The Argus is breaking the first rule of Fight Club: we’re talking about it. On Saturday, Feb. 23, the residents of Butt A had a chance to vent their aggressive sides with the first semi-official meeting of Westrife, Wesleyan’s only underground boxing club (that we know of).
Founder Mackenzie Schlosser ’16 has 10 years of fighting experience, including black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, Krav Maga, and Mixed Martial Arts. She is happy that Westrife offers her a new, less disciplined opportunity to continue her hobby.
“I was always doing some form of martial arts as a kid, and back then it used to be serious,” Schlosser said. “Now I can just enjoy the adrenaline rush and competition without worrying about rank or rules.”
Schlosser discussed the spontaneous nature of the club’s origins.
“The people in our dorm had a habit of randomly sparring and wrestling, so we decided to make it a club,” she said.
Although the group started as merely an idea, enthusiasm grew as people discussed it more and more. The founders posted a sign-up sheet for the group in the Butt A lounge and soon got the signatures of everyone in the hall. The group continued to grow in popularity through word of mouth, a process helped only by its Facebook group. The group, titled “WESTRIFE BITCHES,” bears the slogan, “Where you tussle, talk about it, and end with hugs.”
After about two weeks, it became apparent that many people were interested in taking part in a good old-fashioned brawl. Last Saturday, their desires were met. Yet the actual fighting didn’t start with an organized pairing of fighters, but with something a little more innocent.
“It started as a tickle fight, that led into a real fight, that led into a night of boxing and wrestling,” Schlosser said.
Following the first fight, the group became more organized. Willing fighters were paired by size, height, and fighting experience. For some, this meant wrestling, but others opted for a safer option, choosing instead to bring out boxing gloves and sparring helmets.
In spite of measures taken to bring some order and safety to the night, some injuries inevitably did take place. The collective pain amounted to a broken toe, a black eye, and a handful of smaller cuts and bruises. Still, everyone walked away satisfied with the evening, even those who were just spectators.
“Watching it felt like being in the front row of a Roman gladiator arena,” said Cole Phillips ’16.
In keeping with the underground nature of the fight club, there’s been no word as to when the next match will take place. Ultimately, it depends on when the group’s members decide that it’s time for another friendly match.
As long as the group restricts its activities to underground fighting and doesn’t progress to blowing up campus buildings à la Project Mayhem, it has the potential to become a powerful and lasting outlet for school- and life-related stress.
“Westrife is completely spontaneous and casual,” Schlosser said. “Anyone who wants to initiate sparring can do it in person or through our steadily growing Facebook page.”