Join The Tribe

I like my Prose like I like my wrestling: heavy, without gaps and without letting up on the pressure.

Writing and wrestling can be alike. We use techniques to achieve our goal, but those techniques practiced until they are the vocabulary of our movement come alive in the fight and are only meaningful in their relationship to our partner, our opponent, or our reader.

A well-executed double-leg takedown is something stated with clarity.

I grew up wrestling. At age 8, my father told me it was time to play a sport, and asked me which ones I wanted to play. I still remember the word “Wrestling” on the printed page.

I learned many lessons from my involvement, not the least of which was how to perform individually, but also as a team member.

The Tribe

Wrestling, like other martial arts, is an individual sport. It is also tribal. Two tribes come together, their warriors contend with one another for individual victory but also for the victory of their tribe.

Long hours have been spent together working, sweating, pushing boundaries of human mental and physical endurance. A bond is established. It must be cultivated.

We pushed each other by any and all means. Some were examples to others in work ethic. They set a bar below which those in the company would not, without notice, drop. Some were natural teachers, some pushed others forward with compliments and positive notice. Some in the midst of harsh striving made jokes and cajoled, shared laughter in the midst of tribulation. By any tools necessary and by one’s inclination each contributed to the forge at which we made and were made new men in a way that is rare in this pleasantly soft age.

But men crave tribe, they long for that which demands all from them.

The Tribe

After high school I pursued many other things, but wrestling was not one of them. I was unaware of the existence of grappling outside of high school and college.

When at age 8, I told my eldest son I wanted him to try wrestling, we found a club here in Charlottesville Virginia, that ran out of a YMCA.

I was there with him at every practice, just as my father had done for me. When the last practice of the season ended my son said “I want to keep wrestling all year.”

His coach overheard him and said “I teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, it’s like wrestling. There’s a father-and-son class come and try it.”

We did.

I found my way back into the tribe.

William Calvani William started wrestling at 8 years old in the hale and hardy New Jersey wrestling scene. He is a brown belt in BJJ under Gordon Emery at Charlottesville BJJ, a submission grappler and catch wrestler. His experiences and other interests provided the intuition that in traditional grappling cultures, such as Japanese Sumo, Iranian Zoorkaneh, Senegalese Laamb and Indian Kushti, wrestling is a spiritual path and was codified, validated. Joseph Alter's book The Wrestler's Body and Scientific Wrestling's video of Karl Gotch's Conditioning for Combat Sports led William to an auto didactic exploration of the exercises of the Indian Akhara, called Vyayam and their effectiveness in promoting strength, dynamic movement and longevity in relation to grappling. Under the name Waryoga, the focus of his regime is Dand (Hindu pushup), Bethak (Hindu squat), Gada (mace swinging), Gota (stone lifting), Asanas (postures), Gar Nal (stone necklace) and most importantly, grappling.


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