The Life of Smith: Grappling at Grapple (once again) – Part One

Grapple Wrestling are a Leeds-based promotion that operate a training school out of Brain and Brawn Fitness in Morley, which is only a few miles outside of Leeds City Centre. Grapple also run shows around the Yorkshire area, with them running a show in the Batley Sports Centre on Saturday 25th March. I have been to their school before and was looking forward to heading down to Leeds once again to grapple at Grapple. This will be a two-part blog exploring my training at Grapple and some snippets of what I did with some of my free time. Part one will explore the Thursday and Friday I was at Leeds and part two will explore Saturday, Sunday and Monday, with the latter being available on the OSWtv website as of next week.

The last time I travelled to Leeds, I got the Megabus there and I booked a return Megabus journey for this visit to Leeds too. With a lorry overturning on a windy Forth Road Bridge earlier in the week, I was hoping that something similar would not happen on the Thursday I travelled down. Thankfully the journey was pretty straightforward and I was particularly pleased with how quiet the Edinburgh to Leeds part of the journey was.

The ever-changing faces of a Megabus journey, from when I get on the bus, to when the bus gets busy and I have to sit my bag on my lap and suitcase between my legs because someone has decided to sit beside me to getting on my transfer which turns out to be a quiet bus.

My home for the next four nights would be the Art Hostel, an accommodating and well organised hostel on Kirkgate, which was not a far walk away from the bus station, as well as the PureGym on Cloth Hall Street. The staff were friendly and welcoming and I enjoyed my stay there. The staff were blown away when I mentioned that I did wrestling and that it was the reason for my visit to Leeds, which reinforced to me how unique our business is.

After checking into the hostel, I was back on the road again as I hopped onto the number 52 bus from Leeds to Morley for training with El Ligero, who currently wrestles full-time on the UK/European wrestling scene and beyond. I have been familiar with his work since 2007 and was looking forward to learning from him. I found training with El Ligero to be very informative and productive, with him having the more experienced hands at training that had been on shows work with the less experienced students at Grapple. I found this very beneficial and learned a lot about playing the role of the good guy (AKA face, blue-eye etc.), which is something I am still finding my feet at after spending so long as a more villainous wrestler. I believe that it will come with time for myself though and I will be taking a lot from the Thursday session back to Scotland with me.

The next day saw me with a day to myself. Initially, I was planning on going to Scarborough and exploring around there, but I decided not to after having endured at least seven to eight hours of travel the day before. I ended up going to the PureGym close to the hostel and after likely inflicting people with a cold that I randomly caught, I was on the number 52 bus again, but this time my destination was JUMP trampoline park, which is a few minutes away from Elland Road, the home of Leeds United AFC.

At the trampoline park, I made the mistake of not wearing either shorts or joggers, instead wearing a pair of standard chinos. The belt that I wore with the chinos ended up splitting completely within the first 20 minutes of my experience, followed by the chinos ripping at the back of the upper thigh area. Despite these malfunctions, I still enjoyed my bounce and the post-bounce slushy as well. The day concluded with me purchasing a belt and a new pair of trousers before going to see Kong: Skull Island, which was a really good film in my opinion and I would recommend staying after the credits if you go to see it. Also, Samuel L Jackson is the man.

I ended up going back to the hostel after seeing Kong, having a relatively early night after a cup of green tea. Aside from the occasional glass of wine with my meal, I am not one for drinking or antics these days and welcomed a night in. The first two days of my Leeds experience had been good and I was looking forward to see what events would occur during the rest of my stay. Part two will explore that in more detail, but until then that is the life of Smith. Good day.

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