The US national judo team put on perhaps their best performance ever when they won two gold medals at the World Judo Masters tournament at the end of last month in Guadalajara, Mexico. Kayla Harrison and Travis Stevens, following years of training with team coach Jimmy Pedro – a two-time Olympic medalist himself – both earned gold medals for their country.
Pedro’s structured mental and physical training system was vital to their success, according to the winning athletes.
“I could talk for hours about working and living with the Pedros,” Harrison said of Jimmy and his father, James ‘Big Jim’ Pedro Sr. “Their training methods are challenging, personalized and structured to get me ready for the biggest events so that I can compete with confidence.”
Harrison’s confident skill helped her win Olympic gold at the London Games in 2012, making her the first and only American judo athlete to earn Olympic gold. At the recent World Judo Masters event, she beat Brazilian Mayra Aguiar to earn gold in the 78kg division. She has trained with coach Jimmy Pedro his father at Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, Massachusetts, for several years.
The winning performances of Harrison and Stevens were crafted through an integrated training plan built by Pedro and his father. Their medal-producing system was born of Big Jim’s focus on grip fighting, ground-focused “ne-waza” judo drills and game-planning that lead Jimmy Pedro to two Olympic Bronze medals. The system has been refined through Jimmy Pedro’s proven technique of visualization and mental training. Delivered through years of coaching, this system allows athletes to peak at the right moment and to perform at their maximum potential.
“We have cultivated a relationship over the years,” said Stevens, who won gold in the 81kg division. “I truly believe that Big Jim and Jimmy have each athlete’s best interest at heart, and those who listen to their advice and work hard find the straightest line to success. I owe my win at World Judo Masters to these guys.”
“These two American judo athletes accomplished something that I may never witness again in my lifetime,” said Jimmy Pedro, US Olympic judo coach, two-time Olympic bronze medal winner and president of Fuji Mats. “Once you truly visualize winning, as Harrison and Stevens have, the body begins to follow that path.”
Harrison and Stevens will compete for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games, beginning August 6th, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Also, with an Olympic judo career that surpasses that of former UFC champ Ronda Rousey, Harrison is touted as a potential future MMA prospect.