Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Report from the Wicked Faire

As part of the promotions for my grappling movie, "Redemption," in the interest in spreading the fun of submission grappling, and for the sheer fun of it, I hosted a "Warriors of Doom Wrestling Room" and a local quasi-fetish ren faire/fantasy/steampunk convention in New Jersey, the Wicked Faire, this past weekend.

This is something I have done before when I worked with a team of female wrestlers who did wrestling sessions with men for pay. The idea is that there are people who, for whatever reason (some reasons I don't care, some you wouldn't want to know) there are people who love to wrestle and grapple, especially with people of their preferred gender. Providing a safe, structured, and entertaining venue for this is an appreciated thing at events like these.

We held a few brief demonstrations of basic BJJ moves with the emphasis on safety and fun. We talked about the importance of tapping out before you get hurt, the progression from position to submission, and then had some exhibitions between our "warriors." Afterwards we "took on all challengers" in 10-minute matches.

The challengers were a mixed back of types, styles, and skill levels. There was one guy who was highly skilled at BJJ, and our man June found it was all he could do to avoid being tapped out. There was one guy who wore a black gi and jeans (evoking the style of Patrick Swayze in "Roadhouse") who claimed ninja training, on whom I was able to get the submission several times, and who never made me tap. There was a girl who fought June to a standstill. Our female fighter, Jasmine, got in a pretty good match against a fellow with more enthusiasm than skill. The best action of the weekend, though, was a big girl we called "Thunder Bunny" against June. Though he was able to take her back on the ground a couple of times, for the most part the match involved her denying every attempt at takedown and simply falling on top of June.

Personally, I found it useful to fight guys who were not as skilled in grappling as I for a change (in addition to the ninja, I also fought a guy about my size who had very little training). Most of the time, in tournaments and at Twin Towers Wrestling Club, I find myself up against guys stronger, faster, more skilled, more experienced, better conditioned, and more aggressive than me. This means much of my game is about defending, protecting, and denying the other guy's attempts at submitting me. This time I was able to actually try out moves that I had been training, and finding what parts of them worked and what didn't. It also helped increase my confidence in terms of "oh yeah, I can do this!" I can't wait 'till Tuesday now to go back to Twin Towers and challenge up, in preparation for the tournaments coming up over the next two weekends!

The screening of "Redemption" was not perfect. There were some delays at the tech was being set up, and with so much else going on at the event, not much of an audience came to see it. From the cast, GE West, Nicole, and Eric were there, along with June, and a few random people came in and out. Towards the end of the movie, two drunken guys wandered in and spent the rest of the movie talking loudly about MMA instead of watching the movie. There were also moments when folks would come in to check on the tech in preparation for other screenings, and be standing in the room, talking in full voice during the movie about the tech, and I had to ask them to talk outside.

In this version, the movie has some very good things in it. The opening is strong, and the use of titles and music worked. However, some of the scenes seem to be dragging, a little self-indulgent. I also need to fix yup the ending a bit, and I would like to re-shoot one or two moments. There is a match int he tournament that I would like to change the ending of, and I need more reaction shots in a couple of scenes.

Next uyp, two grappling tournaments in Long Island in two days!

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