Wrestling is a tough sport. But there are ways to get better at it. Here are a few.

Come to Practice with a Purpose

Too often wrestlers go to practice with no thoughts on what they can improve on. This is a terrible waste of time unless your completely new to the sport. You should go to each and every practice with a goal in mind, such as learn a new move on top, perfect your neutral stance, or increase your stamina. These should be your short term goal.

I would keep a notebook to write these goals down everyday. On the first page you should write a long term goal related to wrestling. It may seem useless as you do it, but when your old, fat, and gray, and you look at all the work you did, you’ll be proud to say, “I did all this!” You can also keep track of your weight in this book. I also suggest after every match, you write the outcome of it, what you did well and what you need to work on.

Eat Smart and Stay Healthy

Stay away from sweets and saturated fats! You should have a written schedule for foods. If you need to watch your weight, I recommend you eat 3 egg whites for breakfast, a turkey sandwich without cheese for lunch, and depending on how much over you are, a piece of chicken, and vegetables. Do whatever you can to avoid cutting weight on the day of a wrestling event, you do not want to be exhausted before you step on the mat. Try to be within a pound of the weight your wrestling at the night before.

If you’re not watching your weight, then I recommend you eat egg whites on whole wheat toast, oatmeal, or pancakes. For lunch you should have some pasta, a turkey/chicken sandwich, a protein bar, like a cliff bar. I recommend you stay away from power bars because there loaded with sugar, and if you feel a need to have a power bar, have it 30 minutes prior to a match. If you have a big tournament coming up, load up on carbs the day before, eat things such as pasta for dinner. During a tournament, I recommend you stay away from carbs, because they can have a sleepy effect on you, which is why you may find yourself yawning and relaxed during a tournament. Proteins are your friend during tournaments. If you feel a sickness coming up, take an airborne, and relax. Water is your best friend as a wrestler. Most people walk around dehydrated, and its the worse thing to be as a wrestler. Water can flush sickness out of your body, and it keeps you healthy. If you follow these steps, you improve your chances fighting off sickness, and staying as fit as possible.

Working Out

The weight room is such an underused resource by wrestlers, especially during the season. As the season goes on, wrestlers lose about 15% of there strength out of fatigue. But if you lift during the season, you can gain 5% more strength. That means a 20% swing in your favor, so if you lost to someone at the beginning of a season because they were stronger, you can increase your chances of winning now because your stronger!

Physical and Mental Preparation

You should always give yourself at least half an hour to warm up. Get up and running, make sure you break a sweat before your match, and do your stretches! The last thing you want is an injury because you didn’t stretch, and you don’t want to get loose during the match, you came to wrestle during the match, not warm-up! You should also give yourself 5 minutes to go into your own world. You should fill your mind with positive thoughts. Repeat to yourself the following. I am unbeatable. I am a winner. I am a champion. Envision a wrestler you want to be like performing at top notch intensity, and imagine yourself doing the same. Your mind tells you that your tired, so if you break a few mental barriers, you can perform at a higher intensity. remember, the mind tires before the body.

Before, During, and After the Match

Before your match, I recommend you use a skin protectant, such as Kenshield, to protect yourself to anything your opponent might be carrying. These days, you can never be too careful, with staph and merca going around. I know plenty of wrestling programs that got shut down because the team didn’t take care of there skin. During your match you should have at least two water bottles close-by. You should also look at your coach whenever you aren’t wrestling. After your match, you should wipe your skin off with an anti-bacterial wipes. If possible, you should also take a shower, and use a soap like Selsun Blue.

Wrestling is one of the few sports that don’t end when you get off the mat, it takes dedication, hard work, and persistence to become a champion in this great sport. And remember, if you don’t win at first, it doesn’t matter. In wrestling, it’s not how you start, but it’s how you finish.

The truth is, not everybody has the body build, personality, or stamina (physical and mental) to be a professional wrestler.

Luckily, there are many ways someone who loves pro wrestling can get involved in the business without being a full-time wrestler. Most of these jobs require the same level of hard work and devotion that the wrestlers have.

Let’s take a look.

1. Referee

This job is not as easy as it looks. First, you have to learn to get bounced around the ring like a full-time wrestler. You need to be demonstrative, so even the people in the back row can understand your instructions to the wrestlers. You also need to be discreet enough to give cues to the wrestlers without the audience hearing you. Finally, you have to be ready for anything. I have refereed a grand total of three matches in my life. During that time, I was punched in the face and thrown out of the ring twice. None of that was “supposed to happen.”

2. Manager

Like a referee, you have to be willing to take a small amount of punishment in the ring. You have to be a good talker, singing the praises of your wrestler without calling too much attention to yourself. You have to interact with the audience, doing whatever you can to get them emotionally invested in the match. One word of caution: it’s very difficult for a guy to make it big as a manager these days, as the major leagues are more apt to use curvaceous women in that role.

3. Promoter

If you’re the promoter, you get to be the boss – but you also have the hardest job. The promoter has a million things to do to pull off a successful wrestling show. The promoter needs to book a building, a ring, a DJ, a light person, announcers, referees and wrestlers.

He also needs to get the word out to the public that the show is taking place and provide a lineup that will entice fans to plunk down their money. On the day of the show, the promoter has to field questions from everyone during the countdown to the opening bell. It’s not easy to get all of this done while turning a profit. The good news is, you will be the most satisfied customer, since the entire show will be just the way you like it.

4. Booker

This is the guy who decides who will wrestle whom, the time of the match and who will win. Often, the promoter will do this job as well. Other times, he will have a trusted lieutenant handle the booking tasks. In addition to booking a good show for that night, the booker need to develop long-term feuds and plan who will win the championships and when. The booker often has to deal with last-minute cancellations, as well as disgruntled wrestlers who don’t feel like losing. It’s hard for the booker to be everybody’s friend.

5. Event staff

If you really want to be around a wrestling show, you should be able to find a way to help. Some of the tasks that need to be done include posting flyers for the show, writing the program, and selling tickets, concessions, merchandise and programs.

6. Camera crew

I am good friends with a family of wrestling maniacs who got involved by filming and editing the shows for different wrestling promotions. I know this isn’t something everyone can do, but it illustrates how you can be creative in getting yourself a shot on a wrestling show.

7. Announcer

Anyone can sit behind a mic and talk about a wrestling match. However, it takes hard work to be a really good announcer. I used to sit in the arenas with my little tape recorder and announce the matches. It took a few years before I was good enough to do it on a real show. When I got the chance, I was able to stick with several promotions because I worked out a lot of mistakes on those tapes. Some things to remember are …

  1. Learn all of the wrestlers and all of the moves.
  2. Explain to the fans why these two guys are fighting.
  3. Cultivate your own style. Don’t be a cheap knockoff of a famous announcer.
  4. Show your love of wrestling and have fun!
Sumo wrestler in Japan

This martial art form is known to have originated in Japan hundreds of years ago. It holds, to this day a great religious importance for the Japanese. Certain rituals like using salt to purify are still followed by Sumo Wrestlers. These rituals are part of the Shinto religion.

This type of wrestling is known to have influenced other martial art forms in the neighboring countries like Chinese Shuai Jiao, Korean Ssireum and Mongoliam wrestling.

Back in the 8th century when Sumo, or Sumai as it was known then was practiced, there were less number of rules involved. The men would fight till death. Hence a wrestler losing in a Sumo match is called a Shini-tai meaning a dead body.

In the present day too, some shrines perform ritual dance when a man wrestles with a Shinto God or Kami. This is known as Sumai party or Sechie. In olden times this was held in the imperial court. It was mandatory for every province to send their representative to attend the ceremony. In those times, Sumo formed a part of training for warriors, who were known as Samurai. When Sumo wrestling first began, the Rikishi or wrestler had to throw the opponent to win.

Rule Changes for Modern Sumo

Later the rules were improvised to pushing the contestant out of the ring. The concept of Dohyo or ring was introduced in the 16th century. The Dohyo is filled with sand and clay and after every tournament, the sand is distributed to fans as souvenirs.

It is the Yobidashi’s responsibility to ready the ring for matches and training stables. If both wrestlers touch ground at same time, the contestant in upper position becomes the winner. If a wrestler uses illegal methods or Kinjite or his belt gives way, he is declared a loser.

Rikishis of olden times wore loin clothes as against the Mawashi, a kind of firm clothing worn by contemporary wrestlers. The rules and regulations for Sumo wrestling as a game were developed during Edo period and are pretty much followed till date.

The matches last for few minutes only as it is easy for the stronger contestant to throw or push the opponent outside the ring. A huge body mass over good wrestling skills is a great advantage. Wrestlers grow long hair and tie them up in a topknot, similar to the Edo Period Samurais.

Sumo Wrestling Attire

Rikishis dress according to their ranks and wear geta, wooden sandals as footwear. Trainees help with the responsibilities in the Sekitori and have to wake up early. Rikishis do not have breakfast but splurge on a Chakonabe, a large lunch consisting of different kinds of fish, meat, vegetables and rice. They consume excessive amounts of food and beer to gain high weights. This practice is known to have ill-effects on health, especially after the Sumo stops training, as discovered recently. The lifespan of a sumo is cut short by 10 years shorter when compared to ordinary Japanese. They often suffer from heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes etc. Keeping this in mind, weight standards of a Sumo Wrestler have been decreased enormously in recent times.

Retired sumo wrestlers called Oyakata have developed the Japan Sumo Association which holds tournaments and trains wrestlers. Wrestlers are ranked, promoted or demoted depending on their performance in the Grand Tournaments. The 6 divisions in decreasing order are Makuuchi, Juryo, Makushita, Sandanme, Jonidan and Jonokuchi. Each year 6 Honbasho (Grand Sumo tournaments) are held, 3 at Ryogoku Kokugikan – The Sumo Hall, 1 each in Osaka, Fukuoka and Nagoya. Foreigners too have participated in these tournaments, with the first one being Takamiyama from Hawaii.