#31 Travis Stevens


Travis Stevens started his martial arts journey by complete accident. Filling out a form at his local youth center Travis mistakenly checked the box for Judo instead of his first choice, football. That mistake eventually lead to Travis becoming BJJ Black Belt under John Danaher, 3 time Olympian, and 2016 Judo Olympic Silver medalist. But along the way other accidents would influence his journey, opening up new avenues for Travis to grow and become the champion he is today.


As a young Judoka Travis was winning local tournaments and had dreams of reaching the Olympics. But those dreams were put on hold for almost four years.


After suffering a severe knee injury as a child Travis was told any chance he had as an athlete was over. One night sitting with a throbbing leg, Travis put in an old video of himself doing Judo. On that old tape he saw how happy he was, and how happy his family was, and he decided that he needed to start doing Judo again.


Travis was determined to once again become a competitor and to reach the Olympics. Travis began a training routine that most pro athletes would be impressed with. He walked over two miles to and from school, refusing any rides. He sought out a former D1 Strength and Conditioning coach and they worked on a program specifically geared for Judo. Travis also trained all over his home state of Washington. Training multiple times a day, borrowing cars to secretly drive to Canada to compete, and sleeping on couches to be closer to his early morning workout locations.


This peacemeal training would get Travis to the 2008 Olympics where he lost to eventual Gold Medal winner Ole Bischof. In 2011 Travis and his teammates made a fundamental shift in their training. No longer training to just make it to the Olympics, they changed their mindset and began to train to win at the Olympics. This training brought Travis back to the Olympics in 2012 and in 2016 Travis won the Silver Medal.


While training for the 2012 Olympics Travis had another injury. A fracture in his foot that kept him from training Judo. Knowing he had to keep training in some way, Travis asked his coach, former Olympian Jimmy Pedro to call Renzo Gracie. Travis wanted to see if he could possibly train BJJ at Renzo's academy. Travis knew that BJJ would help him keep up his grip strength, keep down his weight, and keep his foot safe because as Travis put it,

"at least I can sit on my butt". Renzo told Jimmy to have Travis take a class taught by John Danaher and Travis's BJJ journey began.


Travis's journey to receiving his black belt came relatively swiftly. With his unparalleled work ethic and training regime, along with his previous experience Travis was awarded his black belt by John Danaher in November 2013.


Currently, Travis is the owner and operator of his own academy, Fuji Gym: Wakefield Martial Arts and Fitness. He also produces Judo and Jiu Jitsu instructional videos for the sites, BBJ Fanatics and Judo Fanatics. And most recently, along with Jimmy Pedro, has launched the online training platform, American Judo System.



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