On Thursday, we released Delon Kanari‘s (60 kg, NMU/OTS) Russian tour journal, a collection of insights Kanari logged over the past week as the US athletes trained in St. Petersburg. We requested the same from New York native and Kanari’s fellow NMU athlete Raffaele Masi (60 kg) in effort to widen the spotlight on what it is developing Greco pugs go through when they travel overseas.
Both Kanari and Masi, though with varying styles, hit on common themes. Masi readily acknowledges the technical differences at play between he and his Russian counterparts, but also intimates that the experience served as an inspiring catalyst towards summoning the devotion and desire necessary to compete at the level of difficulty most associated with Eastern European athletes.
But — Masi isn’t quite through yet. On Saturday, he and the US Seniors still on the tour are set to compete in Sweden’s Haparanda Cup. And following that event will be one more training camp before the trip concludes with the Haavisto Cup in Finland on December 8th.
Raffaele Masi — 60 kg, NMU/OTS
“Full disclosure, I got destroyed at the Lavrikov tournament. I wrestled a Russian who teched my teammate before me. My match with him was not much different. I figured that Russia would be a place where my perspective of ‘good’ wrestling would be changed, and the experience proved me right. Honestly, I feel so grateful for that match. It was my first match since I began training at the Northern Michigan University Olympic Training Site, and truly, the beginning of my Greco-Roman wrestling career. That match reinvigorated me and I fell in love with wrestling all over again.
“I could not wait to begin our training camp in Russia. The club that hosted the USA guys was awesome. It was really cool to see such a big sporting complex dedicated to grappling combat sports. I wish there were more of those back in the states. I feel like the support Russia gives their wrestlers plays a big role in their success on the mat. Many of the tournament’s champions trained at this club, so it was a great opportunity for us to learn a lot and improve on our wrestling.
“It became clear almost immediately that the biggest difference between Russian wrestling and USA wrestling is that they seem to have a much deeper understanding of how to wrestle in the par terre position, both on top and on bottom. I was able to pick up on some nuances that I know will help me in my career. I am thankful for how willing the Russians were to show us techniques and give us pointers during the camp. Russia was a great experience and I am excited for the next leg of the tour in Sweden.”