Judo Extraordinaire: Jimmy Pedro
The United States has been fortunate to have some truly great Judoka’s compete under their banner, but one of the best, a true Judoka extraordinaire is the one and only, Jimmy Pedro. Jimmy Pedro was one of the greatest Judo athletes of all time. He has won and medaled in tournaments here in the US, over in Europe (specifically in Germany and Hungary) and in Japan. His biggest accomplishments in Judo would have to be his gold medal at the 1999 World Championships in Birmingham and his two bronze medals at the 1996 and 2004 Olympic Games.
While Jimmy has a great all around Judo game, he was known for his cunning and dangerous newaza attacks, otherwise known as the ground grappling portion of Judo. Out of all his ground submissions, chokes and pins, he was particularly effective with the juji gatame, otherwise known in BJJ as the armbar. He won many matches with the technique. But his ground attack prowess went far beyond just arm locks. The US Judoka was able to employ a range of different newaza techniques to finish matches.
In the video below, Jimmy Pedro took on French Judoka, Daniel Fernandes at the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece. While Daniel was only looking for the ippon (finishing) throw, Jimmy was looking to drag the match to the ground and engage the Frenchman there. After some serious grip fighting and throw attempts, Jimmy was able to get on top, in the side control position and was able to finish his opponent with what looked like a possible choke or a modified choke/pin. Jimmy was great at showing that Judo did not only have great throwing techniques, but great finishing ground techniques as well.
Today, Jimmy Pedro is retired from competition. He is a rokudan, otherwise known as a sixth degree black belt in Judo. Even though he is retired, he has not sat idly by. He operates his own school, Pedro’s Judo Center in Massachusetts, and also works with the US National Judo team. He also travels the world, hosting seminars and clinics, working with those who want to improve their overall grappling game. He is a true martial artist, and Judo master.
Jimmy has also worked on and made a couple DVD’s. One of the best DVD sets he has ever made was with another great US Judo competitor, Travis Stevens. Together they made a four DVD set, called The Judo Academy. The Judo Academy set goes over effective takedowns and newaza fighting techniques. BJJ Fanatics has this awesome set for only $77!