American Judo System Philosophy

The American Judo System is a systematic and replicable way of learning, teaching, and developing judoka with specific emphasis on the following strategies:


Taking a professional approach to all aspects of one’s career; including goal setting, judo training and development, strength & conditioning, nutrition, mental preparation, and giving 100% commitment with a positive attitude.

Technical Focus 

Learning specific techniques individualized for each athlete and focusing on perfecting only those techniques helps athletes progress faster and provides a more comprehensive understanding of their judo.

Newaza Emphasis 

There are 3 ways to win in judo in newaza: pins, strangles and armlocks. The rest of the world does not spend much time in newaza so by focusing on the newaza game our athletes will have a competitive advantage. Additionally, our systematic way of learning newaza sequentially and through positional skills and drills helps athletes develop these techniques faster and gain a deeper understanding of the technique, giving them a higher probability of winning in newaza.

Transition Game 

The key to catching your opponent in newaza is by training your body to hunt for the opportunity in the transition from tachi waza to newaza, but, this is not something you can just think about - it must be drilled and trained all the time in training and randori sessions.

Gripping Strategy 

Understanding gripping strategy and terminology is vital to an athlete's success in this system and to winning at the international level. You will hear Jimmy Pedro and Travis Stevens always reference the gripping the system they use. 

The Mental Side of Judo 

The mental side of the game is a huge component of the American Judo System. Athletes must learn to set realistic goals, use the power of visualization to see themselves achieving their goals, and learn to develop a positive mindset and positive self-talk to help them achieve success. 

Strength & Conditioning 

A critical success factor to winning at the international level is to be a strong, well-conditioned athlete. Our focus is on increasing our athletes’ strength and power so they can compete with the rest of the world, but also make sure our athletes are the best trained so we can beat our opponents by out-conditioning them.

Development vs Winning Medals 

Winning breeds winning.

The American Judo System believes that it is crucial to proper judo development that athletes compete at the right level so they have a chance to win and learn through competition. Allowing athletes to participate in events that are above their level where they do not have a chance to win results in losing confidence and demotivates the athlete to train hard. Athletes should not worry so much about winning medals today, but gaining valuable competition experience by competing in a lot of matches at their level, working on their techniques, and developing a habit of winning matches. This will eventually lead to podium finishes.

Proper Development 

The American Judo System philosophy is focused on development and not winning medals today. It is vitally important for athletes to compete at the proper level so they can develop properly and either win, or learn from their mistakes. Competing in events where the athlete has no chance to win breaks an athlete’s confidence and can demotivate them to train hard any longer.  Judo is about confidence, and confidence is gained by winning, or almost winning so that there is motivation to do a little more to get to the next level. This is proper development.

Mental Toughness 

The American Judo System believes that mental toughness and proper mental preparation is the most important key to success. American Judo System athletes will develop mental toughness through rigorous training sessions and become mentally prepared by training their minds through the skills of imagery, visualization, positive self talk, proper mindset, and breathing techniques.