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About Us

Finding Inspiration in Every Takedown

     Welcome to Art of Takedowns Judo Academy, a premiere martial arts center founded by a highly experienced Judo instructor and former Judo and wrestling champion. Our founder has trained and instructed at various martial arts schools, including Team Quest MMA in Encinitas and Oceanside, and Higley Fit Martial Arts in Carlsbad, San Shi Judo Club in Vista, as well as various BJJ academies throughout San Diego. In addition, he has served as a professional cornerman for MMA and Muay Thai competitors, gaining valuable insight into the sport. At our academy, we offer personal training and adaptive lessons for individuals of all skill levels and abilities, with a focus on traditional Judo techniques and modern applications of the sport. Our programs also include cutting-edge no-gi Judo for MMA & BJJ instruction. We are proud to offer an 800 sq ft state-of-the-art Judo mat that features a subfloor built specifically for Judo training. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete, we have a program that will help you achieve your goals. Thank you for considering Art of Takedowns Judo Academy for your training needs.

Meet The Sensei

     Meet Johnny Leon Guerrero, a San Diego native, a true sensei of judo, and a dedicated husband and father. Johnny's passion for the sport began at the age of 4, when he was introduced to judo by his parents. From that day forward, he has dedicated his life to mastering the art of Judo, training rigorously and competing at a national level. Despite facing injuries along the way, Johnny has persevered and become a highly accomplished Judoka, earning a 4th-degree black belt in the United States Judo Federation (USJF) and gaining extensive wrestling experience. He has also competed and won in various national competitions. However, Johnny's greatest passion lies in coaching and passing on his knowledge and skills to the next generation. As a coach, his record of accomplishments is truly impressive. He has trained multiple national and international level judokas, and is widely recognized as one of the best coaches in the region. His coaching skills, knowledge of the sport, and ability to inspire and guide his students have earned him numerous awards and recognition from the judo community.


Sensei Johnny Leon Guerrero
4th Degree Black Belt, USJF/USA Judo
USA Judo Certified Coach
USJF National  Certified Coach
USJF Certified Teacher
National Champion 
State Champion

Art of Takedowns' Coaching Philosophy

     Art of Takedowns' coaching philosophy is centered around developing athletes who not only excel in their physical abilities but also in their mental and emotional wellbeing. I believe that winning is important, but it is not the sole measure of success. Instead, I prioritize the pursuit of excellence in competition, which involves setting high standards for technical proficiency, sportsmanship, and overall performance.

     While I believe that competition is an important aspect of Judo, I recognize that my students participate in Judo for a variety of reasons. Some are seeking to improve their physical fitness, while others are interested in learning self-defense skills or exploring a new sport. Whatever their motivations may be, I am committed to helping my students achieve their individual goals and supporting them throughout their journey.

     In addition to physical fitness and competition, I also recognize the importance of personal development in Judo. I believe that participation in sports can have a transformative impact on individuals, helping them to build self-confidence, resilience, and a sense of purpose. As a coach, I am dedicated to providing my students with opportunities to develop not only as athletes but also as individuals. This includes fostering a culture of respect, accountability, and teamwork, and encouraging my students to take ownership of their own growth and development.

     Ultimately, my coaching philosophy is rooted in a belief that physical activity and sport can be a powerful force for positive change in individuals and communities. I am committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and supportive environment for my students, and to helping them achieve their full potential both on and off the tatami. Whether my students are seeking to win competitions or simply to improve their physical and mental wellbeing, I am dedicated to supporting them every step of the way.

Johnny L. Guerrero

Owner & Operator

Art of Takedowns


Ruben M.

- 2022 USA Judo National Champion.
- 2016 USA Judo National Champion Ru
- 1st Degree Blackbelt.

     "Art of Takedowns Judo Academy is the best. The coaches are knowledgeable and passionate, and the community among students is great. It has helped me achieve a high level of proficiency and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their judo skills."

Alex J.

- Judo Beginner
White Belt.

     "Sensei Johnny is steadily turning me into a Beast! I was very apprehensive to do any kind of martial arts especially something as physical as judo, But he was very patient and gave me great instructions. I think I may have found a new Home."

Mike P.

- 2017 Bronze medalist, USA Judo Sr. National Championships .
- Ikkyu - Brown Belt

     "The Art of Takedowns Judo Academy has completely transformed my approach to the sport. The level of instruction and dedication from the coaches is unparalleled, and the community of students is incredibly supportive. I've not only improved my physical skills, but also my mental toughness and discipline. I highly recommend this academy to anyone looking to take their judo to the next level."

Ross MacBaisey

- 2x Olympic Alternate
- 7x National C
- 4th degree black belt
- multiple Team USA member.

     "Sensei Johnny is one of the top judo coaches in San Diego. Whether you’re 5 or 55 yrs old, a wrestler or BJJ player looking to step up your game, or a weekend warrior looking for a fun  workout, Art Of Takedowns is the place to be."

Beanie G.

- Martial Artist.

     "Art of Takedowns Judo Academy is a great choice for older students with injuries. The coaches are knowledgeable and passionate, and they work with me to make sure I can participate safely and comfortably. The sense of community among students is also great. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve their judo skills."

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