Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Some background to the Grappling as a Theater Art workshop:

I first got into grappling because I wound up managing a female wrestling team. It started with my girlfriend and I going to fetish clubs and wrestling on the floor. At the time I was also building her up as a model to create action hero for comic books, trading cards, and a website. Soon one or two people had contacted her asking if she did wrestling sessions (where a man pays a woman for an hour or half-hour of wrestling). One of our early clients happened to train in Brazilian jiu jitsu and offered to train us. By this time we had recruited a few other young women we had met at various places into the team to also be characters and do sessions.

We basically made wrestling the “next big thing” in the fetish scene in 2006. We were booked for a few party performance gigs, which I directed. The most notable was something I called “Sadism and Socialism” in which Rudy the Red Rabble-Rousing Radical Reindeer rallied Happy, the Proletarian Worker Elf in rebellion against Mrs. Claus. We even did a skit at the Chinese New Year Celebration at Fighthouse, the martial arts studio where we trained, called “The Perils of Women’s Self Defense.”

The less said about how that wrestling team and I parted ways in this venue the better, but it did lead to me starting to make a short film I would call “The Redemption fo Captain Zorikh.” Before that film was finished, though, two of the featured performers quit the project. So I re-envisioned the work, found a whole new cast and started over. WE trained and rehearsed for 11 weeks, and by the time I was through, the movie now known as “Redemption: Find Out What You’re Worth” was a reality.

One of the things I discovered as a result of that movie was that grappling is a movement vocabulary that, like dance, can be used to tell a story, just like dance. And yet though martial arts have been adapted into dance for decades now, grappling has yet to break though. Also in the stage combat world, grappling is almost unknown (unless you count its uses in Pro Wrestling).

This led me to thinking of putting together a stage show using the grappling arts as a performance medium. We would perform skits using grappling to tell stories or as integral parts of the stories. I thought this might be a good fundraiser for the movie as well as raising the profile of the grappling arts. Life intervened, delaying the completion of “Redemption” and other things. Now however, several things are converging that is making the realization of this dream a possibility.

For over a decade I have been performing with the Faux-Real Theater Company. For the past few years I have been running the wrestling room at the Wicked Faire. I have been working with East Coast United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, making videos or them and getting training. Putting all this together, I have decided that I am going to have some sort of performance at the Wicked Faire in February, and with that in mind, held a workshop at ECU BJJ last Saturday to explore a few ideas for this show.

To be continued…

And finally, I faced "Superman" in the Open Division

Here's my final match at the Acom Sports NY State Grappling Championships. I got paired up with a guy wearing a Superman shirt, so I decided to wear my Captain Marvel shirt. For all the good it did me...

In this video, I review my day's performance and say a few final words.

Thank you to all my sponsors for supporting me. Though my score total was lower than I had hoped, it was a learning experience and enabled me to make 5 videos.

The upshot of this is, however, that I have decided that this kind of casual, recreational training is not advancing my skills enough for the months that I have been doing this. If I ever want to be more than a genial goof, I have to get real training from a real academy. Fortunately, East Coast United Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has recruited me to make videos for them, and in exchange, will be training me. Watch this soace for the results!