Sentinel Progress

What do you do for a living? Well …

My husband Jon and I have been together for about 10 years. Now, to some of you reading (OK, probably a lot of you) that’s nothing. A flash in the pan, right? But to me, 10 years is a lot. After all, I’m only 36 — 10 years is nearly a third of my life.

I think part of the reason we seem to work so well together is that we have much in common. I know the popular sentiment is that opposites attract, but, in our marriage anyway, that hasn’t been the case.

We read the same kinds of books, we watch the same kinds of movies and we share the same dark (and slightly inappropriate) sense of humor. We’re sarcastic and spontaneous and like the same kinds of foods.

We’re not big on socializing and we tend to hang out at the house, keeping a pretty small, close-knit circle of friends.

In fact, of the two of us, neither is very good at meeting new people but if someone was to and bring them ‘round for dinner or something, it would probably be me — mostly due to the nature of my job.

In general though, I try to avoid that because there’s always one part of any standard introduction that always gets a little … weird.

“So, what do you do for a living?”

It seems like a perfectly good ice breaker — much better than boring old weather conversation — and in most cases people answer with fairly typical professions: lawyer, banker, manager, writer … whatever. But in our case … well ….

My husband is a professional wrestler.

Yes. You read that correctly.

Now, when most people think of pro wrestling, they envision some muscle bound guy with a bleached mullet, spangly tights and bad acting skills jumping off a top rope or hitting someone over the head with a folding chair.

Oh, those guys exist — I’ve seen them, I’ve met them. But I promise you, that’s not my husband.

Jon is a wrestler and coach in an obscure form of submission wrestling known as Catch As Catch Can — and he gets paid to travel all over the world to teach it to others.

In the past decade, he’s been called out to do seminars with the US Marshal’s Service, Air Force MPs, various prison guards, Marines, local police, FBI — you name it.

In addition, he runs a gym in Clemson where he trains MMA fighters and grapplers.

So, what is Catch wrestling? Well, in short, it’s old time carnival wrestling.

Back in the day when carnivals still traveled from town to town, most would feature a “strong man” that would accept challengers in the crowd for money.

The carny wrestlers had to be very good at what they did because if they were to lose to a challenger, more than likely, they were out of a job.

Catch As Catch Can was so named because the wrestler would “catch” any body part they could — head, arm, leg, neck — and apply crippling submission holds to make the challenger give up.

By using this method, a 135 lb. wrestler who was well trained in Catch would easily be able to defeat opponents two or even three times his size — and keep his job.

Today, Catch wrestling has all but gone extinct. There are no more traveling carnivals out there taking on all comers and the vast majority of the men who knew the style have passed away from old age. But a few of them passed their knowledge on to a couple of guys out there — one of them being my husband — who realized the untapped market in teaching this style to law enforcement.

Now, when you put it that way — people get it and the weird looks pass. But it always starts off with: “Wait, you’re a what?”

In truth, it would probably be less awkward if he just called himself a “personal defense consultant” or something equally vague and professional sounding. But, from what I can tell, he likes it.

On our son’s school registration forms he happily filled in the square that asked about his employment as “professional wrestler.” I’ve seen him do the same thing at doctor’s offices and on tax forms.

You see statistics all the time on professional athletes with failed marriages but all of them seem to be high profile football and basketball players.

What can I say? I married a wrestler.

Strickly Speaking

Kasie Strickland

Kasie Strickland is a staff writer for The Sentinel-Progress and can be reached at Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not necessarily represent the newspaper’s opinion.