Martin kittner’s tragic accident was a turning point for AC lichtenfels. Tobias schutz, who will be wrestling for the club in the first division again starting in the second round, can also still remember it. Kittner fractured his sixth cervical vertebra in a fight in 2006 and has been a paraplegic ever since.
In the time that followed, schutz also approached his fights differently, he reports on the shock that the accident caused at the time. His fear, however, was different from what was expected: "I was afraid of hurting an opponent like that." He was not afraid for himself. Because in addition to the muscular strength a wrestler needs, a successful wrestler must also be mentally strong.
"If you think about it, the probability of something happening is relatively high", says schutz. The techniques to be used had to be automated in training. Fear blocks this automatism, so that the technique, as throws and the like are called in wrestling, is not executed correctly under certain circumstances. At some point, explains schutz, you don’t think about it anymore.
The wrestlers learn this right from the start. Schutz knows what he’s talking about. He started himself at the age of five and is now a youth trainer. "We try to teach the kids that in a playful way", he says. The right rolling is taught to them right at the beginning. "When you know how to fall, the fear is gone." Some of us were able to do the movements intuitively, others had to be introduced on the soft mat. Because if counter-actions don’t prevent a technique, then you have to know how to behave when your opponent throws you to the mat.
But despite the routine, despite the training, despite everything: "when you stand on the mat and fight, it takes courage to do so." Sometimes there are up to 1000 spectators whose eyes are fixed on you. Maybe you have to compete against a european and vice european champion, as schutz did in his first two fights in the fall. This creates a pressure that can quickly make you nervous.
This courage is important, that when you put yourself on the mat, you give everything, regardless of the audience. The self-confidence is gained in training through fitness and training fights, which give experience. But the competitive situation cannot be compared to training. Schutz, who has fought over 1000 fights, explains that there are so-called training world champions who are very nervous during important fights. "You have to believe in yourself", schutz sums it up: "that has a self-reinforcing effect." Modesty is not a characteristic with which a wrestler should enter the ring.
This is especially true for themselves. Schutz explains that there are two physical limits to what he can do. The first one could be overcome with mental strength. That is trained with a technique circle. Everyone reaches their limits. When you think you can’t do anything anymore," he says, "you can do something, but you have to want it. At the end we are sprinting from one side of the hall to the other. "Some slow down, others fall down." Then it’s really all over.
Successful are those who have the courage to go to their limits. It happens mainly in the head, but not only in the mind. Schutz has respect for anyone who plays sports with a performance edge. "You have to leave a lot behind, says he, who is training seven to eight times a week for the coming season, when he returns to wrestling after a three-year break.
He could not do it without the support of his wife. Because all competitive athletes have to put up with hardships. Be it friends that you don’t see so often or other things that you have to do without. That is perhaps the most important courage that is needed. The courage to go this way, to train and work hard and give up a lot in the process.