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How Training with a Judo Olympian Changed My Mindset


Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Over the past week, I had the chance to train for 7 hours with 2x Olympian and top US Judo competitor at 73 kg, Nick Delpopolo. It was an eye opener for me (and several Judoka in attendance), to observe an Olympian’s focus and discipline towards training. It has made an immediate impact on my approach to Judo and forced me to re-think how efficient I am with my training.

Nick’s Strategies and Tips

1.) Nick’s approach to Judo is extremely similar to Wrestling (I belong to an adult Wrestling club where I practice a mediocre version of Freestyle Wrestling). He advises to always be moving, either setting up a throw, taking a fall, or executing a throw. 2.) Nick is against “static Uchikomi”. He preached the importance of “realistic training”, which means adding movement whenever possible to all training. He said you should be able to execute a throw moving in all directions. 3) For us older and busy guys with long work hours and responsibilities, if you have limited time on the mats, focus on setting up throws with movement and grip fighting. 4.) Everytime Nick touches the mats to train, the goal is to complete at least 200 uchikomi and throws mixed in. Again, heavy drilling is similar to wrestling. I train almost everyday and since I’ve implemented these principles (and other advice, of course), I’ve seen a huge difference in improvement in 2 throws (Osoto Gari and Tai Otoshi). I’m also executing my throws step-by-step which is helping my details a whole lot. For those of you who have trained with high level Judoka, what tips and details have they shared with you, that have taken your game to new heights -or- shifted your entire perspective on techniques you’ve done 10,000 times?