academic, arena mexico, art, Cultural Studies, culture, exercise, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Lucha Volcánica, masculinity, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, Performance Art, Professional Wrestling, school, strength, training, travel, Washington, wrestling school

The Final Post Edition, or Goodbye For Now

Friends,

It is with some sadness, albeit zero trepidation, that this will serve as my final blog post. My reasons are few: mostly I have just become too busy to dedicate the time required to write at the level that I demand of myself. Although I have not talked about it here, I recently began picking up stunt work for commercials and film, which—in addition to regular lucha gigs, full time employment, and my 7-day training regimen—not only occupies more of my time, but also has forced me to broaden my focus from just lucha libre. Given this personal shift, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to dedicate the same rigor to thinking and writing about lucha libre that I was once capable of maintaining.

I started training as a luchador in 2011 during my senior year of college. During that same year I applied for the Watson Fellowship, which would have funded an entire year of studying lucha libre abroad in South America, Spain, and Japan. Unfortunately I was selected as an alternate awardee, Although disheartened, I was undeterred, and redirected my existential flightiness: I moved to Mexico City to immerse myself in lucha libre. The exodus was relatively brief: I quickly ran out of money and my lack of Spanish made employment opportunities scarce. Despite emptying my savings account, my experiences were invaluable, and the relationships I forged with locals and other luchadors during my tenure continue to this day.

Another byproduct of the trip was this blog, which I had originally intended to use as a diary to chronicle and share my experiences from the road. But now that I was no longer pursuing lofty goals within lucha libre’s mecca, what would be the scope of this blog? After returning to the States, the blog unintentionally became a smattering of cultural theory approaches to lucha libre—to mixed reactions from many readers who just wanted a “wrestling blog”—as well as observations about interpersonal relationships within the sport. Although the theoretical lens seems a bit far afield from professional wrestling, I am by no means the first person to give pro wrestling an academic treatment.

Despite the breadth of topics, my quarterly workouts (which were initially just filler posts) proved to be my most popular posts. I feel it’s safe to say that post-Mexico, I had no coherent vision for the blog and thus it never found a voice.

To that end it should be noted that I am not abandoning the blog on account of it not gaining monumental popularity: I knew quite well that the blog of a non-famous luchador would garner only a specialized, rather small audience (nevermind the fact that the blog was simultaneously academic in tone). Rather, this blog represents a particular chapter in my life that was rife with uncertainty, fear, and passion: uncertainty in the wake of moving to Mexico City to pursue the impossible; fear of said uncertainty; the unbridled passion for a sport. I was in an intense, naive, love affair with lucha libre, for which I flung myself into a personal exodus, into Mexico City, into the birthplace of lucha libre.

While I still love lucha libre, our relationship is now an established one; the maddening, lusty, honeymoon phrase has passed. And although my visions of performing in CMLL during my time in Mexico City did not come to be, I have not abandoned my passion for lucha libre nor the pursuit of excellence, and opportunities within the sport. In fact, I will achieve one of many lucha goals this August when I perform in Arena Naucalpan alongside three of my colleagues from Lucha Volcánica.

I am leaving behind this blog because of it’s significance from a specific period within my relationship with lucha libre, and by extension, a period within my life. I am instead shifting my focus to my future with lucha libre.

Put differently, I am moving on.

No, I am not moving on from lucha libre: when I started this blog I was pursuing, thinking, and dreaming about doing lucha libre. Now? Now I am simply too busy with the doing to be dreaming, a luxury that I was dreaming about back when I first started here.

And I like it that way.

With love,

Ave Rex

PS: You can still find me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

 

lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, mexico, travel

Roadmap for 2015: Back to Mexico, Lucha de Sound, & Beyond.

Happy New Year! 2015 is already shaping up to be a busy year for lucha, starting off with another trip to Mexico! This trip will undoubtedly be not much different from previous trips, in that it will include several viewings of lucha libre and lots of training. However an entire team will accompany me this time around, including a pair of luchadores and three film professionals.

Catchphrase: "Arrrrgghhllle."
Above: Loco. Not pictured: body hair.

In tow I will have my friends Greengo Loco and Cazador del Alma. Greengo Loco is still a fairly new, albeit promising, luchador who has been training with Lucha Volcánica for around 8 months. He made his (somewhat premature, although successful) debut against Trueno Verde at the Radio Variedades’ 17th Anniversary show this past August. Cazador del Alma started his career with a yearlong tenure in American Pro before switching to train under Vaquero Fantasma, with whom he has now been training as a luchador for over four years. I have been acquainted with Cazador since before I started training at Lucha Volcánica; he was one of two other students at my premier lucha training session. Although Cazador and I have performed on the same card (hell, even in the same match!) we’ve never had the occasion to face each other in the ring, something that we’re hoping to reconcile soon—perhaps even while in Mexico. My profe José is attempting to get us booked at Arena Naucalpan; I’ll share info when I know more.

Woot.
With Cazador del Alma in late 2014.

In addition to my luchador homies, I’ll be dragging along the trio of lucha-documentarians who have been following me around and collecting footage over the past year. You can check out some of the things they’ve captured in the recent Lucha Volcánica promo video. Unfortunately there is not a lot of information to share on the documentary right now, but they’ve captured a (figurative) ton of footage so it has to be good, right?

In late 2014 I neglected to share details regarding a trip to perform in (a rather disastrous match in) Sacramento for Lucha Azteca. While my partner (who happened to be Cazador del Alma) and I both agreed that the match was garbage, I did learn one thing: there are always opportunities to perform. One of my biggest complaints about living in Washington as a luchador is that there are scant few opportunities to perform. Spending time in California made me realize that I must continue to strive to find opportunities to perform and train everywhere, not unlike like my pursuit when I began this blog. That being said—following Lucha de Sound, of course—I intend to not only return to Mexico a second time, but to also spend more time training with Vaquero Fantasma in San Jose, in addition to other trainers in California.

In accordance with a trip to Mexico, wherein I will be doing lots of training (and hopefully at least one show), I am spending the next month intensively conditioning to prepare. Because I regularly share my training regimens here, I’ll post a more in-depth workout update soon. In short I added more, heavier sets, and 4 days of interval cardio.

Finally, moving forward I have decided to diversify the content of this blog. Historically I have shared my thoughts and analyses surrounding various aspects of lucha libre, mostly dwelling in the realm of theory. While I intend to continue to do so, I will also be sharing more videos, sound recordings, and increase my focus on photoblogging. In part this decision is to refocus on the original intent of this blog, which was to chronicle my adventures in the ring. Additionally I hope the decision will make blog-writing less daunting: while I love writing, it is exhausting to regularly research and write such dense posts in addition to a full-time job and several hours of training per week. Fans of my analyses, don’t fret: I will continue to write such posts, but the void in between such posts will be filled by perhaps less intellectually challenging posts.

 

But I promise no cat videos.

interview, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, mexico, performance, school of lucha libre, Seattle, Shows, training, travel, wrestling school

The “End of the Year” Post: Onward Towards 2014

In the spirit of expected tradition, I spent some time over the past few days reflecting on 2013. However because I am not one to dwell on retrospective, I almost immediately shifted my thoughts to the coming year, as in the future lies only potentiality.

Continue reading “The “End of the Year” Post: Onward Towards 2014″

art, diet, exercise, lucha, lucha libre, Lucha Libre Volcánica, Mexican wrestling, performance, Performance Art, training, travel, wrestling school

Self-Dramatization of My Love for Lucha, also known as “Oh God, this luchador quoted Nietzsche”

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?

Continue reading “Self-Dramatization of My Love for Lucha, also known as “Oh God, this luchador quoted Nietzsche””

mexico, travel, Zócalo

Saludos a (mis amigos de) Mexico

Mis amigos de Mexico (especialmente la familia de Piña y la familia de Ruiz),

Es dificil para mi a explicar mi gratitud en español, pero yo quiero que ustedes saben que ustedes son como mi familia, y sin ustedes mi tiempo en Mexico no era posible. Ustedes son muy simpático y agredable, y me he sentido bienvenido en Mexico. Espero que nos vemos muy pronto…

Con afecto,

El Fénix

PS: Cuando yo regreso a Mexico, poderé hablar más español…espero…

lucha, lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, mexico, travel

The Semi-Sad Story of an Untimely Departure, or My 2-Weeks’ Notice

[Author’s note: this post originally went unpublished, as my return was meant to be a surprise for mis amigos de Lucha Libre Volcánica]

Dear Mexico,

So…here we are: 6 weeks in. It has been an amazing 6 weeks to be sure, but due to some unforeseen–and poorly planned against–hardships, I am must terminate our current living arrangement until further notice. This is, unfortunately, due to my less-than-stellar current financial situation, and although life with you is quite inexpensive, I have found it difficult to make a living with you. But do not worry!–it is not you, it’s me

…because, well, I don’t speak Spanish very well, which severely limits my job prospects.

Really though, this is the primary reason. I mean, I do miss my dog–although there are plenty roaming the streets here to keep my company. And the week in bed with food poisoning was a bit rough. And occasionally the communication gaps are both frustrating and exhausting. But at the end of the day, I have simply run out my livelihood options.

All in all, I think we had a good run: prisons, fiestas, one terrible ring, but always an amazing crowd. I think we really do have a future together, so consider this a break. Before I can commit to you–to us–I have some things that I need to complete back home with Lucha Libre Volcánica. Oh, and next time I will bring more money…promise.

I will see you soon; cuidate mucho,

El Fénix

P.S.: Dear Pacific Northwest, you are not ready.

culture, Desfile, lucha, lucha libre, mexico, streets, travel, Zócalo

Más: the Prison, the Party, the Poisoning, and the Parade

Yes, a prison.

Committed for performing ugly planchas.

No, this was not a gimmick match.

…just another day at the office

I actually wrestled in a Mexican federal prison. In front of resident prisoners. Against a resident prisoner.

How did this happen? Apparently funciónes de lucha libre are a regular occurrence in some non-maximum security prisons in D.F.—at least this one particular prison has a history of lucha events. Beyond the yards and yards of razor wire, and packs of strangely nondescript, free-roaming (guard?) dogs, the El Reclusorio Oriente Varonil features sports facilities, a theatre, and classrooms. Despite the setting, everyone we met was exceptionally nice, including every resident, and stone-faced, M16-equipped prison guard.

I witnessed two accidents, which are both the first from any event in which I have participated. One luchador separated his shoulder after landing a plancha incorrectly; another luchador accidentally split his head open, covering himself and all of his opponents in blood. Both of these accidents happened right before my match, which is—as one may have guessed—not at all nerve wracking. In the main event, I teamed up with a luchador dressed as Jack and one other luchador, against Sepulcro, Sepultura Jr., and Sepultura, the latter of whom is a resident of ROV.

On a very different note: the following weekend we descended upon a birthday party for the son of a fellow luchador.


Also featured: new gear!
My birthday parties were never this epic

The card featured a two-hour show, during which I teamed up with another luchador to face-off against Mimo Fantasia and Destino in the semifinals.

*rimshot*
“Have a seat.” Ha!

 

Struttin'
A little strutting after beating Destino with a stray shoe that I had found. But really.

For our efforts we were rewarded with an appreciative crowd, tequila, and tacos al pastor. The party had roughly 100 people, and although I have wrestled in front of much larger crowds, the level of audience interaction at this event was almost unparalleled. In part, this may have been because of the close proximity to the crowd, wherein audience members had to move when we took the fight outside of the ring. It also may have been due to the prevalence of tequila and mezcal at the event. In any case, good times were had by all.

Then came the day after…

Saddest week in Mexico. Ever.
Not pictured: utter despair.

Above? Antibiotics. The doctor I saw three days later blamed the tacos al pastor, but either way I ended up missing an entire week of life—let alone training—due to los tacos. At least it was not as bad as other cases I have heard of, and it afforded me the time to catch up on all the sleep that I have missed since high school.

Fortunately I had mostly recovered by the following Saturday for the Desfile Alebrijes parade!

To the right: paper maché monster!

We were invited to the annual parade, which features a procession of artists, musicians, and—most importantly—huge paper maché beasts. The Museo de Arte Popular hosts a display of the pieces for a month on both ends of the parade before facilitating the epic march through downtown.

Preparing to *march*

We were later tricked into briefly dancing to Gangnam Style in the street with a troupe of 15 year-olds. Fortunately no photos or videos have surfaced.

Until next week…

Saludos!

Authors note: cameras were not allowed in the federal prison, thus the first three photos have been borrowed from other websites and are not my intellectual property. Clicking the images will direct you to the respective original web pages of each image.