In my last article, I noted why I pursued training for wrestling, and the confidence it assisted within my real life. Since I started training, I love having new experiences just for the sake of it. Much so that now if I am not working towards something, or trying something new, I feel lost (which can be a negative or a positive thing, no matter how you look at it). However, adapting to this mindset has helped me so much, even though I am still learning it. So, I wanted to further explain, how it all started, and how I became “comfortable being uncomfortable”.
When most people ask about your wrestling “firsts” they are usually referring to your first match. Personally, I enjoy asking wrestlers what their first training session was like. It usually goes along the lines of embarrassing moments, and awkward falling. A few hours of falling around couldn’t be so bad right?
Looking back, I recall the day of my first training session; it was filled with anxiousness, insecurity, and anticipation. I had no idea what to expect the day that I walked up those stairs in the gym and stepped into the ring. Although it has only been a few years since this day, it almost feels like a lifetime ago.
The first thing I learned was how to properly stretch, and the importance of just that. Which may seem really boring to some people, but it makes a world a difference, and I can touch my toes now. Secondly, the girls taught me how to roll. This includes shoulder rolls, summersaults, back rolls, etc. This made me particularly nervous because I knew it would expose some athletic weakness in me, which I was yet to be comfortable with admitting. This was when I clued in that I wasn’t kicking a soccer ball anymore; I was doing athletics completely reliant on myself and another person. That day life of soccer was officially retired after 17 years.
Once learning how to warm up for training, I was introduced to the lovely art form known as chain wrestling. For anyone that isn’t sure what that is, the easiest way to describe it is a series of moves, and counter moves, typically used at the beginning of a match. Chain wrestling became the very thing I hated for months. Even to this day, when I hear the word “chain” I cringe because it made my life miserable for weeks until I got even a smidgen good it. I am a perfectionist; so not being good at something ate at me every time I went to training.
The other aspect of wrestling that I had a hard time overcoming was being comfortable with letting my body fall. When I first learned how to bump, I always say it was my awkward turtle phase. In what other settings, will it be okay for someone to say “Okay, so take two steps forward, and fall onto your back.” Mentally, this was something I had the most difficulty with. There are a lot of wrestlers who love chain wrestling, sometimes a little too much. Most notably, my partner in crime Pride walks around phantom chain wrestling, which is always hilarious to witness. Chain wrestling was memorization, but forcing my body to willing fall onto my back was a whole new ball game.
Learning to fall, I was never prepared for the world of hurt that it will bring my body. That first night I learned how to bump, my trainer told me that I needed to bump ten times in a row without messing up my footwork. Giving up that control was the most challenging thing I may have done up until that point. If you haven’t been in a sport before, most notably professional wrestling, it is hard to explain how many different aspects go into this. I was always athletic, playing many different sports, but learning how to let your body fall was the hardest thing I have ever had to teach myself.
Not knowing what you are doing, and being humbled every single day was a hard thing to overcome. Everyone has to take the first step, and learn. I never truly understood what “get comfortable being uncomfortable” meant until I started wrestling. Once you get through the uncomfortable, the results are always the greatest comfort anyway.