A big thank you to Amir Eslami and everyone at Legion Wrestling Club – http://www.legion-wrestling.com/ – for my freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Freestyle wrestling was first up and our coach, Dawad Gaspari, put us through a gruelling warm up. After half an hour I could hardly stand up let alone stand up to Bec-Khan Aldamov – the Olympic hopeful whom the club had arranged to give me my first lessons in wrestling. Bec-Khan patiently took me through the basic moves and the scoring system before Dawad took over again to teach us how to move across the wrestling mat. Basically this involves crouching as low as possible while moving extremely quickly. Not easy…
Finally, an exhausting warm down and then I was shown round the club by the (deservedly) proud management. The club is on the upper floor of a disused warehouse and the club members had come in one week-end to build everything and set it up as a wrestling club. A great example of community sport in action.
A couple of weeks later I came back for my Greco-Roman wrestling. The main difference between the two wrestling styles is that you can’t attack your opponent below the waist in Greco-Roman wrestling whereas the whole body is up for grabs (literally) in freestyle wrestling. The other major difference was that I joined a beginner’s class for my freestyle whereas the Greco-Roman class was for all abilities. By the time we’d got through the warm up, I was in awe at my fellow wrestlers. You expect wrestlers to be fast and strong. However, these guys were also high levels gymnasts cum acrobats able to execute endless twists, flips, cartwheels and aerial somersaults. Very impressive.
I’ll end by thanking everyone at Legion again. Perhaps the best way I can repay their hospitality is by encouraging everyone to give wrestling a try. If you’re anywhere near East London then Legion is the place for you. If you’re not then go to http://www.britishwrestling.org/ and use their club finder facility to find your nearest club.
As always, if you’re feeling especially generous today please do act on it and sponsor my challenge: