Team China (*Video*)
I traveled to the Beijing Sports University on Monday to see who would show up for their 10 AM practice. I was told by a maintenance worker that the coaches should be able to help me find some traditional wrestling in the area. The lead was exciting, but just in case the wrestling coaches were exceptionally cool I decided to bring some workout gear for a possible roll. While I was admittedly nervous about wrestling with 30-odd college kids who’d been filling their days with soul-crushing amounts of studying inside a Communist country, I thought it would at least make for an entertaining video clip.
The first wrestler showed at 9:55 AM – a stout guy with mangled ears and the familiar wrestling waddle. However, instead of being followed by dozens of more Chinese men with bad intentions, he was instead being trailed by an army of 40 gnarly-looking female wrestlers, who’d arrived almost simultaneously on bicycles.
The practice was similar to the ones I’d been a part of in high school and college. The coaches were yelling at the girls to perform their drills with intensity or face the prospect of being punished. Of course the coaches thought the team was slacking and added time to the hand-fighting matches and even tacked on an extra set of conditioning drills. The two hour practice was topped off by an ass-chewing in Chinese, which seemed much more intimidating and aggressive than those I’d heard in English.
In addition to photos and video, the outing also produced some good leads. One of the assistant coaches hooked me up with a fellow teacher at the University who he thought would know more about traditional wrestling and where it was still being practiced. I was scheduled to meet with him on Tuesday and the results of that meeting will be online tomorrow.
In the meantime here are some photos and video from the day of wrestling. Enjoy!
You can find the video on Facebook as well and at my YouTube site, Wrestling Roots.