To Our Friends in Wrestling Around the world

By William May

(Japan Amateur Wrestling Federation, Public Information Committee
Kyodo World Services, senior sports


 SENDAI - The Japan Wrestling Federation board of directors gathered for
a special meeting on October 14 in Sendai and decided to send teams to the world championship meets that had been re-scheduled in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11 in New York and Washington.

    The world championships -- freestyle, greco-roman and women -- had been scheduled for New York City in late September, but in the wake of the attacks, the FILA Bureau decidedto re-schedule the freestyle and women's meet for November 22-25 in Sofia, Bulgaria and the greco-roman competition for December 6-9 for Patras, Greece.

    At the Sendai meeting, the JWF board decided that it would ascertain the will of the athletes, continue to gather information on possible dangers and ensure a safe means of travel to and from the competitions.  All of the wrestlers indicated that they wanted to attend the world meets, except one of the wrestlers on the greco-roman national team who had earlier scheduled his wedding on December 8.

    The JWF board also decided that it would dispatch the women's national team to the inaugural World Cup of women's wrestling in Levallois, France on November 3-4.  Again, the JWF directors said they will continue to monitor the international situation in order to ensure the safety of the delegation members. The board decided to send Japan's top wrestlers at each weight to the World Cup even though it is only three weeks before the world championships in the hope of winning the championship in the historic event.

  The JWF decided to send a select team of top wrestlers to the Clansman International in Canada in November and to the Henri Deglane International in France in December. The Japanese sports world, shaken by the attacks in the United States and nervous about retaliation for the U.S.-led military air-strikes in Afghanistan, has decided against participating in a number of international events this fall and winter.  The relevant sports governing bodies have opted not to send teams to the world championships in gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and weightlifting while judo and swimming have cancelled their overseas tours.


SENDAI - Seiko Yamamoto may be one of the favorites heading into the women's world championships in Sofia at the end of the November, but the two-time world champion continues to struggle at home. Yamamoto, the defending world champion at 56 kg, lost by technical fall to junior world champion Saori Yoshida in one of four women's wrestling exhibition matches held at the National Sports Festival in Sendai.

    The one-sided loss by
Yamamoto, who was also pinned by 16-year-old Kaori Icho at an invitational meet in April, has JWF officials wondering about her readiness on the eve of the World Cup in France and the world championships in Bulgaria.

    The matches were staged at the National Sports Festival as exhibition matches since Japan's national version of the Olympic Games has not yet included female wrestling on its official program.


SENDAI - About $2,000 in donations for the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States were collected at the wrestling venue during the National Sports Festival. The JWF said it would send the donations to the U.S. through USA Wrestling, the national governing body of wrestling in the U.S.


TOKYO - Russian national team coach Sergei Belaglazov was invited to Japan by the Aoyama Gakuin University wrestling alumni association to conduct a wrestling clinic for the Tokyo school October 4-14. During that time, Belaglazov, who also coached in Japan from 1994 to 1998, had a chance to observe the national collegiate dual meet championship tourney. When asked for his impression of the wrestling in the meet, Belaglazov lamented that the level of wrestling in Japan continues to sag and described the wrestling as "too weak" for college-level competitors.

    The following day, Belaglazov began his clinic by stressing the fundamentals of defense. In addition to the team members from AGU, wrestlers from Waseda, Takushoku, Kokushikan universities and the Self Defense Forces visited the school in Tokyo's Shibuya Ward each day to learn from the popular coach.  Japanese national team coach
Takahiro Wada, a former protege of Belaglazov's, also took part in the camp as the Japanese wrestlers listened intently to the Russian coach's logical presentation of wrestling techniques.

    "A wrestler must drill the fundamental movements of wrestling over and over again with the concentration of 100% of all his strength. Further, a wrestler must practice as if he were in a match.  If he doesn't, there is no way he can perform these things in a match.  It is important to drill the fundamental movements 1,000 times.  Of course, this kind of practice is extremely tiring," Belaglazov told the wrestlers.

    During the camp, Belaglazov taught a number of techniques and explained several of the finer points of wrestling strategy to the Japanese wrestlers. Even with the single leg and the tendency to think that it is fine to move around in front of the opponent and then grab a leg, Belaglazov stressed that it is important to learn how to control the opponents hands and arms
and how to train so a wrestler can be offensive and defensive at the same time.  Without this, a wrestler's techniques will not become reliable. 

  While there should be a symmetry in the movements when a wrestler attacks the right leg or the left leg, some wrestlers will use the same tie-up on the left and the right to attack the legs while other wrestlers will use different tie-ups for different attacks.  Belaglazov stressed the need to understand some of these general ideas.