The 2022 college wrestling national championships are over … but the great...
Wrestling is just one way the Fishers love to compete
Photo: Washington native Chris Fisher (left) introduced wrestling to his daughter Herra shortly after she was adopted.
By Bill X. Barron
At six years old, Washington’s very own Herra Fisher may be the nation’s most formidable, combined wrestler and fighter after winning the coed 6U 61-pound RMN national championship and Outstanding 6U Wrestler Award this June.
Later that month, Herra dominated the Fight to Win Summer Nationals Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. Representing the world-class Siri BJJ of Kennewick, Wash., led by five-time World champion Gustavo Pires, Fisher won 12 matches in three 6U & 8U brackets, all by submission.
Like a ninja, the Spokane athlete seamlessly transitions from style to style, position to position, choking out an opponent in a BJJ contest, then throwing an unsuspecting opposing wrestler to the mat.
Herra’s father and coach, Chris, grew up in the wrestling room so to speak. From day one, Chris embraced the wrestling family into which he was adopted, going on to win eight youth state titles.
Likewise, the day after she was born, Herra was at matside watching Chris coach. A natural athlete, by age 3 Herra was practicing ballet as well as swimming and riding a bike with no training wheels. She also participates in gymnastics, kickboxing, rock climbing, dance, piano and singing.
Chris’s coaching philosophy begins with an enjoyment of the sport.
“Enjoy the high moments and the work it takes to grind to the top but, just as importantly, have fun while doing so and enjoy the process,” he said. “There’s beauty in the struggle. There’s no reason to make wrestling harder than it is. It’s already the toughest sport on earth.”
Chris also affectionately refers to his daughter as, “Herra Rose The Last Dragon.”
“The Last Dragon comes from her Chinese heritage because she’s half Chinese,” said Chris.
As much as Chris enjoys seeing his daughter win, he finds solace in her losses as well, knowing that adversity equals opportunity. “I like her to lose and enjoy those moments to grow with her.
“As much as we win, we learn more when we fail, and it’s a testament to our willpower and mental fortitude,” he said. “How do we bounce back? Do we rise to the occasion or crumble beneath the pressure?
“In tournaments, we intentionally challenge the best wrestler regardless of age group or weight. Herra’s work ethic is innate and unmatched. Losing fuels her competitive fire. She puts those kids on her hit list for the next event in the process of achieving her dreams of an Olympic gold!”
Chris goes on to say, “RMN Events are quite special. They have world-class awards, an outstanding opening prayer, and top-notch staff who treat us as family. You compete against the best kids in the nation in a family-oriented and God-fearing atmosphere.”
Herra and Chris first trained in Richland with Travis Ayers and the Tri-Cities WC before relocating to Empire Wrestling Club with coach Alexio Garcia. Garcia was recently hired as the women’s head coach for defending national champion McKendree University in Illinois.
With Pires training Herra in Jiu-Jitsu, Anthony Hamlett (All-American and BJJ black belt) of Northwest Elite works with her in wrestling. Hamlett has mentored and coached Herra since she first expressed interest in wrestling.
Herra also cross-trains with many different gyms and clubs. Most notably, she practices at the Spokane WC with head coach Mike Pursel, Cobra WC out of Oregon with Marc Sprague, and Kalispell WC coached by Rich Vasquez and Nathan Sweat.
Many different clubs, as well as wrestlers, have contributed to Herra’s success. Training partners who have had the most significant influence on her recent accomplishments are Sadie Sweat (RMN national champion) and Parker French (Tulsa Nationals champion and Reno Worlds champion).
Herra’s goals for this year consist of being a recipient of the RMN Ring of Fame, earning a second RMN national championship and OW Award, and winning WOW’s Double Trinity Award in both the boys and girls division, in addition to becoming a double OW recipient.
In 2022-23, Herra also plans to win three national BJJ tournaments alongside her professor and World champion Coach Pires. In so doing, she aims to get noticed by FloWrestling and FloGrappling, obtaining support and sponsorships for her continued growth in wrestling and jiu-jitsu. Herra has expressed interest in international jiu-jitsu competitions in Brazil and wrestling tournaments overseas with a focus on BJJ.
“We train with the best to beat the best, making lifelong friends and relationships along the way,” asserts Chris. “As hard as we work, we play just as hard!”
“My goal is to be a better father and coach than I was yesterday,” proclaims Chris, “and thereby nurture a better daughter and wrestler without burning her out by making it more about fun than work.
“Coaching takes a village. Many people have provided us with opportunities to help get Herra to where she is. I want Herra to be passionate, not necessarily about winning but about the chance to grow by putting herself to the test and trial by fire!”
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