And so, it came down to this. Seven weeks of practice and all that remained was the assessment. As mentioned in last week’s review, the seven we were about to be graded on were as follows: Conditioning; Rolls; Bumps; Rope Running; International Drill; Chain wrestling & Strikes. Two classes were put together for this grading, so it was interesting to see how everyone compared in their learning. My main goal though was to pass first time. So did I do it?
We started as we do every week with conditioning, but with a difference. This week was pure hell for the warm up, as myself and others struggled with completing the Card Workout (first time in weeks we had done this), especially with no break in the middle as normal. Needless to say, many of us felt like vomiting during and after that warm up. Squats; push ups; mountain climbers & sprawls… it was ruthless like nothing before. It was actually because of the conditioning that my rolls were not as good as they should have been. Two each of forward; backwards; right & left shoulder rolls and I was unsteady on my feet the whole time. It was nauseating.
After avoiding spiking my head on the mat for the flip bumps (twice), things cleared up in my head a lot more, as I was finally recovering from the conditioning. Rope running nearly caught me off guard, as the ropes were a lot more slack than normal. The first time I went into the ropes, I missed my right arm going over the top ropes but managed to continue fairly well. The more fun stuff was left until the end. The International Wrestling Drill was fun to do, as, along with having a reliable partner, I was able to do a little bit of crowd work. For me, this was my favourite part of the course, I just loved getting a genuine reaction from the crowd, regardless of whether it was jeers or laughs. The only downside to it all was my hiptoss (giving and taking it) saw me land sideways, which was always odd to see.
The chain wrestling and strikes were short but involved basically working reversals and “beating” up your partner for around 45-60 seconds. The idea was to see how well your technique was and if you could do the moves correctly. The major point of note here was the final three people doing the strikes. They all chose to do the chest chops against each other, which got louder and harder with every chop. The rest of us all reacted in shock, although we were all mentally thankful we were not on the end of those chops.
A friend of mine: “We’re witnessing a live burial here!”
I know I went through this whole assessment in quick order, but that is how it felt: a very quick procession. In and out. One and done. Until we got our feedback individually at the end. So to bring it back to my question at the beginning: did I pass?
Sadly, the answer is no. Truth is I kind of felt that was coming, but what was disappointing was the lack of feedback after I was given the decision. Our normal coach was not available for the assessment, so we got two other wrestlers/coaches grading us.. Considering they should have been paying attention during the grading (one of them was not at times), the fact they said “we failed you, but we can’t remember why” was disappointing to put it politely. They said the same thing to another classmate of mine after he straight up asked “where did I go wrong?” Again, no feedback, which sadly disheartened him greatly. Even the rest of us were all in agreement he should have passed, as he gave everything he could in and out of the ring. On the off chance you read this Joe, all the guys are with you man. #PassJoe. Seriously, get this trending if you can.
looking back over the whole course, despite not passing the grading, I thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. As cliche as it sounds, I found out a lot about myself regarding physical and mental fitness, not least the fact that I need some serious conditioning (actually eating might help as well). I made some great friends and fellow wrestling enthusiasts, which is such a welcome change to the normal chit chat with certain other people in life. But above all else, I actually performed some wrestling moves. To practice the very athletic moves that I have been watching for close to fifteen years is something I had only dreamed of doing up until this point. I feel proud of accomplishing this and I am proud of everyone in the Projo for getting through this course. #ThisIsProgress #WeGoAgain.