Tell us about yourself.
I am 23 years old, and I am currently working as a research assistant in a psychology lab at Princeton University in New Jersey. I graduated from Harvard University in 2001, where most of my coursework was focused in Developmental Psychology. However, in my free time I do freelance web design and photography. Many of my websites are wrestling related, including the popular “Amateur Wrestling Photos”, which displays action photographs from amateur wrestling events.
I was born in Boston, Massachusetts and I lived in Cambridge, MA for most of my life. My father, Roger Hobeika, is from Beirut, Lebanon and moved to the USA in the 1970s, when he met my mother. My mother, Ruth Hobeika, is originally from Allentown, PA.
No one in my family has ever wrestled before, so I am the first Hobeika to take up the sport.
What are your best achievements and titles?
- Women's US National Team Member 2002-2003 at 112 lbs and 1998-1999 at 101 lbs;
- 2nd place at the 2002 US Senior Nationals at 112 lbs;
- 2002 University National Champion at 112 lbs;
- 3rd place at the 2002 Women's World Team Trials at 112 lbs;
- 2nd at the 2002 USGWA Folkstyle National Championships and 4th at the USGWA Freestyle Championships at 114 lbs;
- 3rd at the 2001 Clansman International Open at 112 lbs;
- 2nd at the 1999 Sunkist International Open at 101 lbs;
- Earned All-American status in 1998, 1999, 2001, and 2002;
- Assistant coached the Menlo College Women's Wrestling team in 2001.
Who was your most notable coach?
In college, one of my coaches at Harvard was Granit Taropin, a former Soviet National Coach and former head coach of the Dynamo Kiev Wrestling Club. Granit mentored three Olympic gold medallists including the Belaglasov twins, Sergey and Anatoly, Olympic Champions in Moscow and Seoul.
When did you start doing wrestling?
I started wrestling in 1997, when I was a senior in high school.
Did you participate in different sports?
Yes. I participated in swimming and tennis in high school, and soccer when I was in middle school.
Why have you chosen a combative sport, quite unusual activity for a woman? What encouraged you to participate in it?
In high school, I was the captain of the swimming and tennis teams at my school but I had gotten bored of these sports and wanted to move onto something more challenging.
One of my male friends was the captain of the wrestling team and he invited me to come and watch one of his meets. After watching the competition, I became intrigued by the sport because it was so physically and mentally challenging.
I continue to wrestle because it is such a fun sport. Unlike swimming, where you just go back and forth across the pool for hours, wrestling is different every time you step onto the mat. Depending on your opponent or training partner's style,
you constantly are seeing different moves and learning different techniques that you can use to take down your opponent.
Did close body contact in wrestling bother you at the beginning?
Why did you choose just freestyle wrestling rather than any other form of martial arts (for instance, Judo)?
Just circumstances or you selected this form of wrestling as the best sport?
Wrestling was offered as a competitive sport at my high school whereas other forms of martial arts were not.
Do you participate in Greek-Roman wrestling competitions as well? Why there are not many girls in Greek-Roman wrestling?
I have not participated in Greco-Roman wrestling at all. Not many women compete in G-R because it relies mostly on upper body strength
and women are generally weaker than men in their upper body areas.
Do you see any advantages of freestyle wrestling over other combative sports?
I haven't tried any other combative sports so I can't really answer this question.
What is the difference between Folkstyle wrestling and regular freestyle wrestling?
In the USA, men in college and high school wrestle folkstyle. Most of the techniques from the standing position are the same but are scored differently.
In freestyle, you get more points for throwing your opponent or taking them down to his/her back whereas in folkstyle, all takedowns are worth 2 points.
In terms of wrestling on the mat, in folkstyle, when you are on bottom you are trying to stand up and get out or reverse your opponent. In freestyle, if you are on top, you have about 15-20 seconds to expose your opponents back and if you don't, you are put back up in the standing position. So, a good strategy if you are on bottom in freestyle is to go flat and make your body very heavy to avoid being turned for about 15-20 seconds.
In freestyle, the top persons can lock their hands, which is illegal in folkstyle, so there are a lot more moves that you can execute. Also, to score back points in freestyle you only have to expose your opponent's shoulders over 90 degrees, whereas in folkstyle it's 45 degrees.
What wrestling techniques are your favorites?
My favorite moves from the neutral (standing) position are an arm drag to a single-leg takedown, a fireman's carry, a high-crotch takedown, and an arm throw.
From the par-terre position (on the mat) I like using a leg lace, an arm bar, and a high gut wrench.
What does "takedown" mean?
Takedown usually means when you attack an opponent's legs as opposed to a throw. It is a general term for scoring in wrestling.
For example, if I hit a "duck under" where I duck and come behind my opponent and take her down to the mat, that is also considered a takedown even though
I didn't touch my opponent's legs. But usually a takedown refers to when you lower your body level and shoot at the opponent's legs.
In order to get a score a position must be fixed when "an opponent is lying or standing on knees and arms and you are behind".
(Look at the last 9 photos on the right).
Please describe the specific terms for wrestling moves.
Fireman's carry. I am attempting a fireman's carry on the photograph below left. It's where you are holding the arm and the leg of your opponent and then you take her over your own head onto her back. (This technique came from Sambo - FSCClub).
High-crotch takedown. A high-crotch takedown is when you grab your opponent's leg up at the thigh (near the crotch) and then proceed to use the hold to take her down. On the photo
below right I am attempting I high-crotch takedown
Arm throw . Basically, you grab your opponent's arm and turn through, attempting to throw her. Below (left) my opponent is trying to do an arm throw on me.
Leg lace . A leg lace is when you wrap your arms around
your opponent's legs and then roll your opponent through, exposing your
opponent's back. I am attempting leg lace on the picture below (right).
Arm bar. At the front photograph I am attempting an arm bar: my arm is holding my opponent's arm to her back and I am trying to use the hold to drive my opponent onto her back.
High gut wrench. This is really hard to explain.... Ill try to do it later because I have to run a psycho experiment... (Belly clutch from back by a hand "wrench' - FSCClub).
Is there difference in techniques between light and heavy categories?
I think the heavier weight classes tend to rely more on throws than takedowns.
Is there a wrestler who you particularly want to compete with or it doesn’t matter for you who to compete?
I like competing against the best wrestlers in the nation because I like the challenge and because I can measure my own development against them each time I wrestle them.
What is the difference between men's wrestling and women’s wrestling?
In general, the men are stronger and quicker so their takedowns are often more explosive. However, there are always exceptions to this rule -- some female wrestlers, such as Tocarra Montgomery, Patricia Miranda, Stephanie Murata, and others -- are very explosive and technical and are really fun to watch.
Do you wrestle with men? What do you think about mixed competitions?
I practice a lot with men but never compete against them. I am against the idea of mixed competitions because they seem to present a lose-lose situation to the athletes, but I think mixed practices are fine.
Do you feel yourself as a special woman; do you stand out among ordinary non-combative women? Is it visible for other people that you are a wrestler?
I don't feel like I stand out at all as different from women who participate in non-combative sports. Perhaps I mentally approach things a bit differently, but physically most people are surprised when I tell them I am a wrestler because I don't appear to be big and strong (which is how the public stereotypes wrestlers).
Do you really recommend women participating in the combative sports?
I definitely recommend wrestling and other combative sports to females. I think they are a great way to get in touch with both your body and your mind, as both have to be working together when you participate in a contact sport.
Don't you think that some female wrestlers (not you though) look too mannish?
No, most of the female wrestlers I know are very feminine.
Could you please describe the protective wears, which are used by female wrestlers? Personally for me it still sounds strange that women might wrestle in close body contact without real harm.
There are no protective items. We just wrestle in our singlets and wrestling shoes (some people wear head gear to prevent getting cauliflower ear).
How men react when realize you are a wrestler?
Some are intrigued and often men have spontaneously asked me to wrestle them at bars or parties or wherever I met them. It's kind of funny.
What do you feel when an opponent pins you?
I am disappointed in myself and feel that I could have fought harder.
Who pays for travelling and lodging during tournaments? Do you get paid for wrestling?
The club team I wrestle for, The Dave Schultz Wrestling Club, pays for lodging and meals and I pay for my plane ticket.
Well, really truly amateur sport… Do you like watching wrestling? What is more exciting for you, men's or women’s competitions?
I love watching wrestling. I think men's wrestling is more exciting to watch, but I also enjoy watching the women because most of them are my friends and I can learn a lot from them.
What your parents think about your enthusiasm in wrestling?
At first they were a little hesitant that I wanted to take on a combative sport but then when they saw how much I loved it they became excited about it too.
What is your hobby (besides wrestling)?
I enjoy tennis, running, photography, web design, listening to music, playing scrabble, dancing, and spending time with my friends.
If you have a chance please visit our site and tell us from the professional perspective what you think about it.
I like the design of the splash page a lot -- the 4 blue photos in a square array. I think it's well organized, but you have to scroll down a lot on some pages. May be add some more graphics in your template design. But overall I like it a lot! There is a lot of great information on there!!!
We thank Danielle for her interview and wish her to achieve great success in any fields of activity she participate in. Please visit her personal WEB site.
December 24, 2002
Renewed in November 2012
Calendars made by Danielle
Photo from the web resource MySpace
Danielle Hobeika with Andrei Arlovsky, Belarusian mixed martial artist and former Undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship Heavyweight Champion
in wrestling actions