wrestling tournament

Facing Failure

In July 2016, I had the opportunity to go to my very first international tournament, the Ohio State Fair. Although not very far from home, I was bursting with excitement at the thought of all that I would accomplish. Getting to a place where wrestling outside of Canada was a possibility was no small feat. I had begged my mother to allow me to wrestle for almost a year and had been giving the sport all I had after receiving the go ahead. More than my high school training, I had begun training with Beat the Streets in 2015 on the weekends and over summer breaks.

The Ohio State Fair was specifically notable to me because of the disappointment I felt the year prior. That year, despite the effort I felt I was putting in, I watched all my new teammates attend without me.


But July 2016 would be my time to shine. I had teammates wrestling along side me and ones who came just to support me. The confidence and love I felt was unique and uplifting. Unfortunately though, my joy was short lived once the tournament began.

Folk-style. Not a friend of mine. In America, unlike most countries, they participate in folk-style wrestling instead of free-style. In folk-style, the referee does not call the wrestlers up after a take down. They must continue wrestling until the athlete who was taken down fights back onto their feet OR until the match is ended by fall or superiority. The latter was what brought about the end of my matches.

More than this, American wrestling is distinct in another aspect. Girls and boys both face each other. And not just at a young age, but well into high school, girls and guys must face one another. So in short, you can say that the Ohio State Fair wasn’t quite what I’d trained for.

Day 1 of the tournament I faced 4 different guys and was pinned in 4 different ways. Well over a minute of every match was spent with me bridging off my back ultimately to no avail. The next morning I woke with a strong pain in my shoulder and another day of wrestling ahead of me.

ohio medal.png

Day 2 of the tournament didn’t go any better than the first. Although this day I got to face girls, there were so few of us that the pools had a very wide range of weights. The pool of 3 that I was in consisted of a team mate a weight class above me who hadn’t wrestled the day before and an American girl well over my weight. My first match was with the American and I was winning 9-0 until I was re-rolled and trapped in a pin. Emotionally and physically drained as I was, the match with my teammate did not go any better.

And so I walked away from a tournament I had put so much hope into having lost all 6 of my matches and ultimately placing third out of 3.

One day, even if it’s several years later, after moving on, you will look upon those moments fondly for what they gave you and showed you about yourself.

The point in sharing this though is that now, in 2019, all that is to me is good story. I’m still wrestling and I’m still working hard and that defines me more that the fact that I have, and will continue to fail. So, in moments where you aren’t succeeding in the ways you’d hoped for, recognize that it is part of your journey. And hope that one day, even if it’s several years later, after moving on, you will look upon those moments fondly for what they gave you and showed you about yourself.

Much love,


My Favourite Wrestling Trip

Jayden Here!

Wrestling has provided me many opportunities to travel, meet new people and learn not only about wrestling, but different cultures and histories of different places. Beat the Streets Toronto has facilitated many wrestling trips and allowed me to have many amazing experiences. Through these experiences I have grown so much and become a much more well-rounded person and wrestler.


My all-time favorite wrestling trip is my trip to the country Georgia last summer.

Under the direction of Valentin Kalika, our group of wrestlers from all over North America were privileged to train in a beautiful facility in Georgia with amazing coaches and with multiple different partners throughout the camp. This trip ignited my passion for wrestling and taught me so many new things. It also sparked my interest of travel and seeing new places. I didn’t realize beforehand that I would love Georgia as much as I did and I really didn’t realize how much history and culture I would learn on this trip.

            What I really loved about wrestling in Georgia was the great LOVE, RESPECT AND DEVOTION the Georgians had for this sport. It was not only part of their culture and lifestyle, it was part of their soul. While in Georgia we got to attend an International tournament. It was like no other sporting event I have ever attended. The intensity of the passion, pride and emotion of the spectators in the crowd was so energizing and inspirational. They love wrestling and their love for it echoed and intensified my own. It was the first time I was surrounded by hundreds of people who all lived and breathed this sport like I do, and I felt right at home. Well some of the spectators did take it a little ‘far’ when one of Georgians lost. But that chair smashing made for a great story.


            I also felt at home in the training room in Georgia where the qualities of being 100 percent focused and committed to being your own personal best, being disciplined in your technique and committed to learning and growing through trail and risk taking was encouraged and fostered in a really positive environment.  Everyone there wanted to grow and learn and challenge themselves. They also wanted to help others to do the same as well. My partners were intense and driven, but we also laughed and smiled together. But we really focused on technique and I LOVED that.

            The diversity of coaches at BTS Toronto has given me a wide base of experience with different international styles of wrestling right in my own province. And this really helped me when I went to Georgia.  The different techniques and style of the Georgian wrestling I experienced there weren’t as big of a shock or challenge for me because of my exposure to all the different coaches at BTS Toronto.  The strong technical base the diverse BTS Toronto coaches had  given me meant I could learn the moves quickly and effectively helping me to make the most out of my Georgia experience.

I am really looking forward to travelling again to Georgia to train and explore more of this country with a soul deeply in love with wrestling.