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Ten years of non-competitive wrestling

Adelaide’s unique, non-competitive gay wrestling group celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, and has inspired interest around the globe.

It’s an odd thing to think, but wrestling isn’t just a competitive sport. Social wrestling is a thing, and it seems that lots of guys enjoy the thing. Who knew?!

In May 2011, five gay and bi guys in Adelaide got together and decided to beat each other up. Okay, so maybe that’s a dramatic recreation but it does sum up the birth of Wrestling for Fun, a non-competitive wrestling group that’s turned out to be a winner for men of all persuasions.

Wrestling for Fun is a collective of gay, bi, and queer-friendly straight guys who enjoy wrestling, but don’t necessarily want to engage in a competitive sport. It launched ten years ago this month when five guys who met through wrestling personals websites, got fed up with being ghosted by potential wrestling partners or chatting with guys who wouldn’t commit to a bout. They decided to meet regularly for wrestling practice, little realising that the collective would not only endure and expand, but become the envy of other jurisdictions around the world.

Wrestling for Fun focusses on the social aspect of wrestling. While participants fight to win, it’s more about the fun of it than actually winning or losing. The collective doesn’t compete with other wrestling clubs. Instead, it focusses on the wrestling experience for guys that aren’t up for competitive wrestling but want to give it a go anyway.

This simple escape from the demand of competitive wrestling has inspired interest in the USA, Canada, the UAE and several European countries, where that gap between competitive wrestling and social wrestling has never been filled.

The Wrestling for Fun ethos means that newcomers get trained, and every participant is required to respect the experience, strength and privacy of their opponent. Each session matches participants randomly, and they use that time to either fight, teach, or practice. A lot of laughter is usually heard through the bouts that happen in separate grappling rooms.

Three of the five founding fathers are still active participants. The other two stayed with the collective until they eventually moved interstate.

Wrestling can be a sexual fetish for some LGBTQI+ guys, but the Wrestling for Fun collective is strictly about the grappling experience. In other countries, like the USA, wrestling is an accepted sport that is taught in high school. In Australia however, wrestling has remained a less-accepted activity. The collective allows men of any age or persuasion to give wrestling a go while respecting their privacy and disregarding their sexuality, despite being a primarily gay man’s collective.

After 10 years of social grappling, the Wrestling for Fun collective is still open to welcome queer or queer-friendly guys, regardless of strength, experience or sexuality. The only stipulation is an agreement that bouts are non-sensual, and each participant must respect the privacy and limitations of their opponents. In other words, what happens in fight club, stays in fight club!

More information about Wrestling for Fun can be found on their website at wrestlingforfun.wordpress.com or Facebook page: facebook.com/WrestlingForFun.

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