It seems like springtime popped up out of nowhere. Five months into the year already, and this is my first blog post of 2016! That’s not to say there haven’t been blog-worthy happenings in my lucha life, mind you. Quite on the contrary- I just wrapped up a thoroughly eventful weekend.
If you’re not local to the Seattle area or don’t follow Lucha Libre Volcánica on Facebook (which you totally should, by the way), you may not know that our year started off with a big move. In January we traded our trusty Renton garage gym for the more spacious gym at eVOLV Fitness. The move created an awesome opportunity to do monthly shows in our new training space– a big step up from having shows maybe quarterly, if we were lucky.
What does it mean to have at minimum one show per month? Well, first off I have to stay in relentlessly tip-top shape. Gone are the days when you could take the week after a show off from training because the next show wouldn’t be for another three months. I’ve also gotten better at improvisation and thinking on my feet. With so little prep time between shows and a new opponent almost every month, you don’t want to waste training sessions parsing through the minutiae of a match. And above all it means more ring time in front of an audience. There’s no better way to hone your performance skills than actually working in front of a crowd. Not to mention that the eVOLV gym is a pretty intimate venue for a lucha show. Having the fans up close and personal leaves no room for a lackluster performance.
Now I can circle back around to this weekend. This past Saturday we had our third in-house show of the year. Now here’s the kicker: Our coach brought the legendary Negro Navarro up from Mexico to run a two-day training seminar that same weekend, and also to perform on our show. If you’re not familiar with Negro Navarro, spend five seconds on the Google machine and you’ll quickly realize he’s a BIG deal in the lucha world. He’s the king of llaveo (locks, holds & floor work, or “chain wrestling”) and can tie anybody into a painful little pretzel faster than you can say your own name.
Sign me up to be a pretzel! I could barely contain my excitement when the seminar was confirmed. As a small person in the lucha libre world, I’ve always loved learning new llaves as a way to get the upper hand on a larger opponent. It doesn’t matter how big and strong you are, if someone has a hold on you just right you’re going down.
I can say with great conviction that Negro Navarro did not disappoint as an instructor. He was supremely knowledgeable, amazingly skilled, and impressively patient. I even had the… privilege? Misfortune? Surreal dream experience? of being the example for several of the complex and painful holds demonstrated by the living legend. And I couldn’t wipe the silly grin off my face the entire time. I learned so much over those two days that by the end of training Sunday night my brain felt like a leaky bucket. But in a good way.
Outside of my own enjoyment of the experience, I’m very pleased that LLV was able to provide this learning opportunity to the Washington wrestling community as a whole. A lively exchange of technical wrestling knowledge can sometimes be hard to accomplish in this state since it is to some extent isolated from the rest of the wrestling community (and especially from the lucha libre community). On top of the sheer joy of furthering my lucha libre knowledge, it was great to meet skilled workers from outside of LLV.