Friday, March 28, 2014

Eyes on the Thighs

Kevin Harris is 6'2", 200#. A third of that is thigh meat. Immediately I think "scissors." Of course, who wouldn't? But then I think side headlock, interestingly enough: head clenched between biceps and ribs, so the hands have to grope and claw at those thick, steel-belted thighs. Slabs. Like touching the legs of a marble statue of a youthful Hercules. The urge to humiliate myself before such heroic legs is overwhelming. My heart leaps up into my throat, clobbering my adam's apple. Yeah, I know: sick, kinky, crass. I lose all sense of proportion when confronted with legs like these.

Movimus's latest load is Kevin's third dust-up with Connor Flynn. By now, these two fighters know each other pretty well. They can anticipate each other's moves. They have had time to discover each other's strong and weak spots. I am biased, but I can't help but believe that Connor knows he's doomed before he even steps onto the mat against Kevin. Such doom is exciting and stressful at the same time. (Like being in eighth grade PE and finding out Terry Maxwell wanted to wrestle me because we were the same height and weight. Okay, too confessional. Even I can see that now.)

Kevin gets on top of Connor right quick, pinning his wrists to the hardwood floor off the mat, while Connor locks Kevin's right leg in a figure four, pretty much guaranteeing that the two of them will be tied together for a few minutes. Connor squirms, pushing his head up against Kevin's, trying to nudge himself loose. The wrestlers push and pull, till finally Connor loops his arms around Kevin's waist and rolls the two of them over. But Kevin gets Connor in a headlock, thus tightening the knot their bodies make. There's no ref to pry these guys off each other, so they thrust and twist, each trying to grind the other to a submission.

This kind of close body work sucks me in to the best of Movimus, purveyor of real competitive mat wrestling, featuring hot, aggressive athletes who know what they're doing. Each limb, each joint is a chess piece, and you can almost see the clockwork computations at work behind their blank but intent faces. Each camera shot reveals something that you need to see in order to understand the science of the contest. The heavy breathing underlines the taut contest like a bassline. You have to imagine the sounds of their hearts pounding, but that's easily enough done. You will want to imagine the body heat, too.

Kevin is something else. (I like Connor too. But Kevin.) He manages to combine a strong sense of self-assurance with self-effacing commitment to the struggle as an event of greater importance than the two individuals engaged in it. In this way he reminds me of another NHB-Battle legend now at Movimus: Max Anderson. There's no heel and jobber here for fans to pin their fantasies and emotions on, just the wrestling, sufficient in itself as an action of stark beauty and animal simplicity.

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