Today we were delighted to welcome the prolific writer and artist Steven Fowler, whom Scott has known on the UK poetry scene for many years, having been involved in a number of the extraordinary international collaborative projects that Steven has made his name curating. Steven has the distinction of having practised wrestling since the age of three, and it was this expertise – as well as his knowledge of and commitment to poetry — that led us to invite him to Salford. As our theme of ‘wrestling truth’ has taken hold, alongside our interest in the Biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel in Genesis, we felt it would be valuable to begin exploring the movement language of wrestling itself – and we were not disappointed! Steven took us on an amazing journey through a whole host of techniques including pummelling, underhooks, knee taps, single leg, rock step, shots, wrist grips, the neck tie and Russian tie and each move opened up new ‘movement worlds’, as he described them. In his notes shared with us before the session, Steven described wrestling in the following terms:
Wrestling is essentially the technical development of utilising the human body to manipulate and move another human body. It is an art predicated on using balance for balance destruction, understanding body motion and mechanics in order to nullify these things in your opponent and the development of force, motion and power generation through the body with technique.
It is the consolidating of an a priori act, a means of establishing social dominance through non-lethal combat – one prevalent in children, instinctively, and pre-dominant in the animal kingdom. It is a miniature war without death, culturally.
It is the aspect of non-lethal combat that makes wrestling highly suggestive for our developing poetics of embodied ethical critique, and we were deeply excited to be able to engage with this movement language. We can’t help but feel that it will have a decisive role in the development of our performance. Thank you Steven for all the gifts you brought us today!
ps Steven wrote his own account of the day and included this blog post on his website here: http://www.stevenjfowler.com/blog/2018/7/25/a-note-on-wrestling-as-movement-working-with-scott-thurston-sarie-slee