Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #7

frostfight

Kamikaze Dojo trainers Pete Dunne and Ryan Smile

Just a quick update this week. I’m scaling down my writing across the board, in order to focus all of my time and energy on finding paid work. I don’t want to become a rent boy, but that is looking increasingly likely. Nonetheless, here is what went down this Tuesday!

Ryan and Pete were on hand to help provide a great training session for us all once again. The warm-up was pretty standard, but we didn’t do any stretching before hand. I’m a bit of a stretching enthusiast so I wasn’t big on that, but I didn’t pull any muscles or anything, so it’s no big deal.

After that we did a lot of drills, much more than usual. We practised rolls, bumps, lock-ups, headlocks, and other bits and pieces. But unlike before, we did them all as part of a drill. One drill, then a break, then another drill – I found this really beneficial. It felt like a real good workout, so that’s like a free gym day that I wasn’t going to get. It was awesome working on the technique but also busting a fat ass sweat. When you’re circling around the mats and doing high knees for ages, it really takes it out of you!

Another cool thing was that we did the promo stuff in the middle of the two hour class. Me and Johnny worked on a two person thing beforehand and tried it out. It wasn’t executed perfectly and left me with a few regrets to be honest. However, it was good to try something different and the trainers are thinking of perhaps doing tag team promos next week, so maybe we will get another shot. Either way, I’m trying to keep on top of my own stuff and making notes, so that if needed I can perform a solo promo. Some of the other guys did a really, really good. Everybody is coming along great.

After going a bit cold for that 25 minutes or so, it was gruelling to get back into the drills for the rest of the class. But as I said before, I was grateful for the chance to work myself. I managed to keep up throughout the session and – without tooting my own horn – I feel like my cardio work is starting to pay off. I’m nowhere near the level I want to be, but I am improving. It’s an absolute fact that three months ago I would have been slacking on the high knees, stopping and getting drinks throughout the drill, and/or throwing up outside afterwards. It feels good to know that my body is becoming a better engine.

At the end of the session, we got to watch the advanced guys perform some practice matches. This was very good to watch and analyse, and actually pretty fun. I’m looking forward to one day being able to do that stuff.

We got out on time for probably the first time since we started, so the geezers who come to lock up the gym seemed happy. I managed to get the bus outside for the first time in ages, and got home at a respectable time after the long journey from Hadley Stadium. On the whole, it was a success.

I can’t wait for next week, but before then, I’ll be doing a seminar on Friday at MAC Birmingham. Independent sensation Uhaa Nation is coming over and it will be simply amazing to get to be in the ring with him and learn some stuff. Beyond excited!

Roll on Friday, and roll on next week.

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #6

It’s time for another qudojotingsick update on my adventure to become a pro wrestler. Pete couldn’t make it this week, so Marshall stepped in to help train us beginners, while Ryan looked after the experienced guys.

It was a very valuable session, despite the loss of Pete. I was well pleased with the additional thirty minutes. I hope that continues going forward. It felt like we had a lot more time to work on the physical stuff, and we only went over by two minutes after finishing the promo part. We are usually way, way over time.

So we put the extra half an hour to good use and worked on a lot of technical wrestling. First we did the usual gruelling warm-up and rolling drills, then we moved on to taking bumps, and then learned some holds. I got a good chance to work on some of the stuff I already know, something you can never do too much of. I also got to try out a few new things. My favourite part of the session was doing flips and taking bumps on the mat. I think that’s the thing I enjoy the most about practice at the moment.

Having said that, I was real happy to learn how to apply a wrist-lock, hammerlock and even work on some reversals. That’s the kind of stuff that I want to use a lot in my style if I ever get the chance to actually wrestle a match in the future – but I’m a long way off that right now. As essential as this basic training is, I couldn’t help but occasionally glance over at the advanced guys and check out the crazy suplexes and throws that they were performing. I’m determined to work hard and keep showing up until one day in the future I can be doing that stuff too.

When it came to promo time, I was as nervous as I am every week. The nerves haunt me. God knows how I would get on in front of a crowd because I can barely speak in front of ten trainees. Nonetheless, despite the nerves, I knew that this week I was prepared. I had spent much of the previous week making notes, practising, recording myself. I took it really seriously. After being probably the worst promo every week up to this Tuesday, I was committed to making an improvement.

Ryan made it clear as we went in that we needed to really try and make some progress with these promos. He stressed the importance of it, and I actually think that helped. I mean, it kind of upped the stakes a little bit, but in the end it seemed to pay off for me. I wasn’t going to stay home. I knew I needed to get better. So I tried my utmost to just forget the nerves and focus on the stuff I’d prepared and practised. What do you know!? It went down well! Ryan said it was “very, very good” and it looks like I’ve made some strides.

I’m still not close to being the best, by a long shot, but I’m getting better. That’s all that matters! For next week, I know I need to focus on keeping those catchphrases that I’ve come up with, and learning how to adapt them around different opponents. I’m going to watch and listen to a few things on improvisation and see if I can pick up some good tips. The promo side of things isn’t what I’m really interested in, but rather than cry about it and stop coming, I’m just going to do the best I possibly can. Who can ask for more?

Hopefully in the coming weeks and months, my performances on the mat and on the “microphone” will continue to improve, and I will edge closer to achieving my dream of wrestling a real match in front of a crowd.

I’m Craig Hanson.
No gimmicks, no thrills. Pure talent and skills.

Thanks for reading :p

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #3

dynamiteOkay so today is Thursday, and it’s been around a day and a half since my latest wrestling session. This week’s practice was just as good as the last. It was cool to have Ryan back. With the two trainers switching between the experienced and beginner groups, we got to learn some really great stuff from each of them.

A couple of my buddies who had been there last week couldn’t make it. Luckily for them, we mostly tried to go over things that we had already been working on. We spent quite a lot of time going through clotheslines and shoulder tackles, which I enjoyed. Pete encouraged us to hit harder, louder and with more venom. I don’t think I can do too much of anything right now. I just want to learn. If it means I get to take a hundred more bumps and hopefully get a little bit better at doing so, that’s a positive for me.

We did however still venture into some new territory. We began learning how to take our lock-up technique (which we started in the first session) into a full nelson and a snapmare. This part of the class was really fun. I struggled to get the hang of how to roll through it, but it always takes me 10x the amount of time it would for a regular person to take something in. Ryan was patient with us, and I think I was starting to get it at the end.

To finish off what had been another really awesome evening, we had the dreaded promo part. All of us had to pair off and come up with a few things to use when cutting a promo on each other. As long as we put in the key promotional material (date of the show, venue and name), we were on the right track. I forgot the show name, or the venue. I can’t remember. Either way, mine seemed so terrible. It’s really gonna take me a while to get the confidence to do this well. Some of the other dudes came with some hilarious, witty shit. I enjoyed that part of the class for that, but wish I could get better myself. Maybe that will come with time, or maybe not. We shall see.

Anyway, I had a great time once again. I really, really can’t wait for next week.

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #2

kpro7So I’m finally getting around to putting down my thoughts on this week’s training session. I’ll be tracking my progress on here as I try to make my way into the wrestling business. I do this mostly for my own recollection and perspective, but if you’re reading, I hope you find it mildly interesting.

After another inspirationally good Kamikaze Pro event in Birmingham – which featured a match between the legendary Steve Corino and the man training us Pete Dunne – I was very excited to get back onto the mats and try to improve. For the first time in my budding career, I would be undertaking my second consecutive wrestling lesson. I’m hoping to keep that weekly streak going for as long as I possibly can.

I very much enjoyed the session. Ryan Smile – who also leads the training – couldn’t be there, so Pete had to try to bounce between the experienced class and the beginners. I’m sure you can guess which group I am a part of. The cardio stepped up a little bit, but I just about managed to keep up. I’ve been trying to get in the gym at least three times a week for the last two months, and hopefully that’s paying off. There is still a helluva lot of hard work to be done, and progress to be made, but I’m feeling as good as I have for many years.

As for the actual techniques, I felt we learned so much more than last week. It was a big jump from Week One to Week Two in terms of what we got to try out. I absolutely loved it, and I could tell that all the guys felt the same. It’s hard to speak for the experienced guys/girls and what they were doing, but on our side of the room, we all seemed to be having fun. It was so cool to be doing vertical and back suplexes after only one week. I didn’t exactly perfect all of mine – both in giving and taking – but it felt amazing to be working on that stuff.

We also worked hard drilling some of the more core manoeuvres, like basic forward and back rolls, shoulder tackles and clotheslines. We all bumped the mat countless times, and it’s starting to feel better each time. I really, really need to start tucking my head on the back bumps though, or I’m going to fuck my neck up. It’s already giving me quite a bit of pain. I tend to pick up on things slow. I wasn’t always that way. From what I’m told, I was a “fast learner” as a child. Not so much now, but I’ll get there. You can only snap your head back on the mat so many times before you instinctively tuck it. At least I hope that’s the case.

Pete put us to work and it was by no means a cakewalk, but I left the building with a huge grin on my face once again. I really, really want to make something of this. It’s been my fantasy since I was eight years old. I’m very late to get started, but I’m still no DDP. I think there is time for me, if I put in the hard work and keep showing up. No pain, no gain.

I certainly can’t wait to get back in there on Tuesday for Week 3. Everybody there – the trainers, the students, the organisers – is super nice and I would really recommend this school to anybody in the West Midlands wanting to try out professional wrestling. I’ll be back through with Blog #3 next week.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Welcome to the Dojo

dojotings
Source: Kamikaze Pro

So last week was the opening of the Kamikaze Pro Dojo, and I went along to take part and give active pro-wrestling a second try. The last time I went to a training session like this, I literally struggled to walk for a week, so I was tentative and nervous going in to say the least. One similarity between this school and my first experience is that the two trainers were the same. Looking at my back in the mirror – without the black and blue spine – you wouldn’t have thought that was the case.

One key difference which I think helped me out a lot was that we weren’t in a ring yet. As complete beginners, we were taught how to bump on mats, lock up and apply headlocks. There was no running of the ropes until we puked. I was in a group alongside the other people starting from scratch, and that suited me. I know absolutely nothing and am by no means a premier athlete. Starting from the very bottom is the only way to learn everything on your way to the top. The more experienced guys and gals were put into another group, after we all finished opening up with some cardio. The session was well structured, organised and the segregation between the two levels of expertise was important and effective. We did have loads of fun trying to grapple and pin each other down before getting down to business, but it was good to be learning with people at the same level.

The cardio to start the session was challenging, but not needlessly gruelling. I kind of felt last time that by the end of the start, I had no energy left to do anything else. That made trying to take hip tosses that much harder. Now I’m no authority on this, and I can’t say that any method is right or wrong. I’m just saying what works for me. It was good to warm up properly and get the blood pumping, but this time around I felt much more motivated and inspired to concentrate, try to improve and try to learn from every word the trainer said.

It’s also worth adding that I was in terrible shape back then. I’m no Shawn Michaels now, but with a good six weeks of hitting the gym behind me, I have trimmed the fat and upped my game in terms of cardio a fair bit. There is still a huge amount of progress to be made – I still despise myself, which is crucial – but I found the whole thing a lot more enjoyable this time around. The trainers worked us the perfect amount, and I wasn’t going in quite as cold as I did in the past. That made it a much more productive and pleasant experience for myself.

Everybody was super nice. Ryan and Pete did a great job. We even got to try out a promo at the end of the class. The whole thing was great. Definitely not bad for a fiver, and after watching another amazing Kamikaze show yesterday,  I am very excited to get back in there tomorrow and learn some more stuff. Hopefully if I keep working hard, maybe one day I can live my dream and have a match. To anyone from Birmingham – or the surrounding areas – you can get all the info you need here. The sessions are £5 each and well, well worth it!

Training is provided by Kamikaze Pro’s own “Dynamite” Pete Dunne and Ryan Smile, two excellent performers who have wrestled some of the best in the business. You really couldn’t ask for a better pair to learn from.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]