27 January, 2013

More success in the wrestling

So yesterday. . . after leaving at 6.30, it only took about 40 minutes in good traffic to get to Yokota Airbase. Then we sat around till after 10a.m. before we saw any action. But once the action got going, it really did and we had little time to twiddle our thumbs (or cross-stitch, as it turns out).

A good portion of the time before the middle school wrestling meets includes wrangling between the coaches with the schedule of the day. The wrestlers weigh-in wearing their wrestling outfit, called a "singlet". Once all have done that they are listed out from lightest to heaviest and the coaches then decide who will wrestle who (or is that 'whom'?).

The basic principle is that wrestlers should go against others of approximately the same weight. In high school and beyond this is done by set weight brackets. This middle school competition between international schools, though, is more about giving the students wrestling experience, and hopefully some success. They grouped them into brackets of five and it became a round robin competition where each in the group wrestled everyone else once.

Our son went up against almost the same guys as last week. Each match is scored according to what kind of victory you won: eg by a pin, or by points (but it gets more complicated than that). It turned out that our son's last bout was the decider for first place in their bracket. And it was a corker of a bout!
Our son is the one in all blue. This was nearly a pin.

These two had wrestled each other on the preceding two Saturdays and had alternated in winning first place in this bracket. (I'll call him JK for simplicity.) JK was the only wrestler who'd beaten our son this year. However our son pinned him the week before, so you can imagine the tension was high.

It had been high all week, actually, as we knew the chances of them facing each other again was high. JK had also been wondering what he could do to defeat our son! I heard him and a team mate discussing our son while he wrestled someone else yesterday in an earlier bout. JK was definitely puzzled as to how he could beat our son.

The bout went almost the full three two-minute periods. Each scoring many points off the other, a good comparison would be a high scoring cricket match or soccer game—there was heaps of action (for those who know, 31 points were scored in the bout). However our son finished JK off in the end with a "technical fall" meaning our son's score was 6 points higher than his opponents during the last period.

Our son talking to two wrestlers from
his bracket, the guy in the grey shirt being
the wrestler who beat him last week.
Watching was exhausting and exhilarating. I came away feeling like I'd had a too many shots of coffee—my heart raced.

I'm amazed at his strength. He's not a big guy, but wow he's strong! And I'm amazed at his intuitive feel for the sport. He often seems to just know what to do at the right time. Yesterday he also was more assertive and faster to initiate action from the starting position, which has been a weak point in the past. It's exciting to see him win, but also to see him improving week by week.

And, as per last year, it's been exciting to see the other wrestlers in the CAJ team improve. Both of them are first-timers, yet we've seen significant improvement over the last three Saturdays. It was fun to cheer them to victories yesterday (my throat was a bit scratchy last night).

We also saw an interesting "extra-curricultar" development yesterday. There was more mixing between teams. At lunch time we were very interested to see our son talking to a couple of the other guys in his bracket, including JK. They moved on from talking to actually practising a few moves on the mats.

I was surprised, wondering if this was good, but in the end it was just fine. Interacting with these guys took a lot of the mystery out of his opponents. They came back to being other guys who didn't know everything there was to know, who also struggled to know how to best approach a difficult wrestling opponent (especially when they asked him for wrestling advice!). You can see that they respected each other. We've heard there is quite a camaraderie develops within wrestling circles, it was good to see it beginning even in middle school. I can't imagine that happening so easily between basketball or soccer team members.

Alas, the season is short. Next Saturday is the final middle school meet (the high schoolers have a longer season). We'll see what they manage to pull out of the bag next week. Actually, I can't wait to see them wrestle again.


April said...

It's "whom" in that case. :)

A tip I learned that sometimes helps is to replace "who" with "he," and "whom" with "him." Whichever makes more sense is probably the one you should use (it's not a perfect rule, use your judgement when applying).

So: ...the coaches then decide he will wrestle him.

Tells you it should be: ...the coaches then decide who will wrestle whom.

Make sense?

Wendy said...

Thanks April. You're such a fount of knowledge, it is a privilege to be working with you.