roughhousing

Roughhousing play - Underwater grappling

Now this isn't an attempt at grappling or wrestling in the combative sense. There are far better sources than myself to go to for that. This is a game/interaction to allow people to sincerely explore and roughhouse in a safe space.

I picked this up from Tom Weksler at his Movement Archery workshop: the task is to try and take your partner down to the ground but you don’t want them to take you to the ground. Once you both arrive on the ground, you then want to lift your partner off of the ground and again avoid them lifting you. It is about control and intent­ - who decides who goes where and not necessarily in a combative context (so generally I would suggest to not try any takedowns, judo throws etc... save that for the gym/dojo).

It is intended to be playful and tactical, using cunning over brawn is one way, but if it evolves to be a little rougher due to the rapport you and your partner builds, that is ok too. It is a loose guideline to explore. As you can see from the video, it's also fun and possible to play with odd numbers - one person floats on the outside and then interrupts the dance of a pair, for the person who is left out to float and continue by interrupting  another pair and so on. Why underwater? It's just some imagery to help stay relaxed and fluid. 

To paraphrase Tom: try and find "the space between combat and expression, free of gestures". 

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Rough Play

I never will be or pretend to be a wrestling coach! But I can't emphasise how important it is to our human nature that we make time for rough and tumble play, or roughhousing as I prefer to call it. Most adults are divorced from play, especially from the rough and tumble kind unless they partake in some form of combat practice where it is encouraged or have managed to not lose it from childhood. There is plenty of research and you need only google to discover the benefits of roughhousing, not just for children but adults too; Learning how to cope with the unpredictable, self handicapping , emotional intelligence and the obvious physical benefits - try wrestling for just a few minutes to see what I mean! Those are just a few of a long list. One of my favourite benefits is the reconnection of human touch - something I'm not afraid of exploring in my classes through group games and partner interaction - Most are too afraid through social conditioning and lack of confidence to get "physical" with other people. Once the ice is broken and people remember what it is like to reconnect with another person through roughhousing and play, the confidence and genuine joy it promotes is obvious. Most (hopefully) realise this is a form interaction they are missing and want more of.

The group bonded even more today and thank you all for trusting me (as always with my "weird" ways) and pushing through any reservations you may have had. Now go and roughhouse someone today.