March 21

How to Get A Judo Black Belt- An Interview With 2008 Judo Olympian Matt D Aquino-Creator of the Uni of Judo and Beyond Grappling


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For those that dont know Matt D Aquino was a top Australian Judo player who competed at the 2008 Olympics. However not only has he reached the heights of an Olympic Athlete he has also transformed the on line Judo world and created one of the largest free Judo training YouTube channels in Beyond Grappling with just under 14,00o subscribers. He has also created a range of free and paid for Judo training services that really help Judoka across the globe.

In this unique question and answer session we ask Matt a few questions about how his got into the digital world and also ask him about his latest product that will help people pass their latest Judo Grading. His product will lays out all the grading requirements and that will teach you how you can  get a  a Judo black belt or whatever grade you are taking next

Hi Matt,

You have been online for a few years now with a great website/blog as well as posting videos on YouTube. What got you started posting videos and writing a blog in the first place?


I have always had a passion for reading and writing. I love reading novels, autobiographies’ and books. As long as I can remember I always wanted to write a book. I also love watching movies and seeing how they are filmed.  When I watch movies I watch not only the storyline, but also the angles, the crossfades, the cinematography. I annoy the heck out of my wife because I am always pausing, rewinding and pointing out cool angles in the movie and it drives her up the wall.


I got into posting material online because I teach a lot of people Judo, both one on one and in small groups. I found that between training sessions my clients would forget some basics of Judo. Many of my clients are businessmen, personal trainers or security guards that cannot attend Judo at night training session. So they train with me 1 or 2 days a week.  So because they didn’t do a lot of Judo I would spend the first 10 minutes going over what we did the week before and that just wasted time.

Then I discovered YouTube. I decided to start posting up videos of how to do techniques and I encouraged my guys to watch a few of the videos 1 hour before our session to refresh their mind and get ready to build on what we did the week before.


The blog and business name is Beyond Grappling. How did you come up with this name and does it have any underlying meanings that we should know about?


Great question. As a matter of fact Beyond Grappling was a name invented by my older brother Malcolm. I was talking to my brother about business names for my fitness personal training company. I was saying that being fit, strong and healthy is more than just doing exercise 2 or 3 days a week. Fitness is diet, sleep, eating well, working on your personal growth etc and I wanted my business name to reflect that. My brother then said “Why don’t you call it Beyond Fitness?”

I instantly loved it. Once I started doing 1 on 1’s with Judo I changed the name to Beyond Grappling Fitness and conditioning.

I believe that what I teach my clients is more than just sport Judo – it is Beyond Grappling. I teach all forms of grappling from no gi takedowns, self defence, basic mma but I also teach the philosophical side of grappling – the self-improvement side. That is why I love the name Beyond Grappling.



You have written a number of eBooks and the first one you ever released was Workouts for Judo. What was your motivation for writing that book?

As well as writing and watching movies another passion of mine is working in strength and conditioning and working in the gym industry. The more I learnt about strength and conditioning the more I saw that all my judo mates were doing the completely wrong strength and conditioning programs for Judo. Stuff like huge 15km runs or lightweight Judoka 4kgs over their fighting weight doing a bodybuilding program and then wondering why they cannot make weight. I didn’t understand how there were judoka in Australia following the completely wrong style of program for the sport of Judo. So I wrote that ebook to educate the judo community of how to train conditioning for Judo.



After you missed out on the London 2012 Olympic games you announced your retirement from competition Judo. Do you miss training and competing. What do you do now?

It is funny when you stop competing people always ask you weather you are still training, and it is funny because even after I missed out on the Games I still went to training, still did my reps in uchikomi and still did Randori. I cannot avoid doing Judo, it is in my blood and a part of me. The only difference in me was my approach to training.

I feel like I am a way better Judoka since I have stopped competing. I am still trying to refine my current techniques but now there is no pressure if someone throws me or if I don’t throw anyone. I feel like I am now a martial artists where before when I was competing I was an athlete.

I do miss the feeling of competing, the nervousness and the excitement but I also feel like I shouldn’t compete if I am not willing to do the effort and sacrifice needed to compete, so I am content with not competing.

These days I still do Judo and BJJ but also do a lot of kettlebells and Long boarding. I have always wanted to Long board but never did in case I got injured but now I longboard about 45 minutes a day and do kettlebells a few days a week.


I also do a lot of coaching both online and offline. I am the Oceania Education director working with the International Judo federation where I assist in educating the pacific islands nations with high performance training and competition techniques.

Online I do a lot of coaching and competition analysis via my online membership site University of Judo.

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This week you released some Judo syllabus DVD’s. Why did you release them and to any readers what is actually in the DVD’s.

My syllabus DVD’s are by far my biggest (and most difficult) project to date – they took forever to create. Over the past few years I have received literally hundreds of emails from people asking me to help them with their next belt grading. Each syllabus is slightly different all over the world so it became hard to help people because there are no good resources online to point people towards.


Last year I downloaded the current Australian (JFA), American (USJF) and British (BJA) syllabus systems, paid an Uke, set up my camera and filmed each and every technique from each syllabus system. This was pretty tough because each system has specific techniques you need. For example in the BJA syllabus you need to demonstrate how to do an ippon seoi nage transitioning into Kami shiho gatame and so on.

The DVD’s in total have taken me months to film, edit, publish and package.

The best way to pass your grading is to turn up to training and then use my syllabus DVD’s as a way to improve your knowledge and understanding of the throws. That way when you go to training you will have a better understanding of what you need to do when practicing your techniques.



Thanks so much for your time Matt. Any hints into what other projects you have in the mix.

No worries Andrew it was a pleasure. I always have a few projects in the mix but ill let you know that  I’m writing another book, but the topic and content is a secret. All I’ll say is that it’s free. J



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How to get a judo black belt

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