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University of the Rockies Student to Compete at 10th World University Wrestling Championship in Finland
Captain Jon Anderson brings psychology lessons to the mat

When U.S. Army Captain Jon Anderson steps onto the wrestling mat in Kuortane, Finland later this week, he’ll have six minutes to prove himself on the world stage.

It’s the “brain training” that has propelled Anderson from unranked in the wrestling world to an international threat in just a few years.

Anderson was a nationally ranked wrestler at the United States Military Academy at West Point, where cadets are trained to use their thoughts and emotions to dramatically affect human performance. He continues to study “mental toughness” today as a graduate student at University of the Rockies. He is working towards a Master of Arts in Psychology, with a specialization in Sport and Performance Psychology. 

Despite Anderson’s collegiate rankings, his wrestling career didn’t “take off” until five years after his graduation from West Point. After several years of active-duty military service, including a tour in Iraq, he returned to the United States and won the 2010 Army Combatives Championship – defeating professional mixed martial artists and reigniting his desire to compete.

“Winning the Army Combatives Championship and performing well as a Company Commander earned the faith of my supervisors,” says Anderson. 

That faith, and a third place finish at the 2012 Olympic Trials, led to an appointment with the Army’s World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). Housed at Fort Carson, WCAP provides soldier-athletes with the support and training needed to compete in national and international competitions leading to the Olympic Games. Only 10 months before the Olympic trials, Anderson began training in Colorado Springs.

With the ability and resources to train intensively, Anderson quickly rose in the world of wrestling. He won the 2011 Armed Forces Championship and placed third in the Greco-Roman Olympic trials, making him a second alternate for the U.S. wrestling team and a member of the U.S. national team.

Crediting his quick success to his mental skills training, Anderson will compete at the 10th World University Wrestling Championship in Finland October 2-7, 2012 – one of several international events on his upcoming competition schedule.

“I lost to everybody at first,” says Anderson. “But I persevered. I slowly climbed the ladder and now the sky is the limit.”

Anderson challenges his clients – and himself – to pursue multiple goals at once. He says our brains work optimally when we pursue multiple goals simultaneously. “This helps us develop and pursue our priorities in life. For me, my priorities are my faith, family, and then profession.

By setting goals in all areas of my life, I’m able to achieve more,” says Anderson. “When I do well at wrestling, I become more prepared to do well in school and in other personal goals. We gain confidence from successes in all areas of our life.”

Anderson also credits his wife. “My wife is also a big reason for my success, with her unwavering support, as well as the rest of my family and friends,” he says.

Anderson has a lot of goals on his agenda. He will be juggling the 10th World University Wrestling Championship with a homework assignment that is due at the close of the tournament.  


About University of the Rockies

University of the Rockies is an advanced graduate institution for tomorrow’s thought leaders. The University provides an intimate and dynamic learning environment, offering highly specialized master’s and doctoral degree programs in the social and behavioral sciences, access to industry experts, campus clinical programs for practical experience, and research and publishing opportunities. University of the Rockies is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association ( Small by design, University of the Rockies classes are presented in a progressive online format and at its Colorado Springs, Colorado, campus. For more information, please visit or call Shari Rodriguez, associate vice president of Public Relations, at 866.621.0124 x2513.