Latino wrestler overcomes mental health challenges

San Andres debuts in Chicago, Illinois.  Photo courtesy Basil Mahmud

Born and raised in Toronto, Andres Antonio Humana, 24, or better known as San Andres is a half Cuban and Chilean wrestler expressing the “cholo” culture.  

“I always had the name San Andres and my old trainer said I should dress like a cholo,” Humana says. “As soon as I put the outfit on, I knew this was it.” 

San Andres (plaid shirt) with his partner, Half Baked Kid (Kris Chambers (black pants)  winning the tag team championship against Tommy Vendetta and Aaron Orion in July 2019. Credits: Superkick’d

“It’s like live-action theatre. Every slap, kick, body slam, they are all real,” Humana says.

Some people may avoid this sport because it is scripted. Even though the physical actions are real, how can it be considered a competitive sport?

“I think it can be extremely competitive. Everyone wants to be the best wrestler.” Humana says. “Whether you want to be the best good guy, bad guy, on the ring, on the mic — they want to be known as the best in what they do.” 

Hamilton resident, Vanessa Nash-Gale, has been attending Superkick’d events with her husband for many months now. She also is a big fan of Humana.

“He very quickly became one of my favorites on the Superkick’d roster. Simply because of his storyline at the time. The first time I saw him wrestle was May of this year. He lost his title to Jake Something.” Gale says. “Then Orlando Christopher took the title from Jake. A month after, Jake was supposed to wrestle Orlando for the belt, but Orlando couldn’t because he hurt himself. Right then, San Andreas comes out of the ring, out of the smoke, like a magician. I knew that was it, I became a fan of him then on.”

So, what is Superkick’d? Unlike international televised wrestling, the local level is much more interactive with fans. So much so, that it can possibly get attendees caught up between the fights.

“Superkick’d be basically a rock show combined with fight club,” Humana explains. “We just have a great time. Music is playing, wrestling is going, people are drinking, it’s quite an experience.”

Humana conducts a double suplex on Mark Wheeler and Shaun Moore in July 2017, King of the 6ix (KOT6) event.)

Every career has its ups and downs. Recently Humana got to a low point, opening up on Instagram about the mental side of wrestling.

“I was at a very low point when I made that post. I would walk into places I call home and I’ll feel like a stranger like I do not belong there.” Humana says. “I’ve wanted to express myself like that for a very long time but I never had the courage to. I felt like doing that might help someone to relate to.”

Violent sports like wrestling might not offer a way to relieve stress for everyone, as the sport itself can get highly stressful. Humana, however, uses wrestling as a form of escape.

“Wrestling gives me a chance to be someone else and not worry about the stuff that’s going back home or whatever the case may be,” Humana says. “Wrestling has definitely helped me. Anytime I feel down or whatnot, I would like to get in the ring and that usually clears my mind.”

Some fans like Gale are also aware of the mental health battles that wrestlers have to go through.

“I think wrestling can affect a wrestler’s mental health negatively. If you’re just a jobber that sets up to fail week after week, that can take a toll on your feelings of self-worth and losing confidence in your career,” Gale says. “I also think it can do great things for your mental health. Whether you are cheered or booed, you have fans and build a community around you. Especially if you are portrayed as the enemy and really good at it, hearing the really loud boo, is just as gratifying as being cheered.” 

Along with wrestling Humana is also very much associated with another source of stress relief which is marijuana.

“My opinion on marijuana when it comes to mental health [is] it helps me a lot. I’m only speaking from my experiences — when it comes to anxiety or stress I roll a joint and smoke it, it definitely calms me down.” Humana shares. “It also helps me with workouts and after matches, if it was a brutal match. I’ll definitely then smoke one up and it’ll make me feel much better.”

Humana is also working on music with his longtime friend’s record label, Broken Hearted Bastards. It is something personal for him under his real name.

“What makes it personal is the stuff I talk about, which I felt for a while,” Humana says. “I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one that has experienced these things. Once the record is done and I release it, then you’ll understand why it is personal to me.”

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Posted: Dec 10 2019 12:18 pm
Filed under: Community Education Events Features Local Sports Other Sports Profiles Sports