san da

Hanging in Hanoi With the San Da Team, Part 3

Many of the older members of the Vietnam national san da team in Hanoi said they went to China for training, but I learned that the juniors remained in Vietnam. Another interesting point was that the juniors didn't fight that often.

Juniors spend all their time in Vietnam training, not really fighting," Jerry Nguyen said. "If they have to fight, it's like a test."

This was similar to what I'd seen in China, where the approach is to have an athlete train for years to refine his skills before competing. Then, when he finally fights, he should win. On the wrestling team I trained with in China, members said they competed a maximum of four times a year. In contrast, the American method revolves around viewing competition as part of training. Within months of beginning wrestling, you're competing. Win or lose, you accumulate experience and, it is hoped, improve.

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