Some time ago I was asked why I spend 10-15 hours per week training for lucha libre, despite the fact that it is physically taxing, exhausting, and not exactly lucrative. The short answer?
I love lucha libre. Why? A year ago I had trouble explicating my answer, but I have tried to distill my compulsion toward lucha libre into a coherent response. This of course, ignores the near-familial relationships formed within the gym through trust and mutual respect, but instead focuses on my individual drive to be a luchador.
Lucha libre simultaneously challenges me physically and creatively, whilst allowing me to experiment with signifiers as a performance-based character–and as a select few of you may well know I studied culture and communication in college. This drive, this desire, to do lucha libre, dictates that several aspects of my life are means to the end that is maximizing my abilities as a luchador. Such aspects include somewhat obvious ones, such as a fairly intense training regiment and a clean diet (tequila aside, of course), but also extend themselves to planning my travel and residence around lucha libre schools, and minute effects such as a propensity toward overdecorating with a lucha theme.
But my preoccupation with lucha libre has become just that—a preoccupation—which has thoroughly permeated my daily thoughts. I often spend time choreographing sequences of moves, analyzing signs that could be incorporated into matches, and theorizing ways to perform more often–or better yet how I can quit my day job and just lucha full-time. At first I thought that I was immaturely obsessing over my new hobby, as I had not been so drawn to something since I played drums in a band right before college. I then realized that I had in fact, found a passion, a “for this” to strive toward without regard for success or failure–for me lucha libre had become an end in itself. Drawing upon my interest in existentialist philosophy, I believe that Nietzsche’s statement from The Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life sums this up succinctly (note: I have intentionally utilized a longer version of the quote to illustrate how my sentiments are related to Nietzschean philosophy more broadly):
What the “world” is here for, what “humanity” is there for is not to concern us for the time being, unless we want to be funny: for there just isn’t anything funnier and more cheerful on the world’s stage than the presumptuousness of those little worms call man; but do ask what you, the individual, are there for, and if no one else can tell you then just try sometime to justify the meaning of your existence a posteriori, as it were, by setting for yourself a goal, a “for this”, a lofty and noble “for this”. And perish in the attempt–I know of no better life’s purpose than to perish, animae magnae prodius*, in attempting the great and impossible.
* Roughly translates to “having expended all of one’s mental energy.”
Leaping from this sentiment, I hurtle towards tryouts for AAA at the end of this week knowing damned well that regardless as to whether or not I make the cut, I’ll be back in the ring the following week.