The Other Choice

Much like most of you high school kids in grade 9 in Toronto coming from a Caribbean background I wanted so much to be on the basketball team and be a good basketball player. I was 5 foot nothing and very skilled in the sport of basketball among many other sports. But I was lucky enough to be given a choice, my wrestling coach told me that I could be six man coming off the bench in basketball or I could be a superstar Wrestler where I have a lot more success. Choice for me was very obvious at that point my ego wouldn’t let me come off the bench. The choice may not be that easy for some of you, some of you may be taller than I was, or you may not have a high school wrestling coach that was as good of a person as mine was to sit me down and give me that option and break it down to me, but I just want you to know that there’s another choice.

A lot of you have dreams but I beg you to do the research and see how many people or what percentage of the players actually are successful at their hoop dreams. I want to know that this is not a jab at the sport basketball, I love it, it’s a great sport I play it even now recreationally, but in terms of using the sport to help land you in a successful position after high school or university I beg you to weigh your options because there are a lot of other options. They’re only 12 people selected for a basketball team usually, a team of wrestlers can be comprised of up to 30 to 40 on a given high school team. There is no barrier to entry in other words the sport does not favour the tall, because we have weight classes that separate you from your teammates.

You compete against people your size which makes the playground a lot more fair in terms of natural abilities. The sport of wrestling offers you an opportunity to practice Life skills make, making tough decisions, growing through resistance or overcoming hurdles, it teaches you grit and perseverance. In my humble opinion there is no better teacher for game of life than the sport of wrestling but I do have a slight bias. I wanna encourage you to open your mind to other options, there are many other sports out there that can lead you to that university scholarship, that opportunity to get a job doing the thing you love, the knowledge and skills to become a successful person.

Today I’m happy to do what I love and it started with that one decision back when I was 13 years old. And if you ask me would I make that same decision again, the answer is resoundingly yes. The sport of wrestling is taught me a lot about what it means to be successful, what it means to give back to your community, what it means to be prosperous and what is most important in life. I wish for you the very same, open your eyes to the other options. 

Neal Ewers

Executive Director,

Beat the Streets Toronto

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Thoughts from Sayeed Shad, BTST student

Hello my name is Sayeed Shad and I am 17 years old and my native home is Iran. I have only been in Canada 2 years in total and I have learned a lot about North American culture since I have been here. Everything is different, food, religion, and lifestyle.  This is ok for me because I want to adapt to this way of life.

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The one thing I do bring from Iran to Canada is my love for wrestling. In Iran, wrestling is the number 1 sport. The best wrestlers get a lot of attention and are celebrated like heroes. I always wanted to join wrestling back home but I had a lot of responsibilities with taking care of my sister and mother. When I got to Canada I was able to be freer and have more time to pursue my interests.

I tried wrestling at other facilities but I didn’t feel right until I found Beat the Streets Toronto. When I met coach Sanchez and the other coaches I felt very welcome. Coach Kris is a master of what he does and I really enjoy his knowledge of ground wrestling. My goals with the sports is to one day make the Olympic Team here for freestyle wrestling. I want to make to the big stage and Beat the Streets Toronto is helping me along the way with making me believe that I can do it. I just want to thank coach Neal Ewers for his great work with Beat the Streets and hope it continues to be such a great organization.

 

Sayeed Shah

Come try out a wrestling practice with BTST

The school season is well under way and extra-curricular activities are in full swing.

If you haven’t already signed up to join something, why not give wrestling a try. At BTST, we offer 2 practices weekly on Tuesdays and Thursdays with top level coaches. It’s fun and it’s free!

We practice both Freestyle and Greco-Romano. In Freestyle wrestling, the objective is to
throw & pin your opponent to the mat. It allows you to use your opponent’s legs and combines techniques from traditional wrestling, judo & Samba. Greco-Roman style is the same as freestyle, but it does not allow using legs. Instead it places emphasis on throwing your opponent.

Sound interesting but not sure if you can do it. Of course you can! Wrestling is open to all sizes, ages and skill levels so why not give it a try?


Tuesdays @ 6:00pm
West Humber CI, 1675 Martin Grove Rd.,

Etobicoke

Thursdays @ 6:00pm
North albion CI, 2580 Kipling Avenue,

Etobicoke


For more information contact coach Neal at 416.893.4476 or coach Bernard at 647.833.3932

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Thoughts from Afik Ocak, BTST Student

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Wrestling is part of my life, I love wrestling and I love to wrestle with my friends. Wrestling is ingrained into my lifestyle, I can say wrestling has given me a lot and I am grateful. Being a refugee from Turkey it has been hard to adjust to the Canadian Lifestyle. This is especially hard because I am on my own in Canada and my family is all back in Turkey.  Wrestling and my mentor Mr. Sanchez have really helped me feel like I am part of a family which is important to me. It makes me feel like home when I am with my fellow Beat the Streets wrestlers. 

Beat the Street Toronto is great. They teach you technique that is at a very high level. Sometimes it is hard to keep up but it is part of the fun to learn new things from some very great coaches. It is also a place where I have made a lot of new friends not from my community. I have friends here from all over the world at Beat the Streets Toronto.

One thing that stood out to me was the Wrestle the North event ran at Nathan Phillips Square. It was an amazing event to see downtown and have people walk by and enjoy wrestling. It was like the events in Turkey when they run them outside. The Wrestle the North event made me want to train hard and participate next year.


Thank you so much Beat the Streets Toronto, 


Akif Ocak
BTST Student

Is Weight Training Safe for Children?

The short answer is Yes.  The long answer below, a piece written by National and Olympic Track & Field Coach, George Van Zyel:

Drs. Holly Benjamin and Kimberley Glow wrote an article Strength Training for Children and Adolescents: What can physicians recommend? published in The Physician and Sports Medicine Vol.31-No.9 September 2003. It provides an honest appraisal of the value of strength training for young athletes and the risks associated with various forms of strength training.


Their conclusion was that the "current published literature demonstrates that the benefits of strength training far outweigh the potential risks." Interestingly, they found that the safest type of strength training involved Olympic Lifting because of the heavy emphasis on proper technique.
As long as the strength training programme is supervised, the answer is a resounding "YES IT IS SAFE" from the following organizations:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics

  • American College of Sports Medicine

  • American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

  • British Association of Sports & Exercise Science

  • Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology

  • National Strength and Conditioning Association

  • United Kingdom Strength & Conditioning Association


This is a view of the safety of weight training and particularly weightlifting that is supported by empirical evidence. Brian Hamill conducted a survey involving a number of British schools and published the results in the article Relative Safety of weightlifting and weight training that appeared in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 1994;8(1);53-57. The results appear below:

You can read the full article here.

Strength is the Foundation,
Clance

How does discipline relate to sports

No matter where you go or what you do for a living you will always come across discipline. Now you might be wondering how does discipline relate to sports? Kids don't know when to play and when it's time to get work done and that's okay because kids are supposed to have fun. Sports is the best way to help teach your children some simple discipline skills like getting to practice on time, or not talking while someone else is talking.

Discipline is no fun but that's the point when someone is being disobedient the best way to correct their behaviors is with discipline. You will find the most discipline in sports because sports are all about doing it right. In any sport your kid joins if they’re not doing the techniques right they will not succeed, they’ll get frustrated, and probably even throw a mini tantrum and so that's where discipline comes in. sometimes in order to be successful you have to risk it for the biscuit, you have to be able to make sacrifices and discipline yourself.

Discipline helps you stay active, organized, have more self-control and stay focused. Those skills don't only apply in your sport they can also come in handy at school, work, and even at home. Once someone knows how to be disciplined they gain respect from others because being strict with yourself is very difficult. If you want to reach your goals, being disciplined with yourself is the way to do it.

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Resources

“Why Is Discipline Important | 8 Advantages & Benefits.” Mind Controversy, 4 Mar. 2018, www.mindcontroversy.com/advantages-discipline-life/



How to motivate your child

One thing you will struggle with as a parent inevitably is motivating your child in life. Involvement in combative sports like wrestling, kickboxing, Brazilian Jui Jitsu, etc. will not only motivate them within the sport on the mat but also in life off the mat.

One of the many benefits of mat sports are that the sport takes place individually and athletes are responsible for themselves and their actions. However there is also an overlaying sense of team within the sport, in which being a part of that team you also have a responsibility to them. You win and lose as a team despite the individual athletic performance, this helps develop healthy relationships full of support and encouragement as your child will experience every aspect of sport. Your child will be a part of something bigger than themselves and this will develop a sense of drive in them.

Your child will become a very driven human being and will learn how to cooperate and collaborate with others to achieve goals. To be successful and grow in combative sports you have to work with others, your coach, trainer, training partner, etc. This ability to function in a team will help them in sports, yes, but also in school, work, and life in general, helping them to become the future leaders of tomorrow.

RESOURCES & FURTHER READING

https://www.livestrong.com/article/105222-benefits-teamwork-sports/



Why is Exercising Important for my Kid?

According to the American Heart Association, every child should be getting a minimum of 60 minutes of daily exercise. Research shows that when you exercise your risk of stroke can reduce by 27%. Wouldn't it be lovely to know that your child has a less chance of getting a stroke later in life? As a parent, you want the best for your children. Encouraging your children to do sports can reduce many diseases and increase their health.

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Exercising can prevent many different diseases. Cardiovascular disease is one of them. Cardiovascular disease is the result of the build-up of plaques in the blood vessels and heart. This can occur when you have too much fat building up inside of you. When you exercise, you sweat which burns body fat and releases toxins. Blocked blood vessels can lead to heart disease which in fact, one in every three deaths is from heart disease and stroke.

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I have been engaged in sports since I was 7 years old. I am thankful of that because now as I'm older I feel strong and healthy. Sports can bring many benefits to your child like discipline, combating disease, improves their mood, in my case sports brought a wonderful joy in my childhood. Sports also help build bone density when you're younger and most importantly it helps in developing life skills like organization, discipline, self-confidence, and self-defense.Trust me on this, sports is an amazing way to keep your children active in a positive and productive way. Beat the Streets Toronto has a great program for your children, but I guess you won't truly understand until you try it so without further ado come and join BTST’s sports camp and after-school program.

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Resources

7 great reasons why exercise matters. (2016, October 13).
Retrieved from
https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

Heart Disease Prevention. (2018, July 13).
Retrieved from
https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventheartdisease.html

How does cardiovascular disease affect the body? | Heart Disease. (n.d.).
Retrieved from
https://www.sharecare.com/health/heart-disease/cardiovascular-affect-body

How to Help Prevent Heart Disease - At Any Age. (n.d.).
Retrieved from
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/How-to-Help-Prevent-Heart-Disease-- -At-Any-Age_UCM_442925_Article.jsp#.W1U41dJKjIU

The Top 10 Benefits of Regular Exercise. (n.d.).
Retrieved from
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-benefits-of-exercise#section3









BTST Beach Day July 2018

This year our annual beach day practice was hosted by Coach Mar of Discipline Wrestling Club in Hamilton. She definitely made it fun and challenging for our wrestlers! You can see the evidence in the pictures, it is quite obvious that the campers enjoyed themselves. The event was held at Woodbine Beach in Toronto where the wrestlers cooled off with a dip in Lake Ontario after the session. Our friends from New York City really enjoyed themselves as well!

First Session at LPS Athletic Centre

We just had our first session at the LPS Athletic Centre. Unlike many other facilities we’ve been to in the past, LPS’s coaching and training started off with education first. They outlined the reasons why for each exercise, and explained to us that this is a plan, not just a program.

We were instructed to work on a lot of fundamental elements first to get assessed on the individual abilities. The LPS team stressed that it is far more important for us be strong and flexible for wrestling first as “Strength is the Mother of All Qualities” before we start taking those elements to build speed, explosiveness, and power.

We ended the session with some sled pulls to work on our vastus medialis oblique (VMO) to strengthen the knee area as an injury-prevention mechanism to prepare them for future sessions.

We’re looking forward to our next session in a weeks time and tracking our progress in this exciting journey for our BTST athletes.

Wrestle the North Girl's Edition

This years Wrestle the North Event was a Girls only edition and it was held at Nathan Phillips Square once again. This event was special because we were able to share it with the Girls from Beat the Streets New York City! Thank you for travelling all the way to Toronto BTSNY Girls and Coach Josh!

The event showcased our sport to hundreds of people in the audience and made it on the 6pm CBC news. Our sport rarely gets that kind of coverage and is a great way for us to promote our sport. Our girls loved the awesome WTN Wrestling Singlets they received for participating in the event! Look out for them at your local tournaments as I’m sure the Girls will be sporting them often! We’re already planning for next year’s event so make sure you look out for it…

Avison Young Golf For a Cure Tournament

Recently Beat the Streets Toronto was awarded the Avison Young Golf for a Cure grant. The Golf Tournament and presentation was held at the beautiful Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville On. We would like to thank Avison and Young for their Generous Donation. These funds will go towards various Beat the Streets Programs to help children and young people pursue their education while learning strong values from the sport of wrestling.

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Partnership with LPS Athletic Centre

Beat the Streets Toronto is very happy and lucky to announce our new partnership with LPS Athletic Centre. LPS is an elite strength & conditioning training facility with exceptional coaches and trainers who build athletes to dominate in sports. Check them out by clicking here. The goal is to offer BTST wrestlers with an opportunity to train with one of the best the country has to offer and learn the fundamental skills to push themselves to the next level. Stay posted on our social media for updates on how our athletes are developing!

About LPS and How BTST Wrestlers will Benefit

LPS is located right in the heart of North York, they developed the Athlete Activation System with 30+ years of research & practical experience that helps athletes & executives maximize and taps into athletic potential by activating higher threshold motor units.

These methodologies in their internationally recognized system are used for the world’s best athletes. So even if you may not be the most talented, or not genetically gifted… as long as you put in the work, then this would help you outperform your competitors.

LPS works with competitive to professional athletes from wrestlers to all other sports such as hockey, baseball, football, basketball, tennis, and soccer. BTST wrestlers will be taught the methodologies and concepts to make a truly exceptional wrestler and learn what strength, power, and explosiveness it takes to compete on the international stage.

The video below shows the culture of the gym:

How Combative Sports Build Body Positivity

Involvement in combative sports completely changes the relationship that you have with your body.

Through training, the growing knowledge of what your body can accomplish transforms how you view your body into something positive. You become very in touch with your body, what it needs to perform at its best, what it can do, and what it will be able to do in the future as you get stronger. You fall in love with challenging yourself physically and strive to see those challenges not only met but surpassed.

There is such a healthy environment surrounding combative sports which just radiates with body positivity. Strong role models who love their bodies, who have worked hard and appreciate the strength, agility, flexibility, endurance, etc. that their body has developed. The opportunity to see yourself develop physically gives you something to be proud of, as your body is able to do more and more things that once seemed impossible for you.

As an athlete who has worked so hard to get to the point of health at which you are at then pushes you to healthier life choices. You have worked so hard to get to where you are and you want take care of yourself and your body.

Combative sports cultivate healthy relationships between people and their bodies.






Mirza Bashir Akbar Scholarship

BTST Scholarship Program

This years BTST scholarship was awarded to Dip Lad. Dip started with BTST all the way from its inception back in 2014, where he showed a passion for wrestling.

Through that grit and determination, he was able to bring his marks up and pursue post secondary education as he is taking Sports Management at Humber College and will end up with an Associates Degree. Dip comes from challenging community of Rexdale where many social and economical barriers exist and BTST scholarship program has helped with giving kids an advantage.

We at BTST would also like to Nayu Akbar who donated the money for the scholarship. It is people like Mr.Akbar that help our athletes/students get ahead in life.


A few words from Dip Lad:

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I am honoured to have received the Mirza Bashir Akbar Scholarship of $2000.

I would also really love to thank Nayu Akbar for donating the scholarship for me as well as I would also love to thank John Park as well as my coaches for awarding me this scholarship.

It means a lot to me that my coaches picked me for the scholarship with other athletes that they could have picked from the Beat the Streets Toronto Program which has a lot of very talented student/athletes.

It’s gonna really help me pay for tuition and textbooks I’ll need this upcoming semester.

Thank you Nayu Akbar once again. 


Dip Lad

Belaglazov Brother's Wrestling Camp 2018

This year we at Beat the Streets Toronto were lucky enough to have a summer camp hosted by both Anatoly and Sergei Beloglazov! I can’t say enough great things about the Beloglazovs, if you haven’t been to a Beloglazov Wrestling Camp then you’re missing out! They are very professional and as they were as wrestlers, they are perfectionists as clinicians. 

At our camp they worked tirelessly with kids of all levels, giving their attention to 6 year olds as well as 18 year olds. They were very patient and moderated the camp to the skill level of the campers. 

Thank you so much for a great experience Gentlemen! 

Beat the Streets Toronto Summer Mentorship Recap!

This summer the Mentorship program expanded its outreach by not just following academic achievement, but by also mentoring our student/athletes into the workforce. During this past summer, Brea Rodgers, Arely Torales, Ana Mendez all worked with BTST. The job/internship included clerical work, research and community outreach.  We here at BTST strongly believe that getting real work experience is beneficial to overall growth of an student/athlete. Giving high school and first year university students life skills will open doors that were not previously accessible. Additionally, by employing BTST student/athletes we were able to expand our outreach to various communities throughout Toronto. This was achieved by using promotional tools like having our students write articles on an online platform and use guerrilla tactics like handing out flyers and promoting at festivals and events.

Conversely, through our partnerships with employment agencies like LEF, Learning Enrichment Foundation and VPI Work Solutions we were also able to help other members of the BTST family to find meaningful employment like, LEF daycare services, Milestones, Party City and the KEG.  Again, by working on the three pillars of wrestling, academics, and life experience students will be prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. Overall it was a great experience for the kids. Here are some testimonials.

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Arely Torales:

I enjoyed working and learning with BTST. I was able to get out of my comfort zone and learn something everyday. It also beat flipping burgers.

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Brea Rodgers:

I feel that my resume will be so much better now that I am able to add BTST as an employer.

Hosting the Girls From New York City: A Letter from Coach Lee (BTSNY)

 Coach Lee from BTS New York

Coach Lee from BTS New York

I cannot say enough positive things about our experience with BTS Toronto, and especially director Neal Ewers, who hosted our kids from New York City for a week of competition and training. From the first communication to our last goodbyes at a family style BBQ, Neal made sure we were taken care of like family. BTS Toronto provided us with a place for the kids to stay (Thanks coach Mar!) as well as amazing training & facilities. The results? Simply incredible. Our kids from south of the border were pushed beyond their comfort zone while being supported in a way that made them push each other even when things got difficult. Once we got back to NY, I asked the kids on their thoughts:

"Our trip to Canada came with many lessons; it taught us that nothing in life is easy and you have to work hard & do things you've never done to get things you've never had. Coach Neal, coach Mar, and the Beloglazov brothers taught us than not only should we strive to become better wresters, but also better people. We should fight hard on the mat in the same way you fight for things in life because if you're afraid to fail, you'll never succeed."

 The girls taking time to pose!

The girls taking time to pose!

The quote above comes from a wrester who was at first lukewarm to even the idea of wrestling. Then she decided she'd try out because her friends were doing it, but often letting me know she wasn't coming back next season. Now she always wants to know when/where the next practice is, and most importantly, when we're going back to Canada. Y'all funny talking folks are sure doing something right up in Toronto. Special shout-out to coach Bernard and trainer Mario for their support. We can't wait to come back!

Coach Lee





OMERS Foundation awards BTST $25,000 grant

This summer Beat the Streets Toronto was awarded a $25000 Grant from the OMERS Foundation. Where OMERS employees fundraise and choose a cause to support as a group. It was presented to us at our Wrestle the North Festival.

We are truly honoured to receive this Grant and we will put it towards helping students in undeserved communities and building up vibrant commutes across the GTA. We would like to say a very big thank you to the OMERS Foundation for your generosity. 

To learn more about the OMERS Foundation, please visit their site:

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