazing showing of high-level judo. Athletes from all over had a lot on the line as they were looking to set the precedent for the world to see.
Hatashita Sports Athlete / Team USA member Angelica Delgado who competes in the -52kg division earned herself a BRONZE medal going 4-1. Delgado was on fire all day looking fierce and focused. The IJF interviewed her right after her match, here is an excerpt:
“It feels really good to get a medal in a qualifying year,” the Tokyo Olympics just months away, the 29-year-old Delgado said.She added, “To make a statement like this in a qualifying year means I know I can get a medal at the Olympics.”She wiped away a tear. “I’m just really happy.”
The third event in 2020 is here - the Dusseldorf Grand Slam! With Paris behind us, this event features 676 athletes from 117 countries will meet to continue to climb the World Ranking List for top spots in Tokyo this Summer.
Team USA will be sending the following athletes (list courtesy of USA Judo):
The second IJF event of 2020 has concluded and it was an amazing showing of high-level judo. Athletes from all over had a lot on the line as they were looking to set the precedent for the world to see.
Hatashita Sports Athletes / Team USA did not make it to the podium this time around but a lot of valuable experience was gained. Plus most of the team stayed for the training camp which will be sure to help refine and sharpen their skills.
A LOT of things happened at this year's event ...
Leandro Guilheiro from Brazil at 36 years old showed signs of possibly retiring from competition. Guilheiro fell to Italy in the first round. The Brazilian is no stranger to success having two Olympic Bronze medals under his belt. We wish him the best of luck on whatever path he chooses whether it be competition or retirement! Read the full article from the IJF here.
TEDDY RINER LOST! After 152 consecutive wins, Riner of France fell to Kageura Kokoro of Japan in the third round. However, while you may see articles flood the internet, it's important to understand that Riner wins with grace and as we saw losses with it too. He bowed, shook his opponent's hand and walked off toward a loving crowd who STILL regardless of the result - loving him. Riner is a two time Olympic Champion and eight-time World Judo Champion. Read the full article and watch the video from the IJF here.
The second event in 2020 is upon us - the Paris Grand Slam! Arguably, one of the most exciting events on the IJF Tour, this year's event will be no different. 740 athletes from 121 countries will meet to earn the title - Paris Grand Slam Champion.
Team USA will be sending the following athletes (list courtesy of USA Judo):
The first IJF event of 2020 has concluded and it was an amazing showing of high-level judo. Athletes from all over had a lot on the line as they were looking to set the precedent for the world to see.
Hatashita Sports Athlete / Team USA's Colton Brown secured a Top 7 finish earning a 182 World Ranking Points. Brown is currently qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Hatashita Sports Athlete / Team Canada's Kelita Zupancic earned herself a bronze medal. Zupancic won 4 of her matches and only falling once to the eventual winner of the contest. Zupancic looked incredible throughout the day and started 2020 off right!
Here is a list of the current US Athletes qualified for the Olympic Games (courtesy of the IJF).
Next stop, PARIS!
The first Grand Prix of 2020 has arrived! With sights set on Tokyo, all eyes will be in Israel for the TelAviv Grand Slam. Top athletes from all of the world will converge for what is sure to be some amazing match-ups and overall exciting judo.
Team USA will be sending the following athletes (list courtesy of USA Judo):
The Competition Begins On Thursday, January 23rd
FUJI Sports is proud to announce a new multi-year athlete partnership with Jiu-Jitsu World Champion, Xande Ribeiro. Xande has had a long and illustrious career in Jiu-Jitsu, and FUJI Sports is excited to begin a collaborative effort with Xande who will serve as a global brand ambassador and technical advisor for the company’s jiu-jitsu line of products.
“I am so happy to be part of FUJI in this level of my career,” commented Xande.
“Being part of a company with over 50 years of experience, surrounded by amazing professionals, martial artists, Olympians and a product that it is outstanding, makes me so excited about our partnership and bring to the BJJ world a product that they can trust. Looking forward to many years of amazing stories and being embraced by an armor that will endure and allow me to give it an extra push in my next adventures.”
To date, Xande is a 4th Degree Black Belt, a 7-time Black Belt World Jiu Jitsu Champion, a 2-time Black Belt World Absolute Champion, a 2-time ADCC World Champion, and an IBJJF Hall of Fame member, among many other accolades. He is revered by many as one of the top all around Jiu-jitsu fighters of all time. Xande is also one of the original founders of the Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Association along with his brother, Saulo. The two also founded the University of Jiu Jitsu and teach out of their current RJJA Headquarters. Additionally, the RJJA currently has over 50 affiliates spanning across the entire the world including in Brazil, Canada, USA, Europe, and Asia.
Hatashita/FUJI Sports believes in building and inspiring a community of players dedicated to their own goals and providing them with great products every step of the way. True to its roots in Japanese tradition and heritage, Hatashita/FUJI Sports aims to continue to provide high quality products at the best possible prices to the global marketplace to continue to grow the sport.“FUJI Sports is a brand with Japanese tradition and heritage. It is important that our global brand ambassadors have superb character, respect and help others, and give back to their sport,” Jimmy Pedro, 4-time Olympian turned US Olympic Judo Coach, and spokesman for FUJI Sports, said in a statement. “Xande is a great person, a true warrior and a great fit for the culture of our company. Our plan is to collaborate with Xande to develop a completely new line of jiu jitsu products aimed at the serious competitor,” Pedro went on to say. “We are honored and excited that Xande has chosen to work exclusively with FUJI Sports.”
When we think of Bruce Lee throwing a kick, Muhammad Ali dodging a punch, or a great wrestler like Dan Gable swiftly shooting in for a double-leg takedown and dumping his opponent on the mat, we can easily imagine strength exerted on multiple planes. This multi-dimensional strength and stability is achieved through specific strength conditioning. It is the key for optimizing body movement and power for a combat athlete’s knock-out punch. It also provides incomparable groundwork for other athletes, too.
The majority of today’s programs favor traditional strength and conditioning approaches which are often heavily biased towards sagittal plane (forward and backward) movements. We definitely need strength in the sagittal plane, and many of the big-bang-for-the-buck exercises like squats and deadlifts occur in this plane.
But in designing our training, it is important to understand that the human body does not move in just one direction. We can also move side-to-side, forward, backward, and in rotation.
Training in multiple planes, or multiple directions, helps us achieve higher levels of body awareness, balance, and coordination."
This improved programming allows for quicker reaction times and more efficient neuro-motor function. Training in all the planes can help athletes and clients avoid injury and enhance their performance. It’s a required practice for any athlete determined to consistently perform on an elite level.
Movements in the sagittal plan move forward and back, or through the mid-line of the body. Common examples of sagittal plane movements are a biceps curl or a sit-up.
Movements along the frontal plane can be described as side-to-side, such as abduction and adduction. Exercises that work through the frontal plane are side lunges and jumping jacks.
Movements in the transverse plane include horizontal abduction, adduction or rotational actions. Exercise examples include the Russian twist or a cable woodchop.
One major reason most sports injuries occur in the frontal and transverse planes is that most athletes are only training in the sagittal plane. Athleticism depends on a tremendous amount of movement in different planes of action. Strength and conditioning programs for athletes should strive to include as many variations of movement as possible to train muscles in as many planes as possible (Kenn, 2003).
As trainers and coaches, we must prepare our athletes by strengthening their bodies in all three planes. If your athletes understand the difference between these three planes of movement and can develop their ability to efficiently weave their movements together, then they will be well-rounded and less prone to injury. For example, a fighter in the ring or cage spins, moves left and right, dodges kicks, pivots, punches, and is constantly tackled. If his or her body is weak in a particular plane, the likelihood of an injury is much greater.
Most popular training methods do not use multi-planar movements. Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, CrossFit training, and bodybuilding tend to primarily work in the sagittal plane. Very few movements are in the transverse or frontal planes. Additionally, most of these training methods do not include multi-planar movements—combinations of frontal, sagittal, and transverse planes of motion. These popular training methods are still valid for training athletes, but coaches should also consider ways to train sport-specific movements that athletes will perform on the field of play (Brown, 2013).
As strength coaches and trainers, we can create workouts that hit all of these planes, or we can select compound exercises—triplaner movements—that hit all three planes in one rep. One of the best triplanar movements of all is the get up.
The get up is a highly functional movement and total body exercise. Its benefits include improved shoulder stability and strength, correction of left-right asymmetries, overall mobility, core strength, improved movement skills, overall proprioception/coordination, and time under tension. The get-up also teaches athletes to stabilize themselves and create whole body tension in a variety of positions.
The above-mentioned list of benefits is more than enough justification to include the get-up in our workouts. But, I think that one of the most valuable benefits provided by the get-up is that it passes through all three movement planes from the ground up, and again on the way back down to the ground. For that reason alone, the kettlebell get-up is one of my favorite options—it forces you to work in EVERY plane of motion.
The get-up provides a variety of functional movement patterns and an unmatched stimulation to our vestibular and nervous systems. Once they have mastered all the steps of the get-up, you can even lead your clients and athletes through the movement with their eyes closed for a greater nervous system challenge. The body awareness developed from practicing get-ups provides tremendous value for athletes and the general population.
When designing a strength and conditioning program, we need to include multi-planar movements, multi-directional movements, and various stances which are appropriate for our athletes. Exercises like the get-up will help athletes move more efficiently and will decrease their chances of injury while increasing their overall functional strength.
Brown, T. (2013, September). NSCA’s Performance Training Journal, Issue 12. Retrieved November 18, 2016
Kenn, J. (2003). The Coach’s Strength Training Playbook. Monterey, CA: Coaches Choice.
The element of surprise can be a very helpful tool. Off the grip attacks are almost always synonymous with surprise. Anything from drop seio and beyond can be utilized to attempt an off the grip attack. And ultimately, every single judo player has to have off the grip attacks.
This will help you win national and international competitions."
In the video here, Travis Stevens teaches an off the grip attack that helps him get his offense going. It is also a fairly safe bet to use it. It is important to make sure that you take the time to focus on your “situational” judo. While training your bread and butter is important, work on your weaknesses too.
A great training program for developing situation drills is one we refer to as "combinations." The idea is, you do a situation for 1 min (can be longer, we have gone up to 2 min in the past when we’re in very good shape) with a 5 to 10-second rest. Then your partner would go and repeat the process.
One of the workouts we use would look like this: 1 min each
With two sets any combination
And two sets off the grip attacks
Two sets only development techniques
And two sets your favorite best technique
This workout would be roughly 18 mins of your standard hour and a half workout.
Most of the time spent here is based more around the development of fundamental judo strength. You will need to make sure you hit three to four key points every single time you perform an action. In the off the grip attacks, drop seio version Travis focuses on the following:
Not losing my grip
Make sure I get to the end of the wrist
Only do it after trying to establish my right hand on the gi
Make sure my opponent falls to the floor
If you focus on these four areas, you'll be in great shape. Remember this type of technique is not to initiate scores, but it makes being offensive possible. If you can make solid attacks that knock your opponent to the mat, you put yourself in an advantageous position to win.
Hopefully, it also gets your opponent thinking that if they don't let you put two hands on the gi, they can be thrown. That will give you the opportunity to get a stalling call against your opponent.
Take time to focus in on these situations. Not being able to put a second hand on the gi, or an athlete that grip fights a little too much are great examples. Remember that in training and in competition you're going to encounter athletes like this. And you will have to score on them and find ways to win. You can't sit and complain about it, you must find a way to win. These situations come up all the time and when you're down by a score you're going to need to make sure something happens. Work on your off the grip attacks and let us know how it goes!
--- Watch Below ---
There is an abundant amount of information floating around the internet with regards to proper training, proper nutrition, proper mental preparation, and proper technique for grapplers. In fact, there’s so much out there, it becomes a much bigger job to sift through the good and bad and extract what you need as an individual than it should be. Your job, as an athlete, is to do the damn thing.
Do the thing and you shall have the power” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Emerson was a 19th century American poet (among other things), but he may as well have been a sports psychologist with a mindset like that. All of the information athletes are perpetually bombarded with is meant to help them, though it seems to just distract defer focus to ideas and concepts they don’t need to be scrutinizing. Ultimately, an athlete (and grapplers in particular) need to shut their minds down and be an absolute animal to get the job done on the mats. In order to be successful, athletes must simplify and execute.
There are more clinical terms for this concept found in sports psychology. “Attentional Focusing” for example, is “the ability to focus attention on cues in the environment that are relevant to the task in hand.” In short, the capability of an athlete to focus on task-relevant cues in order to achieve what they need to. The ability to simplify and execute. The ability to do the thing.
James Kerr in his bestseller “Legacy” puts it this way:
“Under pressure, your attention is either diverted or on track. If you’re diverted, you have a negative emotional response and unhelpful behavior…if your attention is on track, you have situational awareness and you execute accurately. You are clear, you adapt, and you overcome.”
With so much information constantly at our fingertips, it becomes tough to sift through and determine what is right for you. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with people you trust to advise you for your particular athletic goals, and reliable resources (like FUJI Fit) to direct you appropriately. And it’s important to do this in preparation for events, not the day of.
Ultimately, when you hit the mats, all the thinking should’ve already be done. The ability of you as an athlete to focus on the task at hand, to simplify and execute, will be the difference in success and failure the vast majority of the time. The training, the eating, the mental preparation, and the technical components of you as a grappler need to be the object of your attention leading into a competition, once you’re on the mats, your attention should be on one thing: execution.
On August 10, 2016 I stepped off of the mat at the Olympic Games in Brazil unhappy with my performance. I knew right then and there that I had to make a change. If I wanted a different result at the next Olympics in Tokyo, I had to switch things up. Ultimately I decided to step completely outside of my comfort zone. I moved to the Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, Massachusetts. Before I actually made the decision, I spent numerous nights contemplating the move. The only reason the decision was so hard for me was because I knew judo and life as I knew it were going to change. Things were no longer going to be fun, it was going to be 100% dedication.
June 20th, I packed my bags to leave San Jose. I made myself a promise to do everything in my power to never feel the way I did after leaving the mat in Rio. I knew it wasn’t going to be fun. But I prepared myself to do whatever it took to achieve success. Especially when it came to staying motivated through injuries or anything else that came my way.
When I arrived in Boston, the team was preparing for the World Championships at the end of August. I immediately questioned my decision to move here. Practice was extremely tough, and the coaches (Jimmy and Travis) demanded excellence. The next couple of months were very hard on me mentally and physically. My body wasn’t used to training at this intensity. And for this duration of time. That combined took an even bigger toll on my mind. Although I was adjusting to a new system, I saw major improvements in my judo. More importantly, I began to see improvements in the way I approached training.
The Netherlands Grand Prix was in early November. In preparation for it, the coaches and I thought it would be a good idea to travel to the Quebec Open. That way we could get some quality matches in. In my final match of the day, my foot got caught underneath me while defending a throw. A sharp pain rushed through the top of my foot. Initially I thought I just rolled my ankle and tried to walk it off. I immediately knew that it was more serious than that. I tried to continue fighting on one foot. Jimmy realized the amount of pain that I was in and pulled me from the match.
The next day I went to get an MRI. I realized that I tore some major ligaments in my foot and would be off of the mat for 8-10 weeks. A variety of thoughts went through my head. The biggest one was the amount of opportunities I was going to miss out on over the next two months. I was supposed to travel to Netherlands to compete. Fly to Japan with teammate Jack Hatton and Coach Travis Stevens to train for three weeks. And finally end the year off by competing at the World Masters Championships. What defines champions, though, is staying motivated through injuries.
I spent one day on the couch feeling sorry for myself. Then realized that I had to change this mindset immediately. I woke up the next morning and went to the gym to talk to my trainer about workouts to do in the meantime. To my surprise, he told me I can still come in every day to do upper-body lifts and work on mobility. I went home and seriously thought about the promise I made myself before moving here.
I knew there were going to be “bumps in the road.” Without them, the end result wouldn’t feel as good. I made a commitment to change my diet to decrease inflammation. And to move as much as possible to speed up the healing process. When I initially went to the doctor, he told me I wouldn’t be able to walk on the foot for at least 7 weeks. I took my first steps exactly 4 weeks after the injury occurred.
I have accepted the fact that I will go through injuries over these next couple of years, but nothing will stop me from achieving my goal. The importance is staying motivated through injuries. Despite the various bumps and bruises we experience, there’s always something we can do to improve on a daily basis. I took this time off to re-motivate myself and mentally prepare for the battle ahead. I’ve used this time wisely and will come back stronger than before.
The Tricky O-ouchi gari can be a really great defense to have in your back pocket. But let's set the scene first. Has this ever happened to you? You're going up against an opponent and you're feeling really confident. But then...they just keep on out gripping you at every turn and at every opportunity. No matter how good you get at judo, you will always run into situations where you get out gripped. It happens to the best of the best and there is nothing you can do about it.
Instead of banging your head against a wall when you encounter that situation, make sure you have an answer before you ever step onto the mats. Meaning prepare for all possible scenarios, so you're never surprised by anyone.
The hard part about the tricky O-ouchi Gari concept is the knowledge that you lost your position due to you making a mistake. Instead of your opponent making a good move that caused you to lose the position. When judo players make mistakes, they try to learn how to fight out of bad positions. That same methodology becomes how they train. Let's put that mentality to bed. Learn how to fight to not get put into disadvantageous positions. That will save you from fighting your way out of them 100 percent of the time. Ultimately, this will allow you to focus on scoring from grips and situations that have a high degree of scoring because you are not in a losing position to start with.
The tricky O-ouchi gari is focused on making sure you avoid bad positions. It is also a great way to stop an opponent from grabbing your neck throughout the rest of the match. This will, in turn, make the match a lot easier for you. Without further ado, let's get into the meat and potatoes of the tricky Ouchi gari.
Make sure your head is making their arm "heavy." That means pressure and that means effort. It will shut down any chance of them countering.
Get a solid post on the hip. A solid grip on the belt is key to engaging this properly.
Square off like you would on a normal O-uchi Gari. You have to square off to your opponent to fully execute.
Drive through and smash your opponent to the mat. Drive. Don't lift. That's important!
There is an age old saying that goes: when fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Preparation is key in all facets of life. Judo is no exception. From mental to lifting, to nutrition and beyond, preparation should surround you. Preparing your responses to a wide variety of scenarios on the mats should absolutely be a major focus of your training.
Proactivity will always prevail over reactivity too. So when you're on the mats, it is better to be proactive in shutting down your opponents from advantageous positioning. Rather than reactive in bad positioning, your opponent has put you through. The tricky O-ouchi gari is a way to be proactive. So learn it inside and out and use it before it uses you!
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The drop seio is one of the most common throws in judo at any level. Adding a component of left on right (i.e. same-sided) complicates the technique a little bit, but does not render it overall impossible. The left on right drop seio is just as basic to execute as opposite sided, the angles just change a little bit.
Travis Stevens executes the same-sided drop seio with Jack Hatton. Both men are 81kg judo players. Make no mistake, they're both strong and explosive athletes. Jack and Travis are both as serious about their time in the gym as they are about their time on the mats. Lifting is important for judo players. As is maintaining and working on the mental side of your game. And nutrition. In fact, lifestyle of an elite athlete is incredibly important. If you're an aspiring judo player, make sure you get all parts of your life in order. It will only help you on the mats. Take it from some of the best in the game!
Let's get back to the left on right drop seio and the details of this technique! A few steps you should aim to follow when doing this throw follow.
You MUST have inside control. You will need to make sure you have a strong post that is under your opponent's arm. When you later twistin to
jack your opponent up on your toes, this positioning will come in handy.
Snap your opponent to the side. Do this while moving in front. The snap and front-move will enable you to turn, create whip, and drop down through. The STEP and WHIP is the most important part. This will create the speed you need to shock your opponent and complete the throw.
Drop through your opponents legs, never in front of them. If in front, they can counter easily. If though, they have no choice but to be thrown.
The left on right drop seio can be complicated if you ever get lost in what should be done. The common mistakes you want to make sure you don't do are as follows:
Dropping on the side of the leg
Not making a rotation
Not opening up your opponent to make a successful attack
It isn't often we will tell you what not to do, but those mistakes are so common with the drop seio they're worth mentioning. Everyone has messed up throws before and ultimately, we will continue to do so. That's sport! And that's especially the nature of judo and judo throws. If you ever saw a ratio of throws tried versus throws that worked, me oh my we would all be shocked at how rarely throws actually work! That said, it is still incredibly important to practice correctly.
Take your time going through this video and make sure you really focus on what TO do, not what not to do. The left on right drop seio can be really beautiful and scary when executed correctly. Get a good training partner and drill over and over again. Be explosive, take care of yourself, and have some fun!
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How to get a high grip on a same sided opponent is a conundrum as old as time. If you've ever struggled to get a high grip on a same sided opponent, you know what we're talking about. Same-sided opponents in general can be a tough challenge. It can be really frustrating to go up against someone and feel like you're either in a stalemate. Or even worse, feel like you're losing because you can't manage to get a grip on them. In the technique in the video here, you'll find some useful tips for getting a grip on your same-sided opponent. Travis Stevens (a right-handed fighter) used this technique most often to get his right hand down the back of his opponents. See what he does in the video and be sure to follow our step-by-step as we break this technique down.
Here are a few key points to be sure you pay attention to when trying to drill and execute this technique. Be sure to watch the video all the way through first. Then break it down into smaller bite sized pieces.
Make sure you have a strong post. You don't want to allow your opponent to put any hand on the gi other than their same side (so right under righties arm or left under lefties arm)
Sidestep! Sidestepping will help you create a greater angle and make it much more difficult for your opponent to grab the gi. Space and control is key here.
When you throw your hand, try to make sure your bicep comes into contact with your opponent's face. This is a sneaky nuance but very important! You want to make sure you gather their head so you can pick it up! This will help you ultimately finish what you started.
You may run into the problem Travis Stevens constantly found. Sometimes your opponent won't take the grip under your arm because they know that the instant they do, you'll manage to ascertain that high grip. If you follow the step-by-step above, you're much less likely to run into this as an issue. But, as always, drilling it into oblivion will be extremely helpful in nailing it in competition.
This technique and working to gain that high grip on your opponent is pretty simple to learn. Even better, it is fairly risk-free as well. That's probably the most appealing part of it. Even if you end up missing your grip with your hand (right for righties, left for lefties) you're in a pretty good spot. You'll still manage to maintain a grip on your opponent's collar and your opponent will have no hands on your gi. If that isn't a recipe for success you may need to return to more basic judo!
Feel free to ask us any questions (about anything) and good luck!
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Let's be honest: going against a same sided opponent can overall be a real pain in the butt. Never is this more true than when getting the sleeve left vs. right side. That means if you are a righty and you're going against a lefty opponent, gaining access to their sleeve can seem like an impossible task. If your opponent is a little bit better than you are, this can be especially true! Superior opponents are not impossible to beat. You must come at them with everything you have. Brains and brawn need to combine in order to culminate in victory. Knowledge of every scenario, especially how to gain the sleeve, will put you in an advantageous position.
Judo players have run into this problem time and again. You get control inside and want to throw. And you could! If only it weren't for the frustration of not being able to get to the sleeve of your opponent. Sometimes if the grip is gained, it doesn't feel strong enough to finish the throw. Getting the sleeve left vs. right sided opponents can be a real head scratcher. It doesn't have to be!
Travis Stevens goes over the technique in this video, it can help you and save you from years of frustration. Since the leg grab has been removed from judo, the use of this technique to get the sleeve will help you be able to fully commit to the throw. When you fully commit here, you get a strong pull and off balance of your opponent. All of which will ultimately lead to a higher likelihood of executing the throw, scoring points, and becoming a champion.
Make sure your post starts on the bottom. It is possible to execute from the top, but overall much more dangerous. If you start from the bottom, you set up a good foundation for the rest of this technique.
Speed Kills. If you're not familiar with this saying, get familiar! Using speed here will be far and away superior to any other method. Strength won't save you, speed will. The speed will get you the reaction you want out of your opponent and set up the grip (and eventual throw) nicely.
Trap the elbow. If you grab the end of the sleeve, that can be helpful, but the odds of you finishing well decrease significantly. If you focus on overshooting the elbow, you will have a higher percentage of ending up at the end of the sleeve. Ultimately you want to trap the elbow, so do that, nothing else.
When caught going up against a talented same sided opponent, the technique in this video can save you. Getting the sleeve left vs. right handed opponents (thus, same sided) can be really frustrating if you don't know where to start. Luckily, this video exists, and it can really help you gain an advantage! An advantage can be the true game changer. Paired with some proper training and lifting to elevate your speed and power, it is a match made in heaven.
Execute the details. Drill over and over. Executing your training and this technique at full speed means you're on a really good track. Lastly, a good training partner will only help you get better. Find a great same-sided training partner for this technique and hit the mats!
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Once you're down on the mats, there's a lot that can go right, and a lot that can go wrong. Footwork to keep you upright is important, but once you get down on the ground, knowing the ins and outs of the Knee Cut to Pin is super important. Almost every Judo player has found themselves in this exact position. And, unfortunately, it is one of the most common places to see judo players lose a match. Totally trapped after getting your knee cut to pin. This is most common when your opponent is able to pin you, control the top half of your body and render you unable to get your leg free. Everyone has fallen victim to this at least once (if not many) times in their career.
There is nothing worse than being so close to winning and just falling short due to a silly mistake.
For this technique, it is important to keep your hips high. This will keep your knee angle wide and render your opponent unable to cut and pin them. The best way to combat this in a match is to drill moves like this over and over. Ultimately it will make winning easier for you, the more work you put in before you hit the competition mats. The knee cut to pin is all about pressure, making sure you get your partner to look away from you with your shoulder. Here are a few of the key points you need to focus on to get this to work:
Be sure to keep applying shoulder pressure so your opponent is looking away from you. This will help you with the next part.
Get your hips high and free your knee. If your partner's legs are locked over your knee (around your thigh) then you won't be able to do this move. If they have control of your knee, you're in deep trouble. You don't want that. So keep your hips high and make sure they don't have control of your knee.
Step out wide with your free leg. This will allow you to maintain some kind of control and will help you avoid being seriously trapped.
Bring your trapped leg's knee to your free ankle. This will begin your knee cut and is about to set you free.
Kick your leg free! You're back in control as soon as you free your leg. Get to it!
BJJ players and judo athletes can both benefit immensely from this technique. Being able to avoid the pin and free your leg is going to frustrate your opponent and keep you on top. The knee cut to pin is a necessary technique to know so you can avoid falling victim to it. By learning and knowing this position inside and out, you make sure that you remain on top. There are a lot of variables and components to the knee cut to pin and you need to make sure you have answers for them all.
Make sure you're constantly drilling this technique both offensively and defensively in practice. Keeping the hips high will be a game changer. You don't want to fall victim to the pin, so make sure you're proficient at freeing your knees at all times. Once you've mastered that, drill it over and over. This way you'll be sure to never be caught on the mats.
Lastly, make sure you're executing both on and off the mats. Strength matters here, make sure you take the time to educate yourself at FUJI Fit and leave nothing to chance. Put the work in, get the reward out.
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Opponents who keep a firm grip on you with stiff arms are everywhere in judo. The beginning judo player is sure to have encountered this. Stiff arms essentially keeps you at bay. The best bet you have in this fight is to gain an inside grip on your opponent's shoulder. This can then be used it to control them. Thereby methodically breaking down a stiff arm. This isn't quite like breaking grips but is a really helpful technique just the same. In this step by step video, Travis breaks down the technique into bite-size chunks. This will help deliver tangible goals to you.
Fighting is almost synonymous with tension and aggression. The truth is, one of the most important things for a fighter is to be relaxed. And it is extremely difficult to learn how to be relaxed and fighting all at once. The relaxation allows us to create elasticity. That elasticity is a "whip" feeling so many elite players are accustomed to creating. The reality is, it's a lot harder to do than they make it look! It's very difficult to be in a fight and simultaneously be relaxed at once. The whip comes from being relaxed up until the very moment they must tense at the end range and create an explosion. This is akin to a spring! This goes back to the stretch shortening cycle and is super common to find in strength training.
Ultimately, the fear of getting thrown is what causes judo players to tense up and become stiff. Stiffness will lead to an inability to create elasticity, explosiveness, and whip. When your opponent is giving you a good stiff arm, it's because they are nervous and locked into fear. Take it as a good sign, even if you can't score. The real problem lies when we are losing and our opponent starts to stiff-arm us. They do this because they don't have to really do anything in order to win other than hold on. This is where breaking down a stiff arm comes into play big time. We have to force the action and take some risk in order to score.
Breaking down a stiff arm isn't utilized as often as it could be, so definitely learn it and use it to your advantage. If you're exceptional at creating that whip, at being relaxed and aggressive all at once, this technique can yield some really excellent results for you. Below are some keep points that you can focus on when learning to execute breaking down a stiff arm.
Make sure you have two hands on your opponent. This not only helps you control them, but it gives you an opportunity to regain control if they counter your attempt to break them.
Try to make sure you have a steady tension on your opponent. Again this doesn't have to be a death grip, but that steady tension will lead you to create the whip that you want momentarily.
Circle toward your strong hand. Whichever is your dominant side, that's the direction you want your opponent going in. That way you can be extra certain you're maintaining control.
Attack the elbows. Don't pull them straight in but try and focus on widening their elbows. This opening will allow you to execute the rest of the break with relative ease.
Breaking down a stiff arm is a lot simpler than it may initially feel when you encounter a fighter keeping you at a literal arm's length. Securing that inside grip and driving your dominant hand up in order to circle your opponent is super hard to counter. That puts you in a really advantageous position, provided you've laid down the foundation and done everything in the right order. This can be super challenging in the moment, but very rewarding when you've regained some control and really re-entered the fight.
Another consideration is how well you can already create whip. If it's not great, it may be worthwhile to work on some strength and mobility, you just might surprise yourself! Keep in mind, being relaxed until you need to be explosive is going to give you the best chance at creating that elastic whip. Think about lengthening those muscle fibers with relaxation and then tensing abruptly and all at once, that's power! That's an explosion!
Give some thought to what we've presented here and see how well you put these words into play on the mats. Breaking down a stiff arm is a simple concept, and can be easy in execution if you're explosive and ready to fight!
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