Travis Stevens Talks Newaza Training & What Is Next in His Judo Career

Travis Stevens Talks Newaza Training & What Is Next in His Judo Career


The USA’s Travis Stevens, probably the hardest working judoka around, has taken home a silver medal in the 2016 Olympic games.

Travis Stevens when asked why he focuses on the Ground Game (Newaza), he answered:

“Because nobody else is doing it.”

He showed great Newaza and was able to win 3 matches with ground techniques: 2 by pins and 1 by bow and arrow choke.

In his third Olympics, Travis Stevens achieved what no other male American did, get a silver. The fifth seeded Stevens, won his first three matches during the preliminary rounds of the men’s 81kg tournament. During two of these matches the Judo and BJJ black belt was able to defeat his opponents with his superior ground game: Uzbekistan’s Shaxzod Sobirov and Bulgaria’s Ivaylo Ivanov.

In the semi final Stevens faced world No. 1 Avtandil Tchrikishvili of Georgia and choked him out by bow and arrow.

In the finals, he faced Khasan Khalmurzaev of Russia who threw Stevens with uchimata to score ippon.
The U.S. has never won a gold medal in men’s judo. The last American male to win a medal was Jimmy Pedro, the current USA Judo coach, at the 2004 Games.



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Travis in an interview in french with lespritdujudo.com, tall eked why he chose to focus on his newaza and also what is next in his Judo career:

“In Rio you gave a lesson to the world with your Newaza skills. How do you explain such a difference of level with the other players?
I don’t see it as if I have good Newaza. It’s just neglect by the rest of the world. A lot of top players at camps choose not to do Newaza. I’m not even sure if they train it at home or just use it for a warm up. Kayla and I both made the Olympic final using almost entirely ground work.

What are your plans now? September ’16 looks a little bit funnier than September ’15, right? And I guess you’re not weighing exactly 81kg right now [Smile]…
Considering I’m not in a hospital bed this year it’s going a lot better [He smiles]. And yes, I currently haven’t stepped on a scale so I have no idea how much I weigh. All though with that being said I know I couldn’t make weight for 81 [He laughs]. Since the Games have ended I have been on the road seeing family. I’ve spent a week in Toronto visiting Kelita’s family and a week in Seattle visiting mine. Then we both go on vacation to a beach in North Carolina. Then it’s back to training life in October. I’ve also finished setting up my new school Fuji Gym. I’m also in negociations with USA Judo to figure out my future if i’m going to continue competing and training. Right now I don’t have any competitions for USA Judo for the rest of the year. But I am competing just for TSV Abensberg at the Golden League Final in December. I’m really looking forward to it as well. ”


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