The Japan News by The Yomiuri Shimbun

Home > Education > People



Wrestling taught me lessons for life, so I want to repay this as an instructor

Mr. Tomotsugu Ishida

Ishida perfectly won the 2010 All Japan Student Wrestling Championship and the World University Wrestling Championships without surrendering any points. As his course of play was so perfect, I thought he would be a "perfectionist" in everyday life, but actually he smiles shyly, "I am rough and ready." "I often lose things and fail to keep appointments."

East Japan Student Wrestling League in May 2010

He began wrestling when he was three and immediately became prominent, making a big achievement of winning the national championships for seven consecutive years from second grade of kindergarten to sixth grade of elementary school. While a junior high school student, he didn't win any championship but was always ranked high. Naturally, he received offers of admission on recommendation from several high schools. "I couldn't really decide, but I wanted to go to a school where I could study and also play sports."

He thus had normal entrance examinations and entered Ritsumeikan Uji High School. Boarding with his trainer, he fully tackled his studies and wrestling. When he was a third-year student, he won four national championships including the Inter-High-School Championships and the National Athletics Meet. "As I was a burden on my parents in terms of tuition and living costs, I thought it was my responsibility to win national championships. I was relieved when I did it."

Immediately after entering WASEDA, Ishida decided on his target: "Participation in the London Olympics." The year 2012 is when he will become a fourth-year student of the Olympic year. To realize this goal, he first targeted becoming student champion, and won the All Japan Student Wrestling Championship for the first time in the summer of his second year. He has seriously addressed wrestling by, for example, paying attention to his physical balance even when walking. "Wrestling is a lonely battle. Though people cheer me on, I'm alone on the mat. That's why it is so important to keep a strong will."

To Ishida, what do comrades mean? "They are treasures. As we live in the same dormitory, they are my mental support. I also learn a lot from them, especially the aggressive offense of Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, my peer."

Get-together of the Wrestling Team, Yamaguchi, classmate (right) and Ishida (left)

In the winter of his second year, he decided to fight in the 60kg weight division where Japanese players had achieved the best results in the world. He used to mainly fight in the 66kg weight division, and suffered from the weight reduction that was much tougher than he expected. "What is drawn in the comic, 'Ashita no Joe,' is not exaggerated at all! While reducing weight, I was excessively dehydrated and couldn't sleep. But the more you are suffering, the more you appreciate a little bit of kindness others extend."

When traveling abroad for matches, things are seen in a different way. "There are some economically poor countries where children beg for money while walking on the street. Once you have such an experience, you start to seriously think about the people suffering from poverty around the world."

He has learned a lot through wrestling. That's why he wants to be involved in the sport in the future to repay this. "I'm studying physical education in class. In the future, I want to be an instructor to guide younger people!" He talks about his dream, beaming.

With many hopes and dreams, Ishida commits himself to the target of participating in the London Olympics. "I definitely want to participate in the Games. I want to be wrestling champion!" he talks seriously.* Let's expect great things from him!

*He won second place in the men's freestyle 60 kg competition of the Meiji Nyugyo Cup All-Japan Wrestling Invitational held on April 29 and 30. He took another huge step toward his dream.

East Japan Student Wrestling League (May 17 - 20)

Nice ankle picks!

Meiji Nyugyo Cup All-Japan Wrestling Invitational (April 29 - 30)

(Offered by WASEDA WEEKLY)

Mr. Tomotsugu Ishida

Born in Mie Prefecture in 1989. Fourth-year at the School of Sport Sciences. Graduated from Ritsumeikan Uji High School. Won the Fall Newcomer Championship at the East Japan Student Wrestling Championship. Won the All Japan Student Wrestling Championship in 2009. Won the same championship for two consecutive years and won the World University Wrestling Championships. Loves watching movies featuring Will Smith, the American actor and rapper. He insists, "Will Smith is just so cool!"