Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Wrestling and Writing, Round II

In this blog, I will describe specifically the connection between my experiences as a professional wrestler and martial artist and how it has reflected my writings. After a couple comments from previous blogs, I must add, Yes that is me in the pictures as my wrestling persona, WAR.

I am going to take you on a trip way back to my high school days, in fact, when I was a sophomore. I had always tried to be an athlete, and unlike many of my friends, I was not a born athlete. I was the kid who got picked last when they picked teams. Although I loved sports, and tried to participate in them, I was not good at them. My lack of success at sports was not a lack of technique; I knew what to do, I just could not do it. I believe my lack of success was a result of being a “late bloomer” and also being ridiculed for having a speech impediment.

This was the most apparent when it came to wrestling. I lost almost all of my matches in junior high school and as a freshman. It was not until the near the end of the season that this changed. And it changed in ONE match.

I was in a match where the other wrestler, was stronger and quicker than I was. I remember him being ahead of me by 2 points in the match. Normally, at this time I may have simply kept myself from being pinned, but I would have lost the match. There was something that day that made me not give in so quickly. I began fighting, using my will, not physical strength, against him. I ended up winning the match. This was the beginning of my success, and later I realized that speed, strength, skill, is nothing compared to the will of the individual.

To complete the puzzle, I also needed more confidence. I achieved this during my time in the military. Furthermore, it was this time that I majored physically and mentally.
In my novel, "Legend of the Mystic Knights" I describe a similar situation with the main character.
"  Something happened inside William at that specific moment, a moment that changed the course of his life. He remembered the words of Sir Percival, and how his father did not give an inch when fighting the hydra. Thinking of his father made William find some strength inside himself, something he had not experienced before. It was the ability not just to go through the motions as he had always done, but the pride to prove himself, to demonstrate who he was and what he was made of.  "

Another aspect of my experience with wrestling and the martial arts that I have utilized in the skill and training it takes to become successful. I have trained with numerous type of swords, both Asian and European types.

This is an example in the novel where the hero is outmatched by his opponent. They are competing with wooden swords.

 " If I cannot beat him on technique, use tricks and strength, thought William to himself.

William stood up; his body, arms, and legs had aching pains in them, and he had a pounding in his head. He walked away from Antanas, dragging his wooden sword on the ground, as if he was a wounded bird tending to its broken wing.

Antanas could almost relish the end to the match as he rushed at William, who was sideways to him, his sword on the opposite side and still being dragged on the ground. Playing possum worked, as William swung his sword with a large swinging curve and hit Antanas on the side of the head as he approached. "

In terms of wrestling, understand I am not going to destroy kafabe (this is a phrase used by wrestlers which basically means to keep the mystique about the sport), that a wrestler is a writer inside the ring. They tell a story with words and their wrestling moves.

When a painful hold is placed on you, it is expected that you “sell” the move that is to show some pain in your face or by yelling in pain. If you are a heel (bad guy), and you put the same type of move on a face (good guy), you should sneer or enjoy the fact that you are hurting your opponent. Being able to show giving, or receiving pain, using just your expressions allows us to tell complicated stories. As a writer, I could use these physical accounts and apply them to my stories.

As a martial artist I am able to draw upon my knowledge of fighting to also describe realistic scenes of combat in my novels. In one of the passages from my novel, the hero is facing a larger boy in a boxing match. When facing a larger opponent, you need to be fast with your attack, while avoiding his. This is how I describe a fight sequence in my novel:

" William understood that Wilfred was stronger, but he realized that he was quicker and could outpunch him. William found confidence in this knowledge and when Wilfred came to him, he quickly threw a punch at Wilfred’s left eye. Wilfred threw his own punch, but it only found air as William quickly stepped backwards.  "

So now you know more about my past, and how I use those experiences in my novels. I think it is important for an author to be realistic, and contributing personal knowledge into their writings is vital to establish that realism.

Next time: It is going to be one SCARY Christmas- The Krampus


  1. You are right! It is important that an author be realistic...you have shown such authenticity by using your experiences. It doesn't hurt that they are all so interesting!

  2. Drawing on your inner strength and then giving that same character trait to your hero makes it very realistic reading. I would never have thought that wrestling would provide material for a medieval novel. Great stuff.

  3. You've shown how a writer can use their own experiences even when the setting or particulars of the story are not something they have experienced exactly. That helps bring life to the writing.

  4. Wow William. I can relate to this about wrestling. My husband was on the wrestling team in high school. He's told me some things about it. Now he reposted will have me asking him more questions! It's interesting knowing how you are bringing in those real life experiences to your writing.thanks for sharing that.

  5. If an author is not realistic I stop reading. Full stop.

  6. This raises the age old question is a writer should write what they know, or don't know. A strong case can be made for either, but I tend to side with writing what you know. Swords are pretty cool now thanks to Michone (sp?) on The Walking Dead ;)

  7. There are so many important messages in this post. I too believe that will of the individual is very important.
    I was happy to know that how you joined wrestling and how polished skills in military.
    It made me surprised that there are different styles of fighting with sword , Asian European.
    If you are adding reality into your novel for sure people will like it.
    Many will be benefited with tips and tricks that you have mastered over the years.

  8. William -- it's no doubt before your time but I graduated from Mepham High School on Long Island, which was renowned for its wrestling teams under Coach Sprig Gardner in the '50s and '60s. Several wrestlers were national champions in high school and Life Magazine wrote about our 100 straight wins, then one loss and another 100 wins. I was there for that celebration which brought back all the former wrestling greats. Coach Gardner revolutionized training for wrestlers and is revered as an iconic figure in wrestling.

  9. I learnt a new word "sophomore" was not aware there is a name for that. I like when you say will power won over skill, technique and other factors. When you really wanted ton win you won. That speaks to me.