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How Travis Stevens used Jiu Jitsu to take Silver at the Olympics

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A crossover star has achieved one of the highest accolades in the world. For anyone who doesn’t already know, Travis Stevens, a BJJ black belt, has joined the ranks of the very few American Judokas who have taken silver in Olympic Judo. This is relevant to the jiu jitsu community because he did it using techniques and tactics that are more frequently used in jiu jitsu, he used his skills in both martial arts to reach his remarkable accomplishment.

BJJ is basically just Judo. The techniques legal in Judo competition are generally also legal in jiu jitsu competition, the key distinction is in competition rule sets. In judo there are 4 ways to win: points, pin, ippon (a perfect throw resulting in both shoulders hitting the mat simultaneously) or submission. In jiu jitsu, 3 of those 4 are relevant, so if someone gets really good at scoring points, controlling their opponent and of course submissions, their chances of winning go up.

Travis Stevens is a rare Judoka who has reached the top tier of Judo but still pursues the grind of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If one watches his matches from the 2016 Olympics, he won using slick jiu jitsu in the context of a Judo match, a brilliant display. Even in the match he lost, he still displayed brilliant jiu jitsu.

Here’s a short highlight of some of his use of jiu jitsu in the Olympics:

If you want to see the habits of a crossover star, watch Travis Stevens closely. He has a special combination of skills relevant to Judo and a technical mastery over its close cousin, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. If you are interested in learning some of the techniques that Travis has made good use of, check out these products offered by BJJ Fanatics.

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