Much Respect for the Bulgarian National Champs

Posted on Apr 22, 2016 in Bulgaria

Today was another beautiful, wrestling-packed day for the Casco Bay Elite team in Bulgaria. We were able to relax at the hotel for a little while this morning as our first practice didn’t start until 10:00 at Vasil Levski.

After a great warm up we had an extensive Greco technique session with Coach Pavil. We reviewed and drilled all of the techniques we worked on yesterday afternoon – body locks, underhooks, Russian ties and gut wrenches. Coach Pavil’s technique is the model of simplicity. Everything is about getting in the right position to use your opponents pressure against him. Some of the techniques we have used or learned in the past feel brand new when using his approach.

We really can’t thank him enough for the kindness, sportsmanship and generosity he has shown us throughout the trip. Not only has he been our guide to all of the teams and towns we have visited but he has taken an interest in all of our wrestlers and the things they need to improve in the sport.

After lunch we were invited to practice with the National Championship Dimitrovgrad team we scrimmaged against Tuesday. After roughing us up in live wrestling action, they showed tremendous sportsmanship by inviting us back to learn and work on many of the techniques they use.

Jeremy and Peter getting some shut eye on the way to practice.

Jeremy and Peter getting some shut eye on the way to practice.

Although we had a relaxing morning, the kids are getting worn down from two-a-day practices. Many of them slept during the hour and twenty minute ride. They are looking forward to the day off tomorrow.

The kids had a variety of quality workout partners at the practice. We started with a lengthy warm up combining agility drills, gymnastics, and essential skills. Their coach showed scores from neutral and par terre and we had time to learn and drill them. The practice finished up with play wrestling and live situations. Once again we were amazed at how laid back the practice felt but how much quality work the kids did.

After practice we hung out and got to know our hosts a little more. Some kids played games on the mat. The coaches worked on high crotch finishes and counters and many kids spent time trading gear. The wrestlers on this team seem to be a little more well off than some of the others we have practiced with so the trading market was strong and many kids scored great gear.

Everyone is looking forward to our off day tomorrow when we take a sight seeing tour and visit Bulgaria’s natural hot springs.

A view of both teams training at the Dimitrovgrad wrestling room.

A view of both teams training at the Dimitrovgrad wrestling room.