God dammit, wrestling was hard.
For one, Virgil knew very little about wrestling. Sure, rugby had tackling, but that was different. When you tackle someone in rugby, they typically have some amount of forward momentum that you can use to help take them down. You take out the center of gravity of a moving body. You even get a second wrap-up guy who helps out by covering the guy's upper body to prevent the off-load.
But wrestling was different. The other guy was trying much harder not to be taken down, and even when you did get him down, you had to pin him. Pinning was strange to Virgil. In rugby, you tackled someone and then tried to get up as quickly as possible either to contest or to get in position for the next play. Virgil wasn't used to having to hold someone down for an extended period of time. More relevant to his current situation, Virgil wasn't used to being held down for an extended period of time.
Virgil hadn't expected it to be this hard when he'd agreed to Ilya's offer to practice against him. Virgil thought it would be fun, like the contact drills he did in practice. Virgil was good at those; Virgil had a wicked rugby tackle. Ilya had seemed so nice about it; he made it seem like not such a huge deal. Ilya had been friendly with the offer, well, as outwardly friendly as the Russian ever was.
Virgil had spent a good chunk of the past 20 minutes pinned to the mat by the smaller Russian. God dammit, wrestling was hard.
"Perhaps this was not the best of ideas," Ilya said ten seconds into the pin. He could tell that Virgil was starting to regret this whole wrestling match idea as much as Ilya was.
Before Virgil came along and offered to help, Ilya had essentially nobody to train with. He was stuck maintaining a squatting position and doing pushups, both the regular, garden-variety pushups and special diamond pushups. Those involved making a diamond with his fingers, keeping them together on the ground, and pushing his elbows out. He wondered how many people who weren't athletes even knew about this style of pushups, let alone the benefits to doing them over normal pushups.
Then Virgil came into the gym, and for some reason Ilya thought that one athlete to practice against was better than none. It was technically true in that it was possible to practice his holds on a living body as opposed to empty air, but Virgil provided essentially no challenge at all.
Internally, Ilya was frustrated that he fell into the non-athlete trap of conflating all athletic pursuits into one homogenized lump. It reminded him of shoddy science fiction having scientist characters who were jacks of all trades in every field of science the plot required them to be.
In reality, athletes specialized, and rugby had very little in common with wrestling. One was a team sport as opposed to an individual sport, and the goals of rugby were completely different. As far as Ilya could tell, since he wasn't an expert in the sport, the bread and butter of rugby was in learning how to run, tackle, and pass the ball. Maneuvering and working in a team were key, and the game moved too intensely for finesse to be feasible in the act of tackling.
In wrestling there was no teamwork aside from the act of tagging people in, no momentum to make tackles work, and much less room to maneuver, not that wrestlers needed so much room anyway. Instead, technical wrestlers like Ilya concentrated on how the human body could and couldn't move, finding ways to restrict movement and ultimately pin their opponents completely.
With Virgil, who didn't know the first thing about movement restriction, stances, or anything, Ilya was able to pin Virgil pretty much instantly. All Ilya needed to do was pull Virgil down by the elbow, then grab his leg and knock him off balance, and finally hold his legs and pin him to the ground. Virgil had a weight advantage over Ilya, but that didn't mean a thing next to his complete ignorance of how the sport worked.
Ilya got back up off the floor, finally letting Virgil out of the pin. "I will have to teach you how to wrestle if you're going to be any kind of decent sparring partner in the future and not just cannon fodder to practice my holds on. Does that sound good to you?" The Russian folded his arms and looked at Virgil, awaiting his answer.