April 15, 2017
After two days of non stop sparring and matches, the kids are sore and exhausted. Outside factors such as time change have gotten to them a little. In a change of pace, this morning they played a wrestling game. They were out into two teams of ten, and had a counterpart to attack. The rules of the game were simple. There are two goals. The goal is to grab another opponent and wrestle them down and drag them to your respective side of the mat. This is a very entertaining game as you have everyone working together to accomplish one goal, bring the entire opposite team to your side of the mat.
In light of the seriousness they experienced the past couple days, this was definitely a change in mental intensity, all the while still using wrestling related actions and activities to takedown your opponent and pull them across two mats to the goal. This is the first time in two days I have seen the kids truly smiling and having fun, while getting a good workout in.
What did I learn from this session. I understand now that there has to be some type of change in training. Doesn't always have to be go go go, technique and drilling at a hundred miles an hour. There definitely needs to be a change in training where you are still getting some type of work in but takes your mind off of the daily grind of fighting. Constant fighting can keep you in a specific mindset that doesn't allow you to breathe and think about your training for a second.
Whether they know it or not, this is a time of reflection, a time to release some tension and smile. This is important in wrestling and Europeans are masters at creating games and activities to take their athletes out of the mental grind of constant battling. This is an important part of training.
After our morning workout, we headed to the sauna and spent about an hour there. As described in an earlier entry, saunas sessions here are used as a cleansing experience, not necessarily a weight cutting activity. It's a process. Generally you sit in the sauna 10-15 minutes at a time and then exit to rinse off or cold plunge into cold water. You then repeat this process 3/4 times.
There are a number of different types of saunas, the one we use here is a dry stone sauna as opposed to a steam sauna. A kiln is burning wood at the bottom with rocks stacked above and around to firm kind of like a cone or pyramid. There is a bucket of water with a ladle to wet the rocks to create more heat. Sometimes smelling oils are poured onto the rocks to create a pleasing aroma in the sauna.
Overall was a good day, kids are smiling, feeling relaxed right now. They have made friends, followed and got followed on instagram by our counterparts, traded items that they will have for a lifetime and remember this trip by. I wish this trip was a little longer, but, hopefully it has served it's purpose for the goals that these kids have set for themselves.