This is one tough gym.
Before the warm-ups and the wrestling, a man in blue tights and red, green, silver and black boots is sweeping up the dust and dried blood in this small garage-turned-gym in Renton.
Half a dozen masked men and one woman are about to practice lucha libre, Mexican wrestling, for two hours under the tutelage of Profesor José Gómez.
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El Fenix takes a leg stomp to the midsection from Hero, but in an instant he’s up and engaging his opponent in a Greco-Roman-style hold.
Each luchador (wrestler) has chosen his or her own ring name. There’s El Rey Jaguar, La Avispa, El Viento, El Sonico and Cromo.
Their masks all are from Mexico City, where El Profesor was a wrestler for 27 years.
There are two students, a software engineer, a marketing manager and a construction worker.
El Fenix calls the group a troupe.
Don’t ask if it’s fake like American pro wrestling.
“There’s a suspension of disbelief by the audience,” says El Fenix.
This is about acrobatics, action and stunts and performance not scripted.
To succeed, says El Fenix, “You must disregard your survival instincts.”
El Profesor shows them how to take the falls, punctuating the move with a slap to the canvas.
El Profesor says “it takes persistence, patience and practice.”
The wrestlers conclude practice forming a circle in the ring, arm in arm, giving thanks no one was injured.
Alan Berner: 206-464-8133 or firstname.lastname@example.org