31 July 2011
Chaz and Josh locked in a power vice, chests pressing into each other, hands clasp out to the sides trying to force the other one back. I hoped to God they were both too distracted to see the bulge in my pants!
My eyes widened as Josh's arms suddenly edged back. Despite my prediction, Chaz was forcing him down. I held my breath as Josh arched back more, Chaz cementing his lead and proving beyond doubt he was the stronger man. Could the man hired to protect me really be losing?!
Josh arched back more and I could see the strain on his face now as he bowed to Chaz' strength. They were pretty evenly matched, I knew, but I somehow thought Josh might find the power to conquer all. He arched back even more, leaning dangerously close to being off balance now. The more he caved, the less leverage he had, and Chaz began driving his advantage forward.
Josh bent backwards almost 90 degrees now and Chaz stepped into him, preparing to sink him to the ground. Suddenly though, Josh dropped, falling to the ground and pulling Chaz down on top of him.
Knocked off balance, Chaz was caught off guard as he fell forward and was somersaulted over with a kick of Josh's legs. He hit the mat and Josh back-flipped, landing in a sitting position on Chaz' chest. With their hands still clasped, Josh crossed Chaz's arms across his neck and pinned him in a choke hold, using Chaz's own arms to choke himself.
Chaz kicked out, his legs flailing in the air but as much as he thrashed and bucked, he couldn't move. His face turned purple from the choke until Josh released him.
"Give?" Josh asked.
Chaz nodded, gasping for breath.
Rising to his feet, Josh extended a hand, helping Chaz up.
"You okay?" he asked.
Chaz nodded and rubbed his throat.
"Jeeze man, you're good. I was sure I had you."
"It's not just about strength," Josh pointed out, shaking hands with Chaz. I wasn't sure now if Chaz had greater strength after all, or if Josh had manipulated him into that move. Either way, Josh definitely had the better skills.
"Well done!" I beamed, holding him tight, and after his initial surprise, he hugged me back.
For whatever reason, Josh's win against Chaz created an internal competition amongst our security guards and other staff. Suddenly, they all wanted to grapple each other, and Josh was regularly challenged to defend his "title" as though his job depended on it.
Having refereed once, albeit more perving that refereeing (!!!), I was asked to referee future battles too. I have to admit that the thought appealed to me on several levels, so I agreed to be the 'neutral' observer. I was both flattered and surprised that the respect I had for our staff was returned and they trusted me to be both discrete and fair in my judgment should it be called on.
That said, I had unwittingly set a precedent with Josh. Every time he annihilated his opponent, he hugged me hard and tight, and the harder the battle, the longer his embraced lasted. I hoped he didn't realise how turned on I was at the sight of his fights and in the warmth of his embrace, but even if he did, it didn't stop him racing over for for that celebratory hug.
Between matches, Josh taught me some self defence necessities, like yoga for flexibility, and fight moves and tricks to defuse a difficult situation, like playing along with a peep's demands until an opportunity arose to escape or attack.
"Your number one priority is always to keep yourself safe," he said. "Swallow your fear and forget about your pride. Pride isn't going to help you if you're lying on the ground with a bullet in your skull. The best advice I can give anyone is to put things into perspective. You're better off losing your wallet than your life. And let's face it - if you lose your life, he's going to take your wallet anyway. The moment a fight starts, things escalate out of control. If you can't talk your way out of a situation, sometimes the best thing to do is to swallow your pride and just play along. The longer you play along, the more he'll let his guard down, giving you a better chance to end the situation, escape or disarm him."
It was good advice, but it didn't let me know what to do if I was attacked, however unlikely it was.
"What if though? What if I have to fight?"
"If you have to fight, then fight," Josh said, "Just remember it's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog. Never be the one to force a confrontation but if you have to protect yourself, the thing to remember is that most guys go for muscle, not stamina. Even most of the biggest musclemen wear out fast, so if you can outlast them, you win. The moment you give up, you've lost, so never give up. Work through the pain and humiliation and keep on fighting for as long as you can."
With that in my mind, Josh began not only teaching me some basic self defence but making me practice the lessons. It was one thing to know, he said, but another to be able to implement the moves quickly. It wasn't part of his job spec to teach me, but it meant spending time together, and that was something I suspected he wanted as much as me.
Our wrestles were never too serious. There was no way I could beat him. But they taught me to think on my feet and to practice his lessons. One day while wrestling around he pinned me down and our eyes locked. For one brief, long moment, we stared into each other's eyes and we both forgot to breathe. As his body pressed down onto mine, I realized that he had similar feelings for me. It was an all-too-short eternity though. He pulled away, ending the lesson. His professionalism wouldn't let him take those feelings further.
I had mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, I appreciated his professionalism, but on the other hand, I wanted to kill him for seducing me so much but not following through. I ached for his lips against mine.
I tried wiping that moment from my mind, little use that it did. In my mind our fate had been sealed, but more pressing matters were destined to intervene…