Ricardo Liborio On Judo At The Rio Olympics


Professor Ricardo Liborio of American Top Team was recently watching judo at this year’s Olympics in Rio. The Jiu-Jitsu Times recently caught up with the top-level BJJ and MMA coach to hear his observations and insights on judo.

Ricardo Liborio: Thank you for having me again. It’s always a pleasure and a honor.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: The honor is all ours. Can you tell us about what you observed in the judo matches between the best athletes in the world?

Ricardo Liborio: The most interesting point that I observed it’s that in the vast majority of the weight categories, any of the top six competitors can be the champion. It’s almost impossible to predict who will be the Olympic gold medalist. Of course with very exceptions. A bad day of sleep can make the difference.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Which countries brought strong teams to the Olympics?

Ricardo Liborio: Japan, Russia, France, Brazil, Italy, USA.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Which competitors showed great performances?

Ricardo Liborio: The two standouts for me were the Frenchman, Teddy Riner and the Japanese, Shohei Ono.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What did you observe in the newaza (ground fighting) in the matches? Which attacks and submissions did you see used?

Ricardo Liborio: Armbars and back chokes . . . for sure the most used ones.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What were the most successful throwing techniques?

Ricardo Liborio: It’s really hard to say that without watching all the matches, but I saw tons of seoinages and uchi – matas.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How does the stand-up grappling in judo differ from what we see at the Mundials of jiu-jitsu?

Ricardo Liborio: Nowadays, we rarely see a takedown in jiu jitsu, but we can see the influence of wrestling in our takedowns, too. You’re not allowed to touch the legs in judo.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What can the BJJ guys learn from watching the judo Olympians?

Ricardo Liborio: I learn that there’s a lots of changes to be made to fit the Olympic format. Be appealing to the television spectator will be the number one priority.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What are the biggest differences between judo and BJJ strategy?

Ricardo Liborio: You are not allowed to hold back in the competition. Stalling is easily punished.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What was the most interesting or exciting thing you saw in the matches?

Ricardo Liborio: The whole event it’s unbelievable! From the competitors, coaches, people at the arena and people at home. It was made for everyone to have a unbelievable experience.


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