I’m the type of guy who plays hard, within the context of what the rules allow. Wrestling and rugby are not violent games per se; there is a strict set of rules to follow that minimize chances of damage. Which is not to say nobody’s getting their bell rung a few times, just that it should only happen accidentally.
Until you meet up with some Schmuck who decided to expand the role set, presumably towards his advantage.
Enter the wrestling schmuck. A very few wrestlers will try to screw with your brain; intimidation tactics, designed to throw you off your game in either confusion or anger; the point is to disrupt the player, and usually outside the context of the rules. One guy I was matched up with seem to have had that concept as the only move in his repertoire.
Right from the opening whistle, he stepped way into me, leading with his head. Now you can’t immediately assume somebody that has had butted you is automatically guilty of being a jerk. Sometimes accidents happen, even with the most skilled opponent. Or he could simply be clumsy; poor body control combined with bad coaching explains a lot of the unnecessary contact in high school wrestling. So no harm no foul; I just took a step back and shook it off then moved back in. Thud! Exact same move, exact same result, except louder. I could actually hear our heads ringing.
Now I’m a little wary at this point. Regardless of the guy’s intent, two resounding head butts in under a minute is indicative of something, usually that the guy has no business being out there. Either he’s a jerk, or has so little body control that somebody’s going to get hurt. So you take a little extra time to focus on exactly what’s going on. I close again and like clockwork, Clunk! He’s clearly driving in with his head to make contact, either to wear me down or to intimidate me. I took a few steps back and gave the referee the classic shrug and “what the hell” expression. The ref looked even more bewildered than me; his return shrug indicated that he knew the guy was doing it deliberately, he just couldn’t think of a particular penalty that he could use to stop the behavior.
So when somebody’s wants to up the ante, that usually leads to me shrugging “okay” and playing with within the context of the new rules that he’s just established. I didn’t have a plan of what to do about it, but the ref made it clear that head butts weren’t going to be a called penalty. So the next time the guy stepped in leading with his head, I grabbed him by the shoulders and swung my head back and forth once (Thwack!), twice (Thud!) and thrice (Goonnggg!), using the ridge of my skull against his forehead. It was getting to me a little, but it had clearly taken the other guy out of his game, mentally and physically. His intimidation tactic wasn’t working, but more importantly I think I just could take more head-banging than he could!
He more or less slid matt-wards; all I had to do was follow him down and flip him partway through the process. He smacked down to the mat, shoulder blades first. An excellent takedown and even in my somewhat befuddled state, it was easy to hold on for the pin 😉
An even worst thug existed in Calgary’s Rugby circles. The little sociopath seemed to actually enjoy inflicting damage outside the rules! He was a known bad egg who was eventually banned from the league, but not before I played him several times. One of the many times I was at the bottom of a ruck pileup, the little shit came over to my side. He carefully looked around for the ref and then started to kick me in the head, over and over!
My arms were trapped in the ruck so all I could do was shift my head around to distribute the damage. Things were looking pretty grim until one of the guys saw the kicking. He jumped free of the ruck and flattened the little thug, which finally brought the ref into the equation; problem solved.