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Thug Life: Punching, Kicking, and Takedowns as a Way to Do S/M

Thug Life: Punching, Kicking, and Takedowns as a Way to Do S/M
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Fight Club. Rugby. MMA. Let’s face it—we live in a society where it’s okay to be physically combative in a competition for superiority. But what happens when the fighting takes on an overtly kinky overtone? You’ve got what some refer to as Rough Body Play, or “Thug Play”—an old fashioned beatdown, not to the death, but until someone gets tired or cries “uncle.”

  The Primal Release

A few years ago, I asked an infamously sadistic top to play. Over dinner, he asked a question about a surgery that I’d had a few years ago. After I replied that it wasn’t a problem, he said, “So, I can punch you in the stomach, then?” The idea of being gut-punched startled me in a profound way, one that I wasn’t willing to leave unexplored.

The scene that night was, to the observer, nothing but a full-throttle beat down. He pinned me down with his knees while punching me over most of my body. He berated me for being soft, for my ineffectual attempts at hitting back. He said that it was over when I called him “Sir.” He picked the one safeword that my pride would keep me from saying unless I really, really meant to end the session. My hair was used to pull me around. My memory around that night is full of snapshots of not just the violence, but the laughter as I baited him once or twice, the profound sense of pride I got when I was able to land a punch or spit in his face once. (Oh, how I paid for those, though!)

The next morning, a photographer who had permission to record the scene showed me photos of everything that happened, and the person that I saw in those photos startled me—a strong, fierce woman, submitting to a beating but never letting it drown the pride in being able to take it “like a guy.”


People who bottom to thug play often bring up the concept of inner strength when asked why they enjoy it. “Once I ‘survive’ an intense impact play scene, I feel like I can take on anything I am dealing with in my ‘real’ life,” says Julie. “The release I get out of thug play carries over into my real life, putting the skirmishes that happen in work and life into perspective.”

Others find that they get off on the adrenaline, the fight-or-flight aspect of the scene. Their body reacts to what is happening with a surge of adrenaline, an attempt to spur the body into action. Often, the fear factor is also triggered, bringing along with that an additional edge of facing danger that can be highly arousing to some people. The body begins to act in ways that we may not expect; some bottoms will try to throw punches, even though they’ve agreed to be passive in the scene. Others may find that it triggers something inside of them that forces their body to submit to it externally, while internally they experience emotional catharsis that is tied into their powerlessness.

An often unexpected facet of rough play is the experience of transcendence of the day-to-day life in a primitive way. “There’s no room in the primalness for any other thoughts,” says K, who both tops and bottoms. “It…really allows me to let go and just feel, the higher brain shuts off and lets the monkey brain do all the work.” This feeling of release and refocus often gives the mind the chance to free itself from “real life” stress and, once the scene (and the processing of the emotional and physical high that comes along with it) is over, we can come back to the day-to-day stressors with more balance and a feeling of strength.

After the play scene was over, I was absolutely exhausted. My arms felt heavy, I was covered in sweat (even though it was a cool day), my breathing was hard, and I felt buzzed from not only the exertion, but from having forced surrender from my partner.

He was exhausted, too. His skin was red and raw in places. He clung to the bottle of water that I handed him with both hands, and he leaned against me with all his weight, relying on me to support him as he recovered.

As both of us slowly came down to earth, we talked about the scene, about things that felt really amazing to us, about the emotions and thoughts that surfaced while we played. We had a chance to learn more about each other. We had dropped enough of the social barriers that we usually keep in place, and gotten a chance to experience each other more openly and honestly. And that was the point of the scene—to create a bond between us that would allow us each to grow individually, as well as become more intimate with each other.

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Comments

Kayla  

Take-downs/rough play really is amazing. My boyfriend is a subbie who probably wouldn't be able to take it, and I'm just not fond of being hit, but we have some friends that absolutely love including it in every aspect possible of their play. He's a completely sadistic top, and they'll overturn half of their dungeon furniture half of the time.

02/19/2010
gone77  

I've heard about take-downs but never really had an interest in them. While I'm not sure I would ever play in such a way, this article has opened my eyes as to the whys. Never knew it was called "thug play," though. Interesting.

02/20/2010
EvilleApe  

Funny where as in my sex life i am dominant but not overly sadistic in my real life i train in MMA,full contact Karate and Juijitsu. I also compete in submission grappling and played football as a high school student.I fully understand the rush of surviving pain.Taking punishment and submitting when submitted. It pales i must say to control and dominance but they go together. We all take our turn in a completely unscripted way.I remember laying people out on the grid iron. Hearing the wind come out of them. I remember the same happening to me. Complimenting my opponent on a good hit or take down in JuiJitsu partly to let them know I'm still here! You haven't finished me!There is power in endurance of pain. More power than giving it out really.Its the sub who's the tough one and the Dom who's really the sensitive one. Checking a a breath.A sound .A facial expression.Making sure to read the scene.I for one hold back too much for fear of hurting to my little subby's taste but I'm working on it.Intersting article.

02/06/2012

Great article thanks!

07/26/2012

BDSM—kink—fetish: what are they? How does one do it? And, most importantly, who’s doing it? The answer might just be staring back at you in the mirror.

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