CAMP ASAKA, Japan -- “I love the brotherhood,” said U.S. Marine Corps Pfc. Scott Lohndorf, legal assistant clerk with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan. “It’s such a niche. If you’re a wrestler you’re automatically a part of something bigger.”
Lohndorf attended the All-Japanese Military-Wrestling Tournament at Camp Asaka, Japan, March 4-5, 2017 as part of the only American team with four other service members. Lohndorf finished second in his individual weight class and received an ‘outstanding wrestler’ trophy, while his team finished in third.
“There were only five weight classes,” said Lohndorf. “I participated in the 85 Kg weight class or 189 lbs. They want to know who the best wrestler is at that weight and in order to be the best you have to wrestle the best.”
During the tournament, participants attended a banquet as a sign of respect to the brotherhood wrestlers are a part of.
“It was a get-to-know-everyone kind of event,” said Lohndorf. “It was in Japanese so it was hard to understand, but people were really friendly. They would come up to us, try their English and put food on our plate.”
Lohndorf’s love for wrestling started when he was a freshman in high school.
“My head coach started teaching at my high school,” said Lohndorf. “We grew through the program together. He’s a role model and he does everything for people. That’s what I love about wrestling, you want to give back to the sport.”
Giving back is exactly what Lohndorf does through passing on his knowledge of the sport at Matthew C. Perry High School.
Lohndorf volunteers his time to coaching the high school wrestling team. Practices are held Monday through Friday and last for two hours. He dedicates four mouths out of the year to help students better their wrestling skills.
Lohndorf also coordinates a camp during the summer for students ages seven to 14.
“I’m not training these kids to get a scholarship to a division one school,” said Lohndorf. “I’m training them to be better people. That’s what this sport did for me, so that’s what I want to give to them. I want to teach them to push themselves, past where their minds think they can go.”
Lohndorf found a passion in wrestling. He’s more than willing to share his sport with people he’s met, friends he’s made and students he’s influenced.
“He’s very dedicated,” said U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Thomas Kimbaris, a mentor of Lohndorf. “He’s always willing to go out and do something, not just sit in a room. He’s active and a competitor.”