Konrad Herrmann is a 22-year-old Victoria local and a student at the University of Victoria taking pre-requisites in the hopes of becoming a pharmacist. He also happens to be a decorated combat wrestler in the 74kg (around 163 lbs) division who won silver for Canada at the Combat Wrestling World Championship in Bucharest, Romania, on Oct. 19.
He puts his win down to a good cardiovascular base, a laissez-fair attitude, learning from failure and – most of all – his family and the people he trains with. He says he’s picked up a lot of different things along the way that have made him a better wrestler.
Basically, Herrmann says, combat wrestling is a mix of jiu jitsu and wrestling, with a modified set of rules and more takedowns. “You can’t use the open guard position,” he says, which means a competitors ankles can never be crossed. “Once the match goes to ground, you only have 30 seconds to submit your opponent.”
“Matt Kaiser at Kaiser Jiu Jitsu definitely coached me a lot, but I’ve been training for about seven years and I’ve picked up a lot of little things along the way,” Herrmann says. He says he did a lot of running as a kid, trained all the time his first two years after high school, trained at an MMA gym, and has been on a power-lifting kick lately.
Herrmann said he had to win a lot of matches in order to win silver in Romania. “On Vancouver Island I think I’ve competed more than anyone else, so there wasn’t really any shock for me there. I competed hard, I’m not really nervous about it I know exactly what I need to do,” he said. “In the end, the American blew me out of the water, he was very good.”
But he wasn’t always this calm and collected. “I used to feel like a lot was on the line,” Herrmann says. “You can’t really get good at jiu jitsu without being submitted a lot of times.” He says his first few competitions weren’t exactly silver medal-worthy, but he learned and improved from those experiences.
Herrmann advises jiu jitsu hopefuls to leave the ego at the door and be open-minded to learning opportunities. “It’s easier said than done, but if you can go into it with an open mind to anything people can teach you, it’ll help improve you,” he said.
Herrmann says he sees jiu jitsu being a hobby for him in a few years, and he hopes to move into more of a coaching role.
“I really enjoy helping people, so pharmacy offers some opportunity for me to help people,” he says, “I’ll definitely still compete so I’ll probably go to Hungary and compete with team Canada if I can win a qualifier again. I might take on a few Super Fights in the meantime.”
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