We’re holding a fundraiser!

In celebration of Dan Glass’ ‘Queer Footprints: A Guide to Uncovering London’s Fierce History’, Bender Defenders, a queer and trans martial arts community empowerment project, and, Ray Filar, producer and theatre maker, are inviting you to get greasy. Tickets available on Outsavvy.

Oil up and strip down to your finest wrestling gear. Wrestle with your crushes. Establish dominance or give in to submission. Become an oily bender.


  • Doors at 7pm: come early, bring some food and a nice cold (non-alcoholic drink), peruse the Bender Defender merch table and chat with some bendy friends.
  • 7.15pm. A short queer-power talk: learn about the history of Bender Defenders as a community from Luca and Dan. 
  • ‘Karaoke-style’ wrestling from 7:30: You can sign up as a pair and wrestle a specific person, or if you want to wrestle but don’t have a partner, find our expert Matchmakers and they’ll set you up. Anyone is welcome to wrestle: you don’t have to have done it before, and all skill levels are welcome. 
  • ‘Tournament-style’ wrestling from 8:30: The rules are the same. It’s still silly and fun, but one competitor will leave with a prize. The tournament will be hosted by Ray Filar, who will offer expert live commentary. 


  • How it works: you’ll both be covered in baby-oil before wrestling for 90 seconds. You get points every time your opponents’ shoulders touch the floor. Most points wins!
  • If you’d like to wrestle, bring a towel for after and clothes you’re happy to wrestle in (baby oil may stain some types of clothes). 
  • Wear whatever you’re comfortable in! It works best if you’ve got some bare skin for the oil to stick to. Previously people have wrestled in anything from a vest and shorts to a funky wrestling outfit. Costumes encouraged but not required. 
  • Please read our wrestling ground-rules for more info.

Spectators are warmly welcomed and encouraged! Come watch some oily benders in action and show your face at the hottest queer night in town.

WHY?  We’re raising money for Bender Defenders. Our coaches are incredibly passionate about bringing martial arts to the queer and trans community. They have been volunteering their coaching time, with all funds from ticket sales going towards venue hire. As the classes have grown in popularity this model is no longer sustainable. 

All money raised will go towards buying more equipment and paying the coaches for their time so that costs for the classes can stay low. Find out more on our crowdfunder page.

ACCESS INFO:  The event will be a mixture of seated and standing. If you need to sit, we will make sure there is a chair for you. The entrance to the venue has a ramp leading up to two double doors. There is a small (1 inch) lip between the ramp and the pavement. There is a wheelchair accessible toilet on the ground floor of the venue. The event is being held in the basement, which is accessible by a flight of stairs, or by a lift. There is a small outside area. Please message the event organisers to discuss any particular access needs in more detail. 


Oil wrestling is one of the oldest sports in the world. It was performed by ancient communities 4,500 years ago in Thrace and the Balkans.

The oil was first introduced to ensure fairness, making the wrestling about the tactic rather than the wrestler’s size or strength. The addition of oil also makes it difficult to stand and get any grip, as the sweat mixes with the oil. It ensures the match is fair, as both opponents are at a disadvantage allowing people of different weights to battle.

Wrestlers oil one another prior to matches as a demonstration of balance and mutual respect.

Oil wrestling can be traced back to ancient Sumer and Babylon. Greco Roman traditions also point to the practice of oil wrestling.

At the event we are not aiming to recreate any traditional oil wrestling sports, but it’s still good to know where oil wrestling comes from.

Look up oil wrestling history to find out more about this amazing sport! 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: