Dream big don't think small. How big are your goals?
It was an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to work with Henry Cejudo this week on MMA skills. Henry just competed in the UFC a couple weeks ago and came away with a win against the #3 ranked fighter in the world. Henry should be next in line for UFC Title fight.
In between fights is when you have the opportunity to grow and build new skills, not when you are trying to peak for a performance. Henry does not have a fight scheduled yet so now is a time to add new skills, to help reach his goal in MMA of being the best martial artist in the world. Henry’s next fight should be against DJ Johnson one of the most dominant MMA fighters in the world.
When an athlete takes on a new sport there are many new skills one must train and develop. Henry wants to be the best in all areas of the sport of MMA. I have been recognized as an expert in the art of Dirty Boxing, which is a hybrid of Greco-Roman wrestling, Muay-thia and boxing. Henry is and will continue to improve his skills in this area of the sport. With a strong base in wrestling a work ethic that it takes to be an Olympic champion and his mental toughness there is no doubt in my mind that Henry will become an expert in this area of the sport and dominate his opponents when they are clinch fighting.
Henry Cejudo was an Olympic champion at age 21 when a lot of the best wrestlers in the US were concentrating on wrestling a style that no one else in the world competes in. Henry recognized that NCAA college wrestling is the equivalent to a kid’s tournament, and choose to focus on the international style of wrestling, in hope of becoming the Olympic champion.
There is no doubt that wrestling is one of the toughest sports in the world but the college system in America is just an age group competition that Americans compete in while the rest of the worlds best wrestlers are focusing on Olympics and world championship.
Yes there are some damn good college wrestlers in the US and I want them to come over to the Greco style of wrestling. It’s worked here in America, we take the cream of the crop wrestlers from NCCAA and develop the skills and we can win world and Olympic medals, but is this the best most efficient path? It’s like what Henry is doing now learning an entirely new skill set, and it takes time.
It makes it difficult for the US to be the best in the world in wrestling when our elite athletes are just getting started at 23/24 years old after they compete 4 or 5 years of competing in a different sport. We have to re-learn new skills that that didn’t transition over from the American college system. I know wrestling is wrestling and a lot of the skills do transfer over but there are also many skills that most of our American post college wrestlers have to re-learn or develop.
The other problem that Henry touches on is the “Grind” we take athletes and encourage them cut weight to get in a lower weight class to be competitive rather than focusing on developing better skills. These college wrestlers over train and over competes. This builds grit and mental toughness, which is an incredibly important part of wrestling, but how many of our tough college wrestlers actually compete on the international stage?
We loose so many quality wrestlers that are tired, injured and just grinded down. You can only grind an athlete so much before they loose the love for the sport.
We see it at all levels kids that are done before HS, high school athletes that were great got burned out before they were done with high school and the biggest attrition is college wrestlers that never get the opportunity to wrestle on the international stage because they are done. For whatever reason, maybe their coaches never told them they were good enough to continue and make it on the international stage. Maybe college was such a grind that they burned out? Injuries or maybe they learned not to love the sport any more?
Is the American system really the best system to be internationally competitive?
Maybe there is a better path?
It seemed to work for Henry?
NCAA is a business and the athletes are the product. What do they get? Some tuition covered to go to school?
Henry got paid to go to college after the Olympics now he is working on his master’s degree and its all paid for.
What are your goals? To be NCAA Champions? All American? Or do you have goals of being the best in the world?
Like Henry Cejudo every athlete must find his own path. It takes courage and belief in your self and a the road less traveled.
When I was coming out of HS my goals were to wrestle in Olympics and world championship and my coaches told me that the path was through the NCAA system, but that was the only path they knew. No we have guys like Henry Cejudo that have shown us there is a more direct path. Be different, dream bigger, reach higher and find your own path.
I am asking the question, there is a section for comments for you to add your thoughts.
If your goals are bigger than NCAA age group competition is there a better path? If an athlete dreams of becoming an Olympic Champion or World Champion how does college age group wrestling help him reach his goals?
I recently met some young wrestlers with big goals Jayden and Aidan from Boise Idaho and here is what they had to say.