Training: How Victor Springer Whipped My Ass

Nick UgoalahIn 2003, I was cocky as hell.

I was coming off a spectacular year in which I had wrestled my way to Canadian Champion in my weight class 84 kilograms.

Now I was in Edmonton, Alberta, for the Golden Bear Tournament not exactly defending my title, but warming up for a defense.

Victor Springer was a journeyman wrestler. He’d enjoyed some success, but was mainly in wrestling because he truly loved the sport. When I saw he was my opponent, I breathed easy. I knew I would win.

But since becoming Canadian Champion, I’d become I won’t mince words lazy. I’d cut my training way back and I was out of shape. No matter, I thought, because on skill alone I should be able to win this tournament.

I was so cocky, I didn’t even bother to warm up before meeting Victor. I’ll use Victor to warm up for my other bouts, I boasted.

Man, was I wrong.

Victor came out hard and I wasn’t ready for that. My reflexes weren’t sharp and my timing was off. I tried a quick over-under to throw Victor for the win, but he evaded it and put me on my back. I was shocked. The bout had just begun and I was already down four to zero.

I fought back hard. Point-by-single-point, using my favorite move, the high crotch, I clawed my way back to a four-four draw. But each time I scored, I burned away my energy.

I was near exhaustion and could barely stand. I tried one more desperate move to break the draw. It was a double leg, but I was too weak to hold it. Victor fought out of it easily and scored the final point winning 5 to 4 in what should have been an easy match for me.

In all honesty, I was so exhausted and seized up with lactic acid at the end that I literally could not move. I didn’t care that I’d lost. I was just so happy this grueling match was finally over.

Why I really lost.

I didn’t lose because Victor was a better wrestler. I lost because I didn’t respect my opponent. I lost because I was complacent. I lost because I was out of shape.

Since then, I’ve never lost another for one of those reasons. I’ve learned the importance of preparing physically and mentally for everything I undertake.
And while it’s true that I don’t succeed every time, at everything I try, I always give myself the best fighting chance to win.

And when I don’t win, I make sure I’ve learned something by failing that will help me to win next time.

" Fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round - remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped."

James Gentleman Jim Corbett
World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, 1892 to 1897

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About The Author
Nick Ugoalah is a Commonwealth Games Gold Medalist (2002) and 3 time Canadian Champion in Freestyle Wrestling. Although he is now retired, he remains close to the sport he loves, donating time and skills to coaching. He is also a much sought-after professional speaker, noted for his inspirational style. Nick has recently launched his career as an achievement coach for entrepreneurs, other business people, athletes and individuals who simply want to achieve more in their lives. You can reach him at:



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