Isamar Gutierrez is a fantastic recruiter and the key to the survival of women’s competitive submission wrestling in the greater San Francisco-San Jose Bay Area.

A champion may be simply defined as the winner of the big three C’s; a contest, challenge or competition.

What is a far more involved question is what are the raw materials that make up a champion and how are those essential elements harnessed and molded? Can you be a nice person and remain a champion?

The answer to the later question is easy. Yes. We have the perfect example in the unofficial women’s submission wrestling champion of San Jose, Ms. Isamar Gutierrez. copyright photo copyright photo

When you meet and research the dynamic female submission wrestlers of the San Francisco-San Jose bay area you will see that Isamar has had a hand in training and molding almost all of them. The names are like a who’s who in the female submission wrestling game. Bryn Blane, Penny Barber, Rain Degrey, Kait Snow, Olivia D’Angelo, Bella Rossi, Daisy Ducati, and Samantha Grace from Southern California to name a few. As Samantha has often said, even in defeat, Isamar is her favorite person to wrestle.

My observation of what makes Isamar so influential is her reputation for organizing, training and even taking girls under her wings if they need help. She will give you the blouse off of her back or the wrestling singlet in her closet. If you are in need, just ask. copyright photo copyright photo

In terms of her wrestling, if you ask her, in her estimation she is not winning as much as she used to but it is this writer’s opinion that in some ways she’s actually still improving.

Since I’ve been an active fan of women’s submission wrestling for over 20 years, when I attended a women’s wrestling event in the Berkeley-Oakland east bay area, Isamar was on the card and I knew she would be a front runner. I had researched her wrestling matches and of all the competitors that day made a decision to focus on her.

She would compete well as always but what I liked the most is that she is very down to earth, honest and approachable. We would speak for some time and with a group of competitors later enjoy a sit down lunch and standing outside of the car Isamar whispered to me, “You should shoot women’s wrestling matches”.

Some moments in life you don’t forget.

Here the first of many interviews I would have with the great Isamar.

FCI: Well, welcome. Thanks for being with us today. We know that you are well known in the women’s submission wrestling world but why don’t you introduce yourself.

Isamar: My name is Isamar Gutierrez but I’m often called La Diabla. I don’t know why, but they do (smile).

FCI: Well in the match that we are covering today, once again you are the front runner. You’ve had a great career and we’ve certainly enjoyed watching you over the years.

Isamar: Thanks.

FCI: When you are the favorite and you approach a match like this, what do you do to keep yourself fired up?

Isamar:  I really don’t think about it too much. I wrestle and just do what I need to do and not go super crazy about it.

FCI: So no studying of the competitors?

Isamar: No I don’t really do that, ahead of time or after. I’ve trained for years and years so I just do it. I take whatever comes and deal with it.

FCI: I see. Since you have been wrestling for some time, what do you see as the new challenges in the women’s wrestling game?

Isamar: Hard to say. I guess I have been losing a little bit (Kara) and I can’t take for granted I’m going to automatically win like I used to so I’ve been training harder.

FCI: In your continued success your increased training is showing.

There are some well know quotes that apply to Isamar’s situation. In the professional boxing world at the highest level, Mohammed Ali stated, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”

Viewing life from the skyscrapers of the tennis world, Novak Djokovic was quoted as saying, “In terms of playing ability there is nothing to choose between number one and 100. Instead, it’s a question of who believes and who wants it more? Which player is mentally stronger? Which player is going to fight the hardest in the big points? These are the things that determine who is the champion.”

In the dynamic and fiercely competitive world of track and field, the year was 1960 and Wilma Rudolph became the first American woman to win three gold medals at a single Olympic Games. This seems to apply to Isamar as well. She is quoted as stating, “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”

The movement at Female Competition International,, is to influence the gradual paving of the highways where the mostly faith based institutions that fund the freestyle collegiate women wrestlers, the corporations and the submission female wrestlers competing in volleyball styled attire will converge and meet at an agreed upon symbolic battleground in the future.

It is a process but we truly believe that if fully competitive women’s wrestling has a self-sustaining future it’s important that the contests are not company fights where everyone has known one another for years in the same industry but a contest between strangers from different worlds. This we believe will shift the emphasis in some circles of women’s wrestling from eroticism to fierce competition between each community’s elite.

The Olympic committee made it clear to the freestyle world that they needed to be more innovative if they want continued recognition which seems to be a clear signal that business as usual may have worked before but thinking outside the box is necessary in the future. As summarized in a September 8, 2013 USA Today article there was a quote by IOC president Jacques Rogge stating, “Wrestling has shown great passion and resilience in the last few months. They have taken a number of steps to modernize and improve their sport.”

Isamar laid a great foundation for Northern California women’s submission wrestling in times past and continues to be a vital component in the machinery that will surge the merger between the freestyle and submission women’s wrestling worlds of the future. copyright photo copyright photo

This is the mark of a great champion as well.

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