Sunday, March 6, 2016

Best Friends and the Joy of Wrestling

Dave Markus vs Tito Marones, The Rematch (Movimus Wrestling)

This weekend I downloaded two matches from Movimus. I watched one right after the other, twice, and both are terrific, but let me start with the earlier one, Tito versus Dave, a rematch of two "best friends," according to the online description. Best friends or not, this is the first Movimus rematch I've seen that looks like the fighters really have something at stake in it. The action is sharp and energetic. At times Dave and Tito look like they're seconds away from punching each other out, or doing even worse if they weren't, like all Movimus wrestlers, guided by a sense of fair play.

At times a little testy, always forcefully competitive, but they are never angry. For all the fervor and urgency, the two never look less than ecstatic, perhaps because they don't have to hold anything back in this contest, the clearest sign that they are indeed best friends. The action accelerates, occasionally coming to full stop when their bodies are so tied up that they can barely budge. If one gets carried away, perhaps drawing blood, he backs off immediately. Both take a serious pounding. I doubt two strangers--or enemies--would hurl themselves at each other with such wild abandon. This level of intensity requires trust as well as ferocious drive to compete.

Five minutes before the match ends, the two are tied, each having submitted the other once. The frenzy mounts as they dig their heels in and push even harder. No way are they letting this match end in a tie. It's all the more dizzying for me because I think they both rank among the hottest wrestlers in underground wrestling. My loyalty constantly shifts from one to the other, all along feeling a little guilty because I'm taking sides against somebody I like as much as the guy I'm rooting for. That smidgen of guilt makes the match even hotter, like doing something I shouldn't be doing but saying to hell with it I'm doing it anyway.

At times, the camera swirls around the wrestlers, giving us every possible angle on the action as well as thrusting us into it. The colors are loudly vibrant. The soundtrack brims with robust laughter, provocations, heavy panting, agonized groans, the patter of skin slapping skin, and the hard rhythmic thump of bone on bone. Technically, the video and match approach perfection. This is Movimus at its very best.

Leo Sun vs Derek Ortiz (Movimus)

If there appears to be a link between the two matches I cover in this post, there is. For me both contests illustrate the joy of combat and the pugnacity of males. No, I don't believe in rigid divides in gender and sexuality. Yes, reality is more fluid than our sexual categories allow for. However, if I had to peg my definition of "masculinity" onto one trait, it would be an exuberant love of fighting*.

Newcomer Leo Sun loves fighting so much he can't stop smiling as he wrestles Derek Ortiz, returning for his third bout at Movimus. His sunny disposition is all the more pronounced when he's got his taller, heftier opponent wrapped up and under control, which is surprisingly often (nobody more surprised than Derek, I suppose), but even when Derek is dominant, Leo can't wipe the grin off his face. I like Leo. I identify with him. Here's a guy who likes the give and take of grappling regardless of who wins and who loses. Movimus is Leo's idea of Disneyland. Mine too.

At first Derek and Leo wrestle less intensely than Dave and Tito, but that's probably because they lack Dave and Tito's shared history. The wrestling begins more tentatively, intensifying as the minutes tick by and the opponents get to know each other. The contrasts between the two wrestlers are interesting and beautiful. Leo is strongly built, with clear muscular definition like a gymnast or swimmer. Derek is slim and agile like a dancer or long-distance runner. Both know what they're doing on the mat. Derek kicks off the match with a high-energy offense. He's all over Leo in a split second. He takes the newcomer down but soon learns all about Leo's strength and durability.

Plenty of headlocks and scissorholds keep the two bodies pasted together most of the time. Limbs coil into and around limbs, but the bodies stay in motion as if bracing for the next move. Now and then Ortiz points Sun's face to the camera, encouraging him to smile for the fans at home. Whatever his attitude towards his potential fans is, Sun doesn't need them to smile. The struggle alone is enough. Leo appears nearly impossible to submit. He absorbs the pain and processes it into a counter-move. Derek, too, refuses to give up, buoyed by sheer reckless energy. The first fall occurs a few minutes past the video's midpoint. It's a rear naked choke of an intensity that demands submission. No submission. The choker gives his opponent 30 seconds to submit ... or else. The stubborn s.o.b. won't tap out. The camera cuts the "or else" short either to preserve decorum or to save face for the loser. It's a high point of the match. The last fall is another, leaving both wrestlers slightly dazed and unsteady on their feet, like post-coital exhaustion.

By the way, I don't need sex to find wrestling erotic. Good wrestling is as primal and visceral as fucking. Sometimes throwing sex into the mix is just too much, like spray-painting a floral arrangement. It's fairly obvious that I'm not anti-sex. I'm not against linking sex and wrestling either. I'm just saying honest, powerful wrestling like Tito vs Dave and Derek vs Leo is sex. No additives needed.

* A lesbian friend once complained to me about the straight guys she worked with, who talked about the way they size up other men, dividing them into those they could take in a fight and those they could not. When I told her I thought the same way, pretty much all the time, she was shocked because, as the very few readers of this blog who have personally met me know, I am the epitome of the academic egghead, a hopeless introvert constantly engrossed in theories and books, more inclined to analyze and interpret than to take any sort of action, totally at ease in my effeminate traits. However, through the years the main way I have bonded with male friends is through wrestling and verbal sparring, more the latter the older I get. And every man I meet (every one), I wonder which one of us would come out on top in a fight.

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