I wanted to give everybody an update on how my recent training and competitions have gone. Since my last update, I have competed in the Bill Farrell International in Manhattan, New York, traveled to Finland for two weeks where I competed in both the Haavisto International and the Vaanta Cup, and competed in a dual meet against the Finland team after completing a four day training camp between the two competitions.
I started out at the Bill Farrell by losing my first match 2-3 against a Japanese wrestler. It was a disappointing loss, but I was able to bounce back by winning my next 6 matches to place 3rd in the tournament. After reflecting on that loss, I realized that I was too hyped up and I was trying to just walk through my opponent. I was trying to force techniques that weren’t open and I ended up burning myself out because of it. I decided to relax and not put too much pressure on myself for the rest of the competition. My goal was to just go out there and work on the stuff I’ve been working on the last couple of months. I definitely felt like this change of mentality drastically improved the way I competed after the loss and my results confirmed it. Following this change in mentality, I defeated every one of my opponents by either pin or technical fall with the exception of my second to last match which I won 4-0. I believe that the fear of losing can get in the way of how I perform if I let it, and I definitely feel that it played a part in my first match.
I competed in the Vaanta Cup in Finland two weeks after the Bill Farrell tournament. I ended up losing my first match 4-1 to a Polish wrestler. It was a single elimination tournament, so I was bumped out of the competition after the loss. It’s always frustrating getting knocked out so early in a tournament especially after traveling so far to compete. As much as I dislike losing, I think that losing can be a very valuable lesson if I am able to learn and reflect on my loss. Losing can expose my weaknesses which can show me what I need to work on. That is why I believe it is so important to compete. I don’t think anything can give me a more honest assessment on where I stand and what direction I need to take going forward than competition itself. It allows me to see what is working for me and what is not. What I saw from my loss is that I am really not where I need to be as far as my par terre is concerned. My loss came down to the simple fact that I got turned by my opponent and I was not able to turn him. I was moving well on my feet and I felt like my positioning was better than his, but I was not able to score when I got my opportunity on top, and I was not able to defend when he got his. This lesson was confirmed five days later in the dual meet and in the Haavisto International the day after.
The day after the Vaanta Cup, I had a five hour bus ride up north to Ilmajoki where I had a camp, dual meet, and the Haavisto International tournament. I had a great camp and was able to train with a number of top level European wrestlers. The day after camp, I had a great match against the number one wrestler from Finland. I won the match by technical fall in the second period. The day after the dual meet, I competed in the Haavisto International and finished 2nd place. I felt like I performed very well in both of these competitions on my feet. I was able to score take downs and force a number of passivity points on my opponents. I still had the same problem in par terre. I was not able to score on top and I was giving up points when I was down. This is something that I am going to put a lot of effort into moving forward. I am going to continue making an effort into improving on my feet but I’m definitely going to be putting a lot of effort everyday into fixing my par terre game.
All in all, it was a great trip and a great learning experience. On top of that, I was able to qualify myself for the Olympic Trials by being the top USA placer at the Haavisto International. I have one last competition before the year ends which is the US Nationals in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 18, 2015. I have definitely got a few things to work on, but I am very motivated by the progress I’ve made up to this point. Once again, I want to thank everybody who is following me. Your support means a lot!