Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Technique: Interview with James Tietema-Wrestling, Handfighting, & Life

Photo Credit: muskegoncc.edu
Michigan Wrestling Resource recently caught up with James Tietema for a short interview.  James Tietema is a former college coach and wrestler. He was an All-American (NCAA D2) at the University of Findley, and National Finalist (NJCAA) wrestling at Muskegon CC.  He won a state title for West Ottawa HS in Holland, MI and amassed over 100 falls in his prep career. In other words, he's good so listen up.

MWR: You just taught a clinic on Handfighting at Myrmidon Training Systems.  What can you tell us about your experience? What stood out to you about teaching in that environment?

James Tietema: Its a small space so its very personal and you are able to interact with the wrestlers more which lets you have a bigger impact on them learning the technique showed.

MWR: How important is the skill of handfighting to the success of a wrestler?

Tietema:  The higher level you wrestle the better you need to be at hand fighting. I think coaches should spend as much time on hand fighting as they do singles or doubles.

MWR: Could you tell us briefly about your handfighting philosophy and how it developed?

Tietema: My first goal of hand fighting is to control the inside tie. Reasons for that is #1, I can move my opponent, #2 I can be in good position for my head-hand defense. My Second goal is to wear down my opponent. I want to make him exhausted by moving him as much as I can. My third goal is to set up my shoots. When coaches want their wrestlers to handfight more they usually say busy hands, my quote is "busy hands, busier feet." They guy with busier feet will usually win.

MWR: So how annoying is Ryan Lancaster? I mean the guy is always trying to build up the sport of wrestling in Michigan and provide excellent opportunities for the area... Come on dude! Let the sport die already... kidding.

(Tietema provided no comment... but really that says it all doesn't it..?)

MWR: Tell us a little bit about what the sport means to you and how it has affected your life.

Tietema: Wrestling was my life growing up. My goal was to be a State Champ, NCAA DI National Champ, and an Olympic Champ. Fell a little short but the work ethic I developed and commitment I had to being my best has benefited me in life probably more than I know. Wrestling taught me to set high goals and a plan to accomplish them. I think sports in general builds confidence in people, competing in college is huge. High School you can be a good athlete and be one of the best in the state. In college you have to have a work ethic and be committed to a good life style to have success and that's how you separate yourself from other people in life.

MWR: Michigan Wrestlers just completed the high school state tournament; the youth season is approaching its post-season... what advice can you give these wrestlers, coaches, and parents on navigating and peaking for this part of the season?

Tietema: Don't put pressure on yourself. Success needs to be measured by attitude and effort. Trust your gut and stay aggressive. My advice for parents is to tell your kids you love them and your proud of them. That's it, DON'T TELL THEM WHAT THEY ARE DOING WRONG.

MWR: Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Tietema: Lifestyle and diet are just as important as conditioning and technique.

Michigan Wrestling Resource thanks Coach Tietema for his time not just given to this interview, but the sport as well.

Complete Myrmidon Handfighting Clinic Playlist (Youtube)
Photo Credit: Myrmidon Training Systems Facebook

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