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    Saturday, March 30, 2019

    Smark Healthy: Wrestling For Fitness

    When someone mentions the term pro wrestling, what often comes to mind are big sweaty mean in body hugging tights or trunks slamming each other into the ground in a myriad of ways. While technically true, pro wrestling can also be a source of exercise for health and fitness. That's the vision that Greg Glorious, Dennis "the Ladykiller" Hui, and the rest of Grapple MAX have for their organization.

    Last weekend, I got the chance to watch them live in Singapore the actiFIT Asia event held in the Marina Bay Sands. Yes, folks. Pro wrestling has finally made its way to one of the most luxurious hotels in Singapore and all of Asia. As part of the actiFIT Asia expo, the promotion joined other sporting spectacles and fitness activities such as the Singapore Powerlifting Open, the Singapore Kickboxing Championships, the WFF Dennis WorldWide Pro/Am Classic, and various group classes with the Les Mills Live group workout area taking a whole hall for itself.

    They REAAAAAALLY love their Les Mills
    Aside from the expected pro wrestling matches, which included an uuuuuh-mazing clash between the members of the now disbanded GST (Greg Glorious and Smart Dave) AWGC Jr. Heavyweight Champion from MyPW Shaukat slapping the shit out of Showtime and the Marina Bay Slam Tournament which DJ Kal eventually won, I would have to say that the highlight of my trip was the open public seminar.

    For two days, Greg Glorious held a free one-hour trial session for the attendees. It consisted of two parts: a) the basics of how to take a bump, and b) a short chain wrestling sequence. The lessons were the same for both days, but that was perfectly fine for me. I came there for the full experience.

    Part 1: Taking A Bump

    You can't learn how to take someone down without knowing how to take it yourself as well. Since there are many different types of bumps, learning the most basic one is a great foundation towards the rest. It's not just being able to make your opponent look good, it's also a matter of keeping you safe.
    1. Lie down flat on your back, tuck your chin in, hands up, and slam them palms facing down at a 90-degree angle away from your body.
    2. From a squatting position, with your arms in front, lean back a little and let gravity take its course. Slam as your back hits the mats while remembering to keep your chin tucked in.
    3. Group into two, with person A standing perpendicular to the left of Person B, who will be taking the bump. A will have his/her right foot on B's left foot. A will give B a slight chop. B will then squat down and kick out his free foot as he performs Stage 2. The only difference will be that B's left foot will remain on the ground because of A keeping it in place, while the right foot will be up in the air.

    Part 2: Chain Wrestling

    So this was the seriously fun part, and in hindsight, the appropriate aspect of pro wrestling to showcase in a fitness expo. It likely had the least risk of injury and provided a very satisfying feeling when we managed to execute the moves. I made the most of the experience by attending both seminar days, along with one other fan, Jason.

    NICE Boys in Singapore. Also, Shaukat merch.
    The sequence that we were taught went like this:

    1. Tie up
    2. Wrist Lock
    3. Reversal into Wrist Lock
    4. Back Take into Waist Lock
    5. Ankle Pick Reversal
    6. Leg Submission

    Without going into the full details of each step (I leave that to more experienced instructors), I will say this: this is where I started to understand the concept of wrestling for fitness comes in. To be able to do each step correctly requires not just learning the steps, but constant drilling as well. Just like in other grappling sports and disciplines, the point of repeating moves over and over again is to develop muscle memory and have it become second nature and automatic. After that, the flair comes in, but the basics still matter more. Good foundations make for good development.

    My partner and I spent the first day learning the moves and the second day performing them over and over again while working on our trouble areas. Personally, I found the wrist lock reversal the most challenging, as to how to spin in and out and remembering how to properly hold the wrist after. It was frustrating at first. But thanks to the instructors, Greg Glorious and "Wildfire" Remus, I was able to achieve some form of improvement on it. Granted, it's just a total of two hours of training, but we'll take what we can get.

    I guess that's what keeps people coming back. The feeling of being able to do it better than yesterday, to finally get to do it right more consistently is a great motivational tool. Not to mention the fact that we got to showcase what we learned at the end of the seminar to a crowd (thanks for the intro, Shawnrick!).

    I left the Marina Bay Sands wanting more of the experience. I believe it's a model that could work here in the Philippines. With the mainstream acceptance of culture once thought limited to kids, and the rise in popularity of grappling disciplines, there's a place here for the appeal of learning pro wrestling. Though not everyone may aspire to graduate from bootcamp and actually perform in the ring as part of the roster, the training and conditioning that come from it is surely of value. To everyone in Grapple MAX, thank you. That was awesome.

    (Jason has signed up for classes with the hopes of one day becoming a professional wrestler. Wish you all the luck, buddy.)

    Photo and video credits go to Grapple MAX, actiFIT Asia, and my own personal account
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    Item Reviewed: Smark Healthy: Wrestling For Fitness Rating: 5 Reviewed By: George Carlos Pastor
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