So this week I did something that if you had told me I was going to do, even a year ago, I’d have laughed in your face.
This week I took part in a taster session for a Professional Wrestling Class.
Uprising Wrestling School were having an open day on the 2nd of October at their training centre on the Springfield Road in Belfast.
It was an open session to give people an idea as to what their Wrestling Classes entail, and let me tell you I now fully know what Professional Wrestling classes entail.
My obsession with wrestling is’t even that old. I went to my first ever live show in February & I was hooked.
I’m aware that it’s scripted entertainment, that aspect of it doesn’t bother me. I love the Good V Evil/Hero V Villain format that the majority of matches take.
I was also aware that its not “fake” you can’t fake a 6.5ft guy landing on you, while you lie prone on the floor from the top turnbuckle is going to hurt, not matter what.
What I wasn’t aware of was the fact that everything hurts.
Everything you see in the ring to a lesser or greater extent is painful. Both for the recipients and in a lot of cases the provider of the wrestling moves we all enjoy to watch happen. Every move that takes place in the ring is sore.
Class started with a warm up for 320 squats.
A WARM UP of 320 squats.
Around the 200 mark my legs stopped working. I don’t mean they were painful. I don’t mean even mean they went to jelly. I mean they stopped following my commands and stopped bearing my own weight. I’ve never felt anything like it.
That was warm up.
So for the next hour of exercises I was a physical wreck. Running on the spot, kicking heels up to touch my ass simple tasks, were now herculean struggles for me.
Forward and backward rolls, practicing things we learn as children caused me to be so disorientated as a guy six months off forty, to have to shamble on my failing legs outside to vomit in a wheelie bin.
I had to sit out the next few exercises. I’m not ashamed I’d given everything I had. Professional Wrestling is not for the faint of heart.
Eventually we moved up onto the ring apron. I had kickboxed from the age of 11 to the age of 22 so it wasn’t the first time I’d been in a ring. There was still something special about standing up there. I felt genuinely privileged.
Damien Corvin the instructor demonstrated front bumps & back bumps. The techniques used to fall safely and with emphasis on appeared impact. “Appeared Impact” They fucking hurt. Yes the arms are used to magnify noise and dissipate impact but it still hurts like you wouldn’t believe to throw yourself down. Rings may sometimes look bouncy, but they aren’t that bouncy – you still hit them hard. Bear in mind that this is from standing. Imagine that impact from the top rope.
We all had a chance at locking up. The first move in every single match. One that decides if the crowd believes the match or thinks its all rubbish. No one was believing my match…
Then one at a time the Pro’s demonstrated on those who were willing to experience it, what being “Chopped” feels like. The strikes you see Wrestlers do on opponents chests with the open palm or back of the hand.
Can you guess what these do?
THEY HURT LIKE YOU WOULDN’T BELIEVE
Three days later as I write this I still have Uprising Wrestler & Coach Brian Corr’s hand print on my chest. I’m also positive he took it easy on me.
Damien Corvin did this to demonstrate to the newcomers that in Wrestling you will experience contact, you will feel pain. It’s a pretty unforgettable lesson.
I came away from the open night with an unshakable doubt that the level of physical training required to attend class with Uprising wasn’t for me. I’m literally too old. I still can’t walk properly or go downstairs without holding onto the rail. Again this doesn’t shame me, I gave all I had and didn’t give up. Its just beyond me now.
I also came away with nothing but the highest possible level of respect for those men and women who do step between the ropes and give their all physically and mentally for us at wrestling shows.
Now knowing what I know, watching a show will have even more intensity for me because I know every strike and fall hurts. I know that every move that the Wrestlers make for us they are paying a steep price for.
Its an experience I will never forget. The wrestling aspect of the training was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever had a chance to do. Seeing close up how the pro’s sell falls. Seeing the control and grace that people like Steven Carvel, Brian Corr & Eddie Stone have in their movements made me feel genuinely honored that Uprising opened their class and their ring to me.
I’ll buy my tickets online, I’ll go to the shows and I’ll clap even louder for the heroes of Uprising, and boo even louder for the villains
I recommend that anyone even slightly interested watches out for the next Uprising open day and takes advantage of the great opportunity to see a little of what it takes to become a Professional Wrestler. You never know, one day soon I might be cheering or booing you.
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