On Being a Wrestler

Comments (7)

Sturdy (31) 8/30/2010 9:28 PM

Nat, I wish you were in the UK. Or more guys like you!

I love wrestling for so many reasons, it's great meeting others who are just as passionate about it. I've been doing it for a few years and I'm still learning but that's great, I love to learn new things, and also teaching newbies the stuff I know.

I've done various martial arts and always enjoyed the sparring and grappling most of all. These days I just do submission because I enjoy it more than anything else, though my previous training has helped by giving me some grounding.

It's such an intense physical and mental rush and challenge, it makes me feel alive like nothing else. Being a wrestler also gives me a great feeling of physical confidence, which is an important thing for anyone to have, but especially so if you work in security like I do.

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MancsMonkey (0) 8/20/2010 6:52 PM

We are of one mind in this. I love gettin pinned, mind u!

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wrestlernatl (1) 8/20/2010 4:29 PM

My feeling is that the more you practice, the moves become ingrained into your "muscle memory", pretty much the same thing that happens in learning to play piano or any other musical instrument. If you are learning to play a piece of music, you have to play it repeatedly until you no longer have to 'think' about what you are doing, but the muscles already know what they are supposed to do, and just perform it automatically, as you having risen above the process are able to control the dynamics, speed, etc. as the piece plays out. In music, if you have to 'think' about what you are doing next, it will never come across right. In competitive wrestling, if you have to 'think' about your next moves, the other guy will have you pinned before you figure it out.

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MancsMonkey (0) 8/20/2010 12:43 PM

Cheers mate. Thank u for your erudition on many things. Yes, u r right abt the chess analogy not being quite rite because there is no turn taking in (sub) wrestling.

This is quite a dialogue and thanks for the practical tips on t-shirt printing, life, the universe (of wrestling) etc. I agree with what you say about knowing moves and the rules of the game instinctively. Indeed, that reflects the thinking of French philosopher, sociologist and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930 - 2002) who developed the idea of 'habitus' - practices that are so deeply sedimented in our bodies that they are performed without the need for forethought. Crucial, to his thinking is that habitus - enduring but not eternally fixed - is heavily inflected/influenced by structures relating to social class, gender etc. Hence we only feel our social class when we are out of it and made to feel 'fish out of water.' For me, that would be goin' to a big posh 'do'! However, our gay rasslin community seems partly to buck the expectation that wrestlin' would appeal to working class gay men, as most of the guys I have meet tend to be middle class. BUT, they have often become so by education and life experience (forms/sources of cultural capital). Many guys I have spoken with can fondly remember ITV's WoS on a Sat afternoon in the 70s and 80s! And having to hide erections under newspapers, crossed legs or visits to the toilet! This suggests that our ever developing sexuality is also a factor that shapes habitus. Or maybe we just like to get our rocks off with a bit o ruff and tumble!

MM

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wrestlernatl (1) 8/20/2010 2:12 AM

The thing about the chess analogy is the part that doesn't fit - you don't have to wait your turn. In wrestling, you had better not have to think about your next move or it will be too late. The point of practicing so much is so the moves will come to you instinctively, without having to think about it. So you get the move done before your opponent can react. It is best to teach the moves in complete series, all the way to the pin, to be performed in a smooth sweeping motion without the need to think about it.

As for tshirts etc. - You can make your own design on your computer. Photoshop is great if you have it, or if you don't, the GIMP is better and it's free. A lot of fun to play with as well, check it out. Then you can buy iron-on tshirt transfer sheets at Office Depot or a similar store, and print them in reverse (mirror image) and just iron them on to your shirts. I've done that a good bit.

If you need to make a bunch of shirts (I do sometime) it gets to be expensive to buy the transfer sheets (about $1.50 each) so you might save money by making a one color design, printing it in black on clear acetate sheets, and using a photoemulsion to create a screen, then silk screen as many shirts as you need. Also a baseball cap with "wrestling" on it works.

You'd probably be surprized at how many guys will comment on your shirt, if they are interested in wrestling, probably a lot more than you'd think.

And one more point about continuing the sport as you get older - You don't see many guys online that wrestle at over 60 years old. But if you stick with it, there is no reason that you can't. In India, wrestling is the national sport, most every small village has a wrestling location (acara?) where it is practiced daily, and the local wrestling "gurus" who know the moves and teach them, are often in their 80's or 90's. Now that is what I'd call a successful life, to be that old and still be wrestling every day. As compared to say a western culture businessman of 65 y.o. who might have a lot of money in the bank, but still walking around with the little oxygen tank behind with the tube taped under the nose. I'd rather be the poor old indian guy wrestling every day, even if I couldn't afford a pot to piss in.

In the US, Billy Martin of Virginia(who created the Granby system), was a great wrestler and coach and mentor to many, just died 2 or 3 years ago, and he wrestled up to 89 years old. His sons said that when he stopped trying to wrestle everyone, they knew he didn't have much time left. He was and still is truly an inspiration to many.

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MancsMonkey (0) 8/19/2010 1:25 PM

Well put mate! I'm just startin' this game and it makes me realise just how much I need to put in to get anywhere near bein' ok at it. I like the chess analogy - reading possible next moves and thinkin' ahead to where u want to go and how to pin/make your opponent submit. It is a sport that combines for many of us the physical, intellectual and the erotic, which are often blurred in the action of the moment. And I have met so many lovely guys too without all the crap yer get on the commercial scene. There's not one guy I can say so far that I have taken any dislike to - apart from one nasty cyber-idiot on Recon. There's always one.

Actually, I've seen several (het?) guys wearing a t-shirt in Manchester emblazoned with "Wrestling is my favourite sport" Any idea where these can be got from anyone? Suppose u cld get one printed with "All-in Wrestler" on it. More guys will want to join us if they know that it's "all in" eh, lads?

I also like the fact that in our community, there is value given to a range of bodies and there is an erotic and aesthetic appreciation of bigger guys. You dont have to be ripped to get a wrestle or more...

And I could sure do with some skills transference like u suggest Wrestlmatl. Problem for me is findin' the time at then moment and limited opportunities to travel. But, good on yer mate. To paraphrase the much maligned philosopher, Karl Marx, "Wrestlers of the World Unite. We have Nothing to Lose But Our Chains!" MM

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wrestlernatl (1) 8/19/2010 11:49 AM

I've been wrestling folk/freestyle since I was a kid. It takes many years to get good at wrestling. At last count I think there were way over 5,000 different moves and that wasn't counting the combinations. Just knowing how the moves are perfomed technically isn't the same as having worked them into your inventory of moves. Practice is essential, and that takes time. Wrestling is the most intellectually technical sport there is, like playing chess only there are more pieces to move, and more ways to move them (and, you don't have to wait your turn).

Stick with wrestling as long as you can. Just because you are out of school and you aren't on a team anymore is no reason to stop. There are lots of clubs around the country, most likely there is one near you. If not, keep looking for other friends to wrestle, you will find some. Get some tshirts or a baseball cap that say "wrestling" on it if ya have to. If you are really ambitious, you might even start your own wrestling club.

Wrestling will keep you in great shape as long as you stick with it, better than any other sport. You will get stronger and stay strong. I'm at least as strong now as I've ever been, as far as I can tell, and much stronger than most younger guys my size. Younger guys may have longer endurance, but I can't say that mine has gotten that much less than it has ever been. It's mostly a matter of staying with it.

I mostly teach other guys how to wrestle these days, and I coach some wrestling camps. Most of the guys are high school or college aged. It isn't very often that I find a really competitive match. If I do it is usually with another guy who's been wrestling since he was a kid and at least into his 30's if not 40's, and very often quite a bit bigger than me. Younger guys in their 20's usually just don't have that much tecnique. If they wrestled in high school, that usually amounts to about 3 months of wrestling for each year, and most didn't wrestle more than 3. College wrestlers are of a different magnitude, and then again are those from Iowa or it's competitors. Then those of international competition. It takes years.

If you do know how to wrestle, don't just stick with it for your own sake, but get out there and teach others. Help some other wrestlers with their technical skills. And you'll be surprized at how much that in it self will end up helping your own technique - when you know it good enough to teach it to someone else, then you really have understood it inside and out. That's how I teach the kids (and older guys as well), I watch how they teach it to one another, and when they can teach it, I know they have really learned it.

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