This post may contain affiliate links to products or services which, if you purchase, may result in my earning commissions at no additional cost to you.
This was the working title for this month’s issue – Wanna Wrassle. I can’t think about grappling without thinking about watching the old WWF or WCW with my grandpa. We used to sit together and watch the Ultimate Warrior (who now lives in Santa Fe), Rick Flair, or Eddie Guerrero (rip). He would usually ask me something like “Wanna watch the wrassles?” and I knew that we would spend the next hour sitting together and watching the spectacle. When we decided to do an issue dedicated to wrestling and grappling I could only think about the fans I saw in the audience on TV and my short time as a wrestler in high school. And that phrase kept coming back – wanna wrassle. My time as a wrestler, as stated earliacer, was short-lived. We didn’t have a school big enough, or dedicated enough, to allow us anything more than “wrestling club” status and we were relegated to a small, cramped and unventilated room in the gym. I only competed in one tournament in Gallup after only 3 or 4 weeks of training. I was crushed, literally and figuratively, and vowed to never wrestle in a tourney again. I kept training for awhile before the “club” was disbanded and I lost interest. I compare this to Jess Martinez, whom I interviewed this month, and I see that he is able to compete in tournaments with the support of school & community and he has a place and I am glad that our work to get wrestling clubs recognized in New Mexico had some impact on what he is able to accomplish now. Of course 99.99% of his success comes from his nature, drive, and focus and has nothing to do with me but the thought makes me feel better about myself. It’s tough to interview some of these athletes and not feel like a total slacker. I mean, the level of their commitment is astounding. We knew going in to this issue that the grappling scene in New Mexico is getting bigger but we had no idea that it’s achieving a growing status on the national, and international, stage as well. We have Grapplefest here now – which was started as a form of protest by Dave Friendlander (see his interview in this issue) as well as 2 Gracie Barra Academies in Albuquerque (with a third opening in Rio Rancho soon). Jiu Jitsu, and wrestling, are an integral part of the well-rounded MMA athlete but not many people know that it’s an entire standalone sport. To that end, we hope that this issue brings some awareness to the grappling scene in New Mexico. We also hope that you like the direction we’re going – if so let us know, if not, go talk to the Ultimate Warrior. I think he has a gorilla press drop for you.