For Vikram Ostrander (10), sports are truly a way of life. His experience in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wrestling has shaped his mindset in both sports and academics.
Ostrander’s experience with martial arts began when he was 12 years old when his mother signed him up for a general martial arts course as a mechanism for self-defense. From a young age, he tried several different types of martial arts, attempting kickboxing, taekwondo, and karate before finally choosing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in 2015.
“Instead of pure aggression and strength, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you learn from your opponent’s momentum and leverage to win matches, whereas in the other arts I focused on just aggression and pure force,” he said. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu specifically, an important strategy Ostrander employed was observing his opponents to find their strengths and weaknesses.
Because of the rigorous environment of the sport, Ostrander gained determination by continuing to persist even through difficult times, he said. When he looks back on his experience with Jiu Jitsu, Ostrander focuses on the experience as a whole rather than specific wins or losses, he said. He looks back fondly at all his competitions, thinking about how his ability to strategize improved with every match, he said.
Last year, Ostrander decided to join the wrestling team when given the opportunity at school. “I wanted to try a new sport and wrestling was pretty similar to what I was doing at the time,” he said.
After quickly developing a passion for wrestling, Ostrander decided to stop doing Jiu Jitsu in order to focus on the new sport. “Wrestling builds the same mental fortitude and persistence as Jiu Jitsu does, but to a further degree,” he said. “I find it more fun.” Ostrander’s choice to join the wrestling team was the team’s “most pleasant surprise,” wrestling Coach Gregg Quilty said.
Despite Ostrander’s preference for wrestling, he remains appreciative of the life lessons in perseverance that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu taught him. He reflects on Jiu Jitsu with a positive outlook as well; both sports taught him to appreciate his natural abilities and try his hardest to strategize in competitions, he said.
Ostrander has improved his wrestling skills because of his own efforts as well as relationships formed with other members of the team. He excels in scoring points through being a leg rider and doing takedowns efficiently, Quilty said. In addition to his own abilities, older members of the team helped Ostrander improve his technique and mindset through working out with him, Quilty said.
Ostrander also uses skills from the martial arts as a way to deal with academic rigor, he said. “The mental drive I learned from both of these sports helps me focus on my work,” he said. He also views wrestling as an escape that allows him to immerse himself in doing something he loves during stressful times.