At times I feel like a wrestling agony aunt ...........

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This morning's mail, electronic and in an envelope, brought two requests for information. One person, prompted by my previous article about the old Pathe film of Grasmere Sports asked how to get a DVD of some footage. My answer to that is that I haven't a clue, except to go back to Roy Lomas on the Grasmere Sports website who is more likely to know. (Only possible by paying commercial rates. Here's a quote from them - 'The license fee for the footage you have requested is as follows; £360 per minute UK Rights 5 Years. Transfer Fee:  Approx £170' - RL)

The other query, from Eddie Hughes, 48 year old judo and Freestyle Wrestling enthusiast, from Eastbourne, was more in my line:

"Dear Mr Robson, I am sorry to bother you again and promise not to make a habit of it. I bought your book on Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling and enjoyed it immensely. I have taken all the technical elements I could from it and have purchased a wrestling dummy and am practising drills for lifts and sweeps as best I can, using my judo and freestyle wrestling knowledge to fill the lack of C&W knowledge.

I took your advice and went to an internet café and tried to download information on backhold wrestling, but through either a lack of computer expertise or confusing web sites seemed unable to gain much insight. Any useful information seemed to be articles written by you. Therefore I am writing to you to try and improve my knowledge of the sport. Would you know the following":-

1. The address of the C&W Wrestling Association.
That one is easy. Alf Harrington, the Secretary of the Association, who keeps the wheels turning can be contacted at Rostholme, Kirkbampton, Carlisle.

2. Are there any technical manuasl/books/DVDs available for purchase?
There should be but there aren't. I'm halfway through producing a training handbook, based on contributions from the likes of Tom Harrington, Mervyn Sewell, John Richardson and a selection of Blands, but it hasn't moved far recently. A plan to adapt Barry Frizell's archive of video into a DVD is hanging fire, too.

3. When is this year's Grasmere Games and other C&W wrestling events?
Grasmere Sports is on Sunday August 26th. The best way to find out the calendar of the year's events is to become a member and so receive the membership booklet with all the dates.

4. How do you enter such events?           
Just turn up on the day and enter at the ringside table, for C&W wrestling is "Open to the world".

5. In the Tekkin Hod procedure when the referee shouts "Wrestle" do you have to keep your head on the opponent's right shoulder i.e. can I move away or even change to the other shoulder?
Once the bout begins you can move your head anywhere except that you cannot pull the head down to escape your opponents grip, known as "taking your head out". If you end up with the heads on the wrong side, the referee will give you time to sort yourselves before stepping in to correct it.

6. When taking Butchers Grip I prefer left knuckle toward opponent, right knuckle away. Does this matter, either within the rules or the application of the technique?
There is no mention of this in the rules; it's down to personal preference. Some wrestlers suppose that there is an advantage to have the right thumb up if you intend to buttock.

7. Is there any advice, hints you could give me to improve my drills. I intend to increase my training and wrestle live with some judo and rugby mates and want to make sure I am on the right track.
Probably you are doing the right things. At least you have some live opposition. I remember solitary training in the 1960s when I lived outside the wrestling area. Then I resorted to Russian dancing to keep my thighs strong and flexible, and spent time swinging a wheelbarrow from side to side. My main advice on wrestling with other novices is to learn to relax in the last inch before contact with the mat if you are losing, and to roll or dive over your opponent if you are winning. In that way the session and your wrestling career does not end after two bouts.

Date for your diary:

Wed 14th February, 7.45pm, Carlisle Wrestling Club Third Points Night.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (February 8th 2007)

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