Death, Life and Wrestling

Its funny to hear that people don’t like to think about death. I think about it everyday, I am grateful each morning I wake up. I fought in a cage, traveled overseas to strange places put my self in situations all the time where I have to face the reality of death.

I love the thought of death and do not think it’s something that should be feared because inevitable. I already know whats going to be on my tomb stone and the songs that are going to be played at my funeral. 

By no means am I ready to go, but I do accept the fact that we are all going to die and I am comfortable with it. Life is short enjoy it. 


In Coach Frasers blog he writes about death and life give it a read:

June 18, 2015


Death, Life and Wrestling

By Steve Fraser


Many people don't like to talk or think about death. Death can be a scary subject for many of us. However, the fact is death can be our best teacher about life. The simple reality that death is so imminent - makes life so precious. Without the contrast of death, as compared to life, life would have less importance. If we lived forever there might be less urgency to experience and cherish each day and each moment of life.


The truth is that at any moment we could breathe out and then never breathe back in. We never know when our last breath will take place and our time on this wonderful earth is up. No matter what we are doing right now we can be assured that someone has died doing exactly the same thing. It happens when one is eating or when we are sleeping or reading or driving or running. Death happens to babies and teenagers and people in their fifties - not just to the aged. 


Someone should tell us when we are young, "hey... make each day count - because you are dying!" It might be one month or one hundred years but it is going to happen for sure. It happens to the rich and the poor. It happens to men and women no matter what race, religion, or country you are from. We should realize that life is really precious, and each day, each moment should be experienced and cherished to its fullest. 


How many days do we waste with the thought that we will be on this planet for a very long time? What’s the big deal about wasting a few days in our lives? No biggie! We’ve got time. No hurry.


What sometimes keeps us from really going for it in life? What holds us back from relentless action and tenacious forward motion? Could it be fear? Are we living our lives in fear? Fear of failing? Fear of making a mistake? Fear of putting it all on the line and coming up short? Are we wrestling scared? Are we afraid to get tired or scored upon or injured? What is it?


Let’s get some perspective here. As is quoted in the book The Untethered Soul, by Michael A. Singer, “Walk outside on a clear night and just look up into the sky. We are living on a planet spinning around in the middle of nowhere. Trillions of stars are all around us and we are standing on one little ball of dirt spinning around one of those stars. Do we really care about making a mistake or doing the wrong thing in our quest?”


Think about how you might live each day if your angel came to you and said, "My friend, just know that you are being “called” and you only have one year to live.” How would you experience each of your last 365 days? How would you react to all of the people in your life and all of the people with whom you come in contact? How would you enjoy each day and each moment, knowing that your last days are clicking by? Would you fear anything? Would you hesitate or hold back in your actions? Or would you make every moment count?


Morgan Freeman's character "Red" in the movie Shawshank Redemption so aptly says "get busy living or get busy dying." We have nothing to lose by giving life our all - and everything to lose by not giving life our all. 


Let’s live with tenacity. Play and practice full-out. Have no fear, have no hesitation, and have no timid attitude. When you don't feel it, generate it. Only you control how you feel. Only you can take full action. Only you can go for it without any reservation. No excuses and therefore no regrets. 


I encourage all of us to live life with abandon! Wrestle with abandon! Experience life with abandon! Let’s let go of our fear and realize we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You “do” know that… none of us are getting out of here alive anyway, right?  


And, as always...Enjoy the Battle & Expect to Win!!!

The Time is NOW

This is the time of year where everyone sets out to make big life improvements. The previous year didn’t go as well as you had hoped or, you may have regrets or things you still want to achieve. 

You can hope for hope for 2015 to be better, but that’s not exactly how it works. 

You can’t hope and pray for 2015 to be better, but you must act. 

I am all for positive thinking but nothing actually works until you do. We must take action and put the work in if we want things to be better, or different. The more you work, the more it will work out for you.  Start now? There isn’t a better time.

There is nothing wrong with picturing a future that that you want, its call creating a vision. This is what setting goals is all about. 


You create a picture in your minds so vivid that you can see all the details and then it start to feel real. Next you set goals to achieve that vision. You also set time-lines to achieve those goals. You set monthly, weekly and daily goals that move you closer to the vision of what you ultimately want to achieve. 

Don’t obsess over what has happened in the past or lose yourself in visions of the future. 

Create the vision of what you want then focus on what is right here, and now in front of you. Take action and do what you can to move yourself closer to your goals. 

Make the most of it, and enjoy yourself, it’s a process, things take time. Have fun, and enjoy the journey.


This moment could be all you have, it’s so much better to think that your next day is not guaranteed and be grateful for all that you have, then to have expectations and entitlements that go unfulfilled.

We need to take risks and try new things

Since taking over as head coach of the USA Greco-Roman program I set my goal to get Team USA back to the best team in the world. I understand this is a process and I’m willing to put the time and work into making this a reality.

The truth is we need to take risks and try new things until we figure out what works. What may have worked in the past may not still work in the same way. As the leader of the program I have to be willing to make changes and try new ways of doing things. It’s been just over a year since the IOC decided to cut wrestling from the Olympic games. The worldwide wrestling community did an outstanding job of saving our sport. Wrestling is back in the Olympics. At least through the 2020 games’ wrestling is still an Olympic sport. There are no guarantees at this point that wrestling will remain an Olympic sport, as hard as that is to believe.

The fight is not over! We need to ensure that our great sport will remain in the Olympic program. We can only do this by growing an audience and assuring the IOC that wrestling is a viable sport that has a solid fan base and a following. I feel, as the head coach of the US team, it is my job to not only build the best team in the world but also grow our fan Base.


Andy Bisek at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. 

Andy Bisek at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, Canada. 

In the US Greco-Roman style of wrestling there are some challenges. Many in the wrestling community do not think Greco-Roman when they think of wrestling in our country. The US has a great system for developing a large pool of wrestlers; the problem is we are focusing on the wrong style of wrestling. I’m not talking about the other Olympic style, freestyle. I am talking about the folk-style that Americans wrestle in high schools and colleges all across the country.


When the general public thinks of wrestling the first image that comes to mind is our American folk-style. Most of the best American wrestlers have come through this folk-style system, and this isn’t going to change.  I came through this same system. I admit, I loved my time competing in college and wrestling for the University of Nebraska. I didn’t really consider at the time that I was wrestling in the wrong style if I wanted to reach my Olympic goals.

This article is not about how we change college wrestling to Olympic style to help better prepare our best athletes to compete at the world level in Olympic style wrestling.  Although I would love to see our American system convert to Olympic style wrestling.


This article is about how we need to build a fan base for Olympic style. We must do things differently than we have done in the past. I know it’s cliché but it’s true.  If we keep doing the same things, we will keep getting the same results. To make change we have to look at things differently. We have to be willing to experiment and try something new.


Coach Matt Lindland versus Jacare Souza in Strikeforce

Coach Matt Lindland versus Jacare Souza in Strikeforce

Many of you know that after I finished wrestling I went into MMA as a full time career for over a decade. As an athlete I was one of the top middleweights in the world. I managed over 20 athletes that went from zero MMA to UFC. I have had guys fight for UFC titles and had champions out of my gym Team Quest MMA.  My time in MMA I learned a lot about how sports are promoted and marketed. I watch as the UFC convinced fans to tune in and invest their time and money into watching.

In MMA it’s not always the best fighters that get the biggest fights and biggest paydays. It comes down to promotion and building and audience. The better the fight is hyped the more viewers tune in. 


As wrestling purist, we need not say that is MMA and this is wrestling. I see way more similarities in the two sports than I do differences. It’s time for wrestling to take a page out of the MMA playbook and follow the marketing plan that has proven successful. With an open mind and a willingness to do things differently than we have done in the past, I am confident we can grow our audience outside of our core.


One of the main things that MMA has done so well and this was copied from HBO boxing is the 24/7 type stories based around a fight. These shows not only let you feel like you know the fighters. You get an inside look and find out who these men are, what makes them chase their dreams. As the viewer, you want to either cheer for or against one of the fighters. Either way- it doesn’t matter as long as you tune in, buy a ticket, order on PPV or watch the next week on free TV the audience cares. It doesn’t matter if you like the fighter or want to see him get his ass kicked; the point is you’re invested in the sport, the athlete or the organization.

There is no reason not to try new ways of promoting and marketing the great sport of wrestling. If we don’t, we may not have a sport in the near future, at least at the Olympic level.


Part II


After winning my medal in the Sydney Olympics I decided I was going into MMA to make some money. I was tired of toiling in the obscure sport of Greco-Roman wrestling. I was struggling to earn a living. Here I was, one of the best athletes on the entire planet in my chosen sport and I had to work a couple extra jobs just to be able to compete in my sport. The Olympics were in October and by December I was competing in the UFC. 


I didn’t have time to learn MMA in less than 2 months so I focused on the similarities of wrestling and MMA. I knew how to train, prepare for major competition, and I was a master at competing. I took my knowledge and applied the same principals to a different sport. I knew very little about MMA when I first became involved, but I focused on the similarities of the two sports and applied the principals that I used to have success in wrestling to MMA and found success in that sport as well. I fell in love with martial arts as a whole. The same things I loved about wrestling were what I loved about MMA.


I know looking back it was a risky proposition to leave a sport I had so much success in and try something entirely different. I had no idea what to do or where to start, so I took principals from wrestling and was able to apply them to MMA. I found coaches and training partners. I knew how to train and how to compete. I focused on the commonalties of the two sports and I took the same process I used to learn wrestling and applied it to learning MMA.



I am blessed to be involved in the great sport of wrestling. I have learned so much at all levels of my career in wrestling. I have taken all of the other lessons I have learned through wrestling and applied them to other areas of my life and my businesses. 


Now it’s time to take the lessons I successfully used in MMA, business and apply them to growing the audience of Greco-Roman in the US. Trying something new often encounters resistance and critics. Many leaders wait too long to take action out of fear. There is nothing to fear if we don’t find a way to grow and promote Greco-Roman. We may be done anyways. We are only guaranteed to be in the Olympics through 2020. I see this as an urgent situation. It doesn’t’ make any sense not to try and do something new. Greco-Roman in the US can no longer follow the path of folk-style or freestyle we need to carve our own path.

I understand we will face criticism. Obstacles in our new path need to be faced and overcome. Those at the bottom who dare to promote and rise up will be seen as self-serving, while those at the top who practice the same strategies will be seen as creative and resourceful.

Look for Greco-Roman to make some changes, starting with the new trial procedure that the Greco-Roman sport committee just approved. I am excited to be working together with such a bold group of men who are not afraid to take risks and look for opportunities to grow and promote our great sport.

Memorial Cup: One of the guys who helped Winterhawks win a championship? Matt 'The Law' Lindland, the MMA star

Via The Oregonian

on May 16, 2013 at 11:51 AM

Going through our notes as Portland prepares for Saturday’s Memorial Cup game against Halifax, wondering where the Hawks would be right now if Mike Johnston had been hired to replace the fired Marc Crawford on the Los Angeles Kings in 2008. 

The day after Johnston – one of three finalists – learned he wasn’t going to get the LA job, he got a call informing him a guy named Bill Gallacher wanted to talk.

Dept. of say what?: Travis Green said there was a definite learning curve when he arrived in Portland in 2008 with absolutely zero coaching experience. 

“I remember the first game,’’ said Green, laughing, “and Mike (Johnston) says, ‘OK, you run the penalty kill meeting.’ I remember thinking to myself, ‘OK, how do I run a penalty-kill meeting?’ It was more or less sink or swim.’’

"How do I run a penalty-kill meeting?'' 

"How do I run a penalty-kill meeting?'' 


Green wanted to be a coach someday in the NHL (it may come sooner than later).


He said there was no better man to study than Johnston, who had extensive experience in the NHL and with Canadian national squads.

“I had four years of watching him, watching how he prepares the team, how he talks to the team,’’ said Green. “When all of this (the sanctions) happened, I think Mike was confident enough that I’d learned, that I was ready for the challenge.’’

 Letting it fly: Green said there was more pressure being No. 1 guy on the bench (with assistant Kyle Gustafson alonside). And yes, it was pressure to not screw things up.

 “Because of how good the team was,’’ he explained. “You want to make sure you’re pushing the right buttons and and a lot of what I was doing hadn’t been tried. … there was no trial run. I just had to go with what I felt was right at times.

“I’ve got to give our players credit. There were probably times where I did make mistakes and I probably got tongue-tied a lot of times but I still tried to get the message across to these guys.'’

No coach required? Taylor Peters said earlier this season – jokingly, I assume – that the Hawks were good enough, smart enough, and possessed enough veteran leadership to get themselves ready for games without any coaches.

There was a grain of truth to it.

“When you have a really good team, you have to be honest with them,’’ said Green. “Just say, hey you’ve got what it takes already and you know how to win. … I found that during certain times in the playoffs. There’s more coaching at the beginning of the playoffs. … and then sometimes, you’re (just) managing minds.’’

The younger Travis Green: Would have been a pain in the rear for his coaches. This we know, because Travis admits it. He said coaching has shown him what a headache he must have been for some of his coaches at Spokane and Medicine Hat, and his first years in the pros.

“When I was young, this age, I was very confident. Borderline cocky,’’ he said. “I probably didn’t give my coaches enough responsibility when I was this age and had to learn a lot of things the hard way. … when I went down the minors, I thought I was ready to play in the NHL right away. Even three to five years into my NHL career, it was still a big learning experience. The preparation, your compete, getting outside your comfort level to compete. I see a lot of those same tendencies in this guys.

“I think I’ve tried to coach with that in my mind. At times, you’re going to have to nurture a guy more, or you might have to really come down on a guy and call him out for how he’s behaving instead of sugar-coating it too much.’’

What Mike Johnston has taught TG: “I think PATIENCE is the big thing. I know when I first started with Mike, there were times when I was real antsy maybe for him to make a change or to come down on someone a little bit harder. … I think by nature I’m a bit of a hothead, and that was the No. 1 thing I really learned over my time with Mike, is being patient.’’

Green marvels at how skillfully Johnston handles a team. “Running a meeting, breaking down game tapes – which can be really tedious – Mike is so good at that stuff,’’ said Green. “He can do it in his sleep. … so that’s what I had to learn from him. Game prep, getting a team prepared, how to approach the team, how to speak to the team. … Mike’s world-renowned for giving presentations and he’s a tough act to follow. People want him to fly over to Europe to give presentations. … I give our guys credit because a lot of them, (Mike) is all they knew. They had a guy speaking to them daily who was probably as good or better than 90 percent of the coaches in the NHL when it comes to speaking in front of people.

“Now they’ve got a guy coming in who was probably a little brasher. A little different.’’



About that Hawks on remote-control thing: Peters said on second thought, it wouldn’t have been a good idea to just let the players coach themselves.

Taylor Peters said Green's firm hand was often needed to keep a rambunctious team from "running off the rails'' 

“You’ve got to have a pretty tight rein on these guys to keep the ship going straight,’’ said the Dallas Stars signee. “Not that we have a lot of egos but we have a pretty energetic, excited group and we can get running off the rails pretty easily. I think (Travis) has done a fantastic job of kind of keeping our focus on the mission at hand.’’


The MMA influence: What does renowned MMA fighter Matt “The Law’’ Lindland have to do with the Portland Winterhawks, and their amazing ability to remain calm during crazy moments in the playoffs?

Let Johnston explain.

“We have a (credo) here, that when we enter the playoffs, if we’ve prepared well enough throughout the season, then there’s no reason to be nervous. Because we’ve done everything we can in practice, everything we can in meetings, everything we can in off-ice training to prepare for all of the moments we’re going to face (in the post-season).’’

When the Hawks had their breakthrough 2009-10 season under the new ownership, following that 19-win nightmare in 2008-09, Johnston brought in a special guest speaker to talk with the players before they started their first-round series against Spokane.

Matt Lindland, the MMA star. “We had a theme, “Don’t Tap Out’’ and I wanted him to just talk about the battle (ahead),’’ said Johnston. “But one of his messages was – and it really stuck with me – was that somebody (in an MMA fight) could break your arm, or choke you, and one of our guys asked Matt, ‘aren’t you afraid?’ and Matt said, ‘no, I’m not afraid because all of my work has been done. Nothing’s going to happen. … if you do everything the right way, there’s nothing to be nervous about.

“That stayed with us,’’ said Johnston, an eye-witness to the early stages of the “Evil Empire’’ as a kid named Ty Rattie poked home the game-winning goal in overtime in Game 7.

“Our group,’’ said Johnston. "was ready. They were ready the last two years. They were ready this year. They were ready to win a championship.’’

Paul Buker

2015 Wrestling World Championships

Come see the world's best wrestlers from more than 100 countries at the 2015 Wrestling World Championships


For the first time I can remember, the Wrestling World Championships are being hosted in the United States, and the competition will take place September 7-12, 2015 at The Orleans Arena in Las Vegas Nevada


After winning a silver medal at the 2000 Sydney games. I made the 2001 US world team at 85kg and was going to have the opportunity to wrestling in New York city in front of my home country. Only a week before the world championships were going to take place in New York City, Terrorist attacked our country killing 2,996 people only blocks from where the world championship were to be held. 


I never did have a chance to compete in front of American fans at world championships. 


This is a tremendously important event in international wrestling, as it serves as the first qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as well as the event in which the largest number of athletes earn a spot at the Olympics.


Competition in all three Olympic styles of international wrestling will be held: Greco-­Roman, men’s freestyle, and women’s freestyle.


The 2015 World Wrestling Championships will be presented by United World Wrestling, USA Wrestling, the United States Olympic Committee and Las Vegas Events.


This showcase event will be here before you know it and tickets will sellout quickly. Reserve yours today!