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Brotherly Hate

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Let me do a little catch up. We saw As the Crowe Flies at the Electric Factory in April. This is Chris Robinson singing the tunes of The Black Crowes with a different backing band because he hates his brother and ex-bandmates. That’s nice.

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It wasn’t quite as good as seeing The Crowes and the backup lady singers weren’t there, but it was still nice to hear those tunes live again. I wouldn’t want to see them again in this fashion, but still glad we went this time. And Boo Ya… we got a playlist and a guitar pic!

You can’t argue with this set. Loved the Good Friday into the Crosby Stills Nash and YoungAlmost Cut My Hair” cover. I didn’t know the encore song very well (recognized it), but totally loved it and it is A The Fredman Recommended Download.

Setlist

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It’s really not very Hard to Handle The Fredman Bloggin’.

 

What Happened?

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At the end of the last post I told you all that I had participated in my last pro-wrestling training course.

So what happened?

Well, it goes back to a question that Mojoe posed several posts ago, “I have to ask, are you having fun?”

The answer is “not really”. I think the most fun I had with this was blogging about it afterwards and talking to my friends after I went public. Looking back, I wish I would have let everybody else in on what I was doing. Every person that read my blogs (including one that won’t admit it) was so excited and supportive, but by then I was weeks removed from my wrestling journey. So THANK YOU to everybody that has shown an interest and been so positive after reading about what I was up to. I kept it bottled up because I was self-conscious and embarrassed and in turn I didn’t have anyone rooting for me or showing an interest. If I would have talked about it while it was going on I think I would have had the motivation to keep on going and finish the course! So, thanks again to you all. That was very cool.

After Session #4, I was pretty beat up. Daisy could tell that I overdid it. I had a big, ugly bruise on my right arm, which is no big deal, but I also had some “real” pain in my left elbow. For a few days after when I extended my left arm all the way it hurt like hell. If the next session was the following day, I don’t think I could have done the tumbling exercises that require us to brace ourselves with our arms.

I, also, just didn’t really feel like going anymore.

Here’s my bruise. (Also, my arm isn’t really this muscular. Make a muscle and push your arm against your side and get the right camera angle and you’ll look great!)

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As I reflect on it, I don’t have regrets about not finishing. Sure, it would be cool to say I passed (or failed) the course, but my heart wasn’t really in it after that first session. It was my decision to stop, but I’ll still blame my family because… well, why not?

I felt that in the following 3 courses we wouldn’t have learned anything much more than we already had, but we would have learned to master what we were already taught – mostly wrist locks and bumps and then certain kip ups and tumbling exercises. We weren’t going to be moving into fake punches or body slams or suplexes, those are more advanced. And I knew going in that I wasn’t going to pursue going on to any further studies.

There is one thing that I wished I asked, though. At the end of each session Michael Duckworth asked if we had any questions, about anything. I really wanted to learn how to do and receive a chest chop. The question was on the tip of my tongue at the end of one session, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger and ask it. I know there is some kind of trick to it so it, some way to hold your body. I’m sure you still get red marks on your chest, but I think it would be a cool thing to pull out at pool parties – just slap the sh*t out of your friends chest:

In an upcoming post, I’ll include the real names of the trainer and the school I attended in case anyone wants to look in to it and see what it’s all about. And I’ll post an introduction video to their training sessions so you can see some of the drills we learned.


Rest in Peace to The Man they Vader. He could do a moonsault from the top rope as a 400 pounder:

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I’m am The Real Fredman, fight for the rights of every man.

 

 

 

Session #4c

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Yeah, I’m really dragging out session #4.

There were 2 guys there that took back bumps really well. When they would run to the center of the ring and get “hit” it was like they would glide through the air and land on their backs. I felt like I, and others, would run and almost come to a stop (get hit) and take our bump at times. It might have been a confidence thing. Someone asked the one guy about it and he said that to him “the throwing yourself on the ground part is easy and it’s the other stuff that’s hard.” Kind of interesting that he took to it like that, but our Trainer was adamant that “Anyone can do this” and it was just a matter of how long it takes you to get it right. He was very understanding that people learn at different rates which eased the pressure on us (well, me at least) a little bit.

There were many times throughout the course where I exerted myself in short bursts and welcomed going to the end of the line and getting a breather, that was a normal regular occurrence. But there were only 2 times during the training sessions that I felt I was getting a good cardio workout and was out of breath.

One instance of that was the 4 Corners Drill, at least that’s what I’m calling it. One person stands in each of the 4 corners of the ring, facing the turnbuckle. Michael Duckworth is at center ring and we have our backs to him. Each corner is numbered and when he yells out your number you turn around and run to the center of the ring and take the bump that he is signaling to you – either a back bump or plancha. You don’t know which one it’s going to be so you have to read his signal, take your bump and then get up and go back to your corner and wait for your number to be called again. We went around the ring maybe 5 times before switching out with 4 other people. That in itself wasn’t bad, but for the next set he sped things up. We had to take the bump and get up as fast we could because the next person’s number was called and they were coming at you! If you didn’t move quick enough you would interfere with the other person’s bump or just get trampled. It was a good way to simulate real match action when multiple people are in the ring and you have to be aware of what’s going on and keep moving and get out of the way.

The other taxing exercise was done at the end of Session #4. You are in the ring by yourself and take 10 bumps in a row, never doing the same 2 in row. So either a snap back bump, a jump back bump, plancha or handstand bump using the Bump and Feed technique I discussed in a previous post. Take your bump, run to a corner and, always turning clockwise, feed into another “move” and take a bump in the center of the ring.

During this drill my bumps “felt good”. I think because we were doing several in a row and it was easy to get into a rhythm. I was glad when my turn was over because it took a lot out of you and I wasn’t expecting it to. When I was done, though, Michael Duckworth yelled out “Palms Down!” and said that “half of them were palms up.” He sounded frustrated with my performance. I really didn’t even realize I was doing it palms up. You want to have them down so you can slap the mat as you go down and make the bump sound louder. Compared to others I was probably middle of the pack or higher during this drill. Some of the trainees were pretty weak in my opinion.

That’s how we ended that day’s session. It was Session #4 out of 7.

It was, also, The Fredman’s last session….

 

Bob & Phil & Daisy & The Fredman

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The Lovely Daisy and I took were lucky enough to get tickets to see Bob Weird and Phil Lesh from The Grateful Dead play at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. We were, also, even more lucky that The La hooked us up with a free room at the luxurious Plaza Hotel! We be rubbing elbows with the rich and not so-famous. Just rich. Take a look at this room: Plaza

Each floor had a personal butler on hand… which means I couldn’t get my own ice and tipped $3 for it to be delivered. There was a very nice bathroom in the room, but there must have been a sensor in there because every time I peed, the butler would be waiting at the sink to offer me towels, cologne and breath mints. And he waited for a tip with his hand out. Even at 2 am in the morning.

The Bob & Phil show was at Radio City Music Hall. A very nice venue, but it took forever to get inside because of the line and security. Here’s a picture of the inside during the show: RadioCityMusicHall

Here’s a couple of action shots: BobPhil1

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The setlists consisted of a plethora of Grateful Dead and other Dirty Hippie covers. Daisy was lovin’ it! It wasn’t really my thing, I didn’t know a lot of the songs, but I had fun and I was happy to watch her having such a good time!

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Trey Anastasio came out after the break and played the rest of the show with them and injected a little more life into the 2nd half: PhilAndBobSet2AndEncore

 

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The Grateful Fred…. Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

Session #4b

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Here’s an interesting move that was thrown at us during Session #4. You probably know the famous Ric Flair corner flip? Maybe not, so here’s a clip. You’ll notice later in the montage that, as he ages, he doesn’t always make it over. Plus, the song is awesome:

What we learned was a little different in that we didn’t want to go over the ropes (at least at this stage). We wanted to run head first into the middle turnbuckle, get our feet straight up in the air and in a controlled motion lower them so they touch the metal ring post and then bring them back into the ring and land on our feet. Easy, right?

In Lucha Libre, what we were taught is just the starting point of many different acrobatic moves and leads to other things (one being the infamous Ric Flair move). Here’s a dude trying to teach people how to do it. I’m sure his neighbors are happy he has a wrestling ring in his back yard. Probably raises the property value for everyone! (hint, hint Daisy):

 

Now, it’s my turn. First try I run with my head down, grab the middle ropes and try to do a headstand on the 2nd turnbuckle. I get my feet up in the air for a couple seconds, but they ain’t going anywhere and I have no control of what’s going on and I can’t imagine how crap it looked. I had the strength to do it, but I wasn’t doing something right. So I get a tip from Michael Duckworth and try again—same thing. I tell him I’m going to try one more time—same result.

We cycle through the line and, surprisingly, a few people got it on their 1st or 2nd attempt. I know I can do this if some of these guys can! Bumps may not be my thing, but these drills are! It’s my turn again and I go for it and… it’s still not happening.

So here’s the deal. Duckworth tells me I’m not supposed to really be on my head. As you run towards the corner with head down, you want to grab the middle ropes and instead of a headstand on the turnbuckle, you want to plaster your upper back on the 2nd turnbuckle. So you still end up in what looks like a headstand, but it’s your upper back and neck supporting you which, if you picture it, gives you a much bigger surface to support yourself than the top of your head.

The Fredman gets a head of steam with his head down, grabs the ropes while ramming my upper back into the turnbuckle and throwing my legs into the air. Perfect! I was able to rest there for a couple seconds (in a headstand like position) with my legs straight up, then slowly lowered my feet to touch the steel post behind me. Then lowered my legs back into the ring and jumped off and landed on my feet. I got it and that felt good! As soon as I got the right form, I knew I could just rest up there and control whatever I wanted to do.

We added a 4th bump to the list during this session – a handstand bump. As the name implies, start in a hand stand position, then just let your body slowly fall over and you land on your back. This one was pretty easy because I used to mess around with handstands. One difference in this bump and the other back bumps is that you land with your legs bent and your feet flat on the ground. Why? I’m not sure. Of course, in a match you don’t actually do a handstand to take this bump, but it’s the end result of taking certain moves. Picture someone getting body slammed. They are upside down and falling onto their backs, very much the same motion as a handstand bump.

 

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Here’s some more pictures from the Royal Rumble that I didn’t get a chance to post yet.

Kane and Braun Stroman square off: BraunKane

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Brock Lesnar survives his match:

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Nia gets thrown out:NiaEliminated

Naomi saves herself from touching the floor and jumps back in: Naomi2

 

Here’s some of the ladies chillin’:LadiesChillin

Liv Morgan takes a boot to the face: BootToTheFace

Molly Holly goes up top!MollyGoesUpTop

Vickie Guerrero gets eliminated after mouthing off: VickiGGoesOut

Sasha is eliminated:SashaEliminated

Asuka wins and can challenge for a championship at WrestleMania! Oh, but wait…AlexisCharlotteAuska

Ronda Rousey has arrived!

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The Fredman, may enter the Women’s Rumble next year.

Session #4a

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We started Session #4 with some words about our fallen comrade who is going to need ankle surgery. Michael Duckworth told us about some other injuries that he’s seen. He said they hadn’t had a real injury (needing medical attention) in over a year and then had 2 the previous week. Paraphrasing: “What we do may be choreographed or predetermined, but the physicality and injuries are VERY real.” Time to start at Zero for the number of days without a work place injury.  And with that said, we hit the ring…

For the past 2 sessions, there was a new twist on the back bridges. Instead of trying to knock us over with his hands, Duckworth would actually step on our uplifted stomachs while we were in the back bridge position. He would try to go from one person to the next without stepping on the mat, using us like stepping stones. Pretty cool actually. No matter how sturdy your bridge was, getting your stomach stepped on was still a shock to the system. A punch to the gut, if you will. First week I stayed up, this week I couldn’t hold it and broke my bridge. It didn’t hurt at all, it was like if you had your guard down and a friend whacked you in the stomach when you weren’t ready for it.

I mentioned that during the Free Workshop Session that there were 3 trainers helping us out. One of them was the great Juan Francisco de Coronado, from the local promotion. Well, turns out he got the call to help out when WWE was down in Baltimore around this time. You gotta take a look at this short clip. He’s the skinny guy in the yellow tights and goes by “Joe Monroe” in this match. The very best part is towards the end when he takes a super powerbomb and screams like a girl while up in the air. It’s hilarious and the announcers thought it was great.

What happens is that when WWE goes to certain towns they sometimes call in locally trained guys to help out if they need somebody to get “beat up” or play one of the security guys. Juan has gotten the call a few times because they like how animated he is.

That’s all for today. We’ll get to the 2nd half next time… Not sure how much more The Fredman has in him, though.

Dun Dun Dun…. Another cliff hanger!

Session #3b

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After a quick break it was back to Bumps. I’m going to focus more on bumping technique here. I mentioned that the previous week we added the plancha (face down bump), so now we have a snap bump, jump bump and plancha. Let me describe some of the bumping drills. In the beginning, it was similar to the tumbling drills: we see it once, hear about the technique and then one by one trot to the center of the ring (that’s the softest place) and throw ourselves to the ground. We usually get some tips from Michael Duckworth if he notices anything out of place and then either try again or go to the end of the line. Some of the technique: Land on your turtle shell (largest part of your back), keep your feet aligned and throw them up in the air. Tuck your chin! When you hit the ground slam the mat palms down, that generates the most noise so people in the stands far away can hear the impact. That’s the basics.

As we got a little more experience, Duckworth would be standing in the center of the ring and we would run at him and he would “strike” us. Either with a clothesline, palm to the face (punch) or a kick to the face. Here’s a nice super kick compilation:

As we are beginners, Duckworth really just stood there with his arm or foot out and we would run in to it. There was little to no motion on his part. The deal is, as soon as you feel any impact at all you take the bump. Do Not put your hand up to protect your face.

He would tell us beforehand which bump it would be so we knew whether to do a snap, jump or plancha. For a plancha, we didn’t actually have any contact because those moves are advanced so we just jumped and landed on our faces. Then, we would do them in succession, 2 in a row and then 3 in a row of different varieties. The super kick was the coolest to see because there were times it looked so real and you would hear “ohhs and ahhs” from the other participants. It felt good to get a reaction to your bump!

There is a technique that is used in most matches called “Bump and Feed”. Wrestlers use this technique when they take multiple bumps in a row from their opponent and this is how we practiced, also. The person taking the bump (me) hits the mat and then “feeds”, meaning that they run/stumble to the corner turnbuckle and turn clockwise (ALWAYS clockwise) and then run at their opponent in the center of the ring again and take another bump. And they continue like this for a series of maneuvers. Over and over again, we were drilled to “bump and feed, bump and feed”. If you watch matches you can see how this situation plays out. This became part of our drills, so instead of doing 1 bump and done, we take a few in a row, and essentially have a 15 second sequence of a match.

I was taking the impact of the bumps well this week, but my legs kept flailing around. I mentioned earlier that your legs are supposed to be aligned as you thrown yourself into the air and land on your back. Duckworth told me a couple times to “key in on that”, meaning if I do anything right on my next try, make sure it’s my legs. So next time … I messed it up again. As soon as I jumped I could feel my legs go all over the place. The subsequent time it was better, but still not great. I’m not sure why I couldn’t do it. Some mental block I guess, because it felt really natural for my legs to not be in unison. I think doing them out of sync made me feel like I was lessening the impact on the ground.

Why does it matter? Well, if your legs aren’t aligned when you throw yourself down, then your body/back probably isn’t going to be flat and you won’t land properly. And if your technique isn’t good there is more potential for injury. I think Duckworth got frustrated with me a little bit, but hell, I was frustrated with myself. Keep in mind, others were having similar troubles with certain aspects of their technique so it’s not like I was the loser of the group.

While practicing one of these drills, one of the students kind of stumbled off to the side. It looked like she just lost her balance or got her signals crossed. She wasn’t taking a bump, just running towards the middle of the ring. She immediately rolled out of the ring and limped to the bleachers while another girl went over to make sure she was ok. It didn’t look like much when it happened, but a couple of students ended up taking her to Urgent Care. We found out the next week that she broke her ankle and would need surgery. It was really a freak accident that could happen playing any sport. She seemed nice and is an interesting person. This was not her first time taking this class so I guess she didn’t pass before. I had found her Facebook site, it says she’s a “public figure in Philadelphia”: https://www.facebook.com/SSELDNEOHCE/

After the injury we finished up the bumps rather quickly. I think the Trainer wanted to move away to something less physical in case anybody was flustered, and we finished with wrist locks. Last week it was a regular wristlock and reverse wristlock. This week we added the top wristlock and overheard wristlock (I think). And we practiced them over and over. Start by circling each other, then lock up, then one of us goes for a wrist lock or a series of them because you can start with one and then transition into the others. Then switch partners so you lock up with people of different sizes. The wrist locks were fun sometimes because I would pretend I was actually in pain and a couple of times the other person actually believed me and let up or apologized. We got a good laugh out of it. I think I cracked Duckworth once, but he didn’t want to acknowledge it.

My legs were much more sore after this session because we did more jumping during the drills. My legs felt like I went and played a game of basketball for the first time in years. Of course, my neck and upper back were sore as usual, but it went away a tiny bit quicker than the first 2 sessions. I, also, felt a little tightness in my left hip. I must have landed wrong, maybe if I kept my GD feet together while taking bumps that wouldn’t have happened…