'It hurts, I like it'
That's how I wound up at a play party devoted to erotic combat and open to beginners. As I walked into the main room, with mats and cages scattered across the floor and a mixed-gender crowd waiting for the next match, I was a little nervous. I hadn't wrestled anyone since Brenda Dafner sat on me in gym class in the seventh grade — not a hot memory. But I screwed up my courage, shyly approached that sexy blonde, and asked her if she'd roll with me. She said yes.

It took half a minute for her pin me in the chokehold of my dreams. I tapped out — the wrestling equivalent of blurting a safeword — and she released me from her clinch. Everyone applauded. I'd lost the match, but won the crowd. Later, one gentleman enthusiastically confessed to me, "That was great. I really liked it when she started slapping your ass in the side mount."

Me, too.

The experience left me humming and hungry for more. Maybe I could play the choker, not the choke-ee, if I had a lot more practice and a lot more technique.

As luck would have it, a few weeks later I caught wind of a workshop entitled: "Kinky take-downs, non-bondage restraint, and body control" sponsored recently by Boston – The Next Generation, a group that caters to pervs 35 and under.

When I got there, it was a full house. Couples cozied up on mats, while others filled the two dozen random office chairs. Our instructor was a sweet-faced woman named Alex, who had impeccable kink cred as Ms. Bootblack 2006 — an international contest that judges participants on "how they make bootblacking interesting, sexy, intriguing, and different." She began the evening with safety tips, progressing into restraints and takedowns: the Bear Hug, the Chicken Wing.

At times, the class could have passed for a practical self-defense class — except when Alex said things like, "From this position you can spank or fist very effectively," or when she asked her volunteer, "How does that feel?" And the reply was: "It hurts, I like it."

The real deal
Having checked out the kinky side of martial arts, I thought I'd take a look at the legit side. Surprise: nobody on the legit side wants to go on record. To report this story, I phoned the half-dozen schools around town: nobody, but nobody, would return my calls.

I finally pried this insight from a gym manager who asked repeatedly not to be named: "We view kinky grappling similarly to how we view street fighting — people could use what they learn from us in non-sanctioned competition, but that is not our purpose and it's not something we would ever get involved with."

Well, maybe not them — but I needed more training, so I decided to attend a straight martial-arts class at a real jiu-jitsu school, where nobody would be wearing a PVC bustier and carrying a riding crop.

After I filled out a bunch of paperwork and waivers, the strapping instructor handed me the gi, a garment about as sexy as a hazmat suit. It was a look I did not rock. Any erotic aspirations I had were quickly beaten down when we (that's me and a dozen men of varying ages and physiques) all had to start jogging for a warm-up, another not-so-hot-in-the-pants activity.

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