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Wrestling With Gender and Competition Issues

January 18, 2004

Re "Girl Wrestlers Gain Ground," Jan. 10: Any girl who participates against boys in wrestling is a winner in my eyes. This is an aggressive, full-contact sport, much like a human chess game, where skill, agility, motivation and perseverance determine the outcome. It builds self-esteem and promotes a "can-do" attitude. As a scrawny sophomore at Rosemead High School in 1968, I wrestled my way to the league championship by pinning four opposing varsity team captains, all of them seniors who towered over my 5-foot, 2-inch frame. What is the lesson here? Size and brute strength do not matter.

Boys have been conditioned to think of girls as the weaker sex, which makes them overconfident. When the girl gets the upper hand, they panic and then resort to primitive brute strength. Brain will always win over muscle. In order to win, you have to fight by reflex, have a counter for every move the opponent makes and have a burning desire to win. You have to invent techniques that fit your style. Although the girls will not win every match, the lessons learned on the mats will prepare them later in life for the competitive battles in the business arena.

Henry Sakaida

Rosemead

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