Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #14

kpro7Hello to the select number of people who find these tales of wrestling training remotely interesting. Thanks for checking out the fourteenth installment of the Dojo Blog. I believe the school has been in operation for around 18 or 19 weeks now but I have unfortunately had to miss a few sessions over recent months. Finding a job can be a bittersweet achievement. However, my most recent absence had nothing to do with work. I had to miss practice two weeks ago because I was on set shooting a sitcom pilot. That project is around a year old, and I’m sure I’ll be posting a lot of stuff on here about it once it comes to fruition towards the end of the year. With that and work I’ve only made it to 3 of the past 6 times which is disappointing, but when I have managed to attend, it’s been brilliant. The sessions seem to get more challenging and more rewarding each time. So lets get down to business.

I’m writing this almost exactly a week ago to the hour since my last training session at the Kamikaze Pro Dojo. It was a very worthwhile evening. Sometimes it’s difficult to find the will to go after working all day and being up since seven but I never regret it. We started off in the smaller room stretching, doing some cardio and then trying out some rolls. We were even challenged to try a handstand – a challenge that I miserably failed.

Once the big room had become available, we moved over and split up into two groups. I’ve become a regular in the advanced group, and I’m relishing the stuff we get to do now. It’s extremely difficult and I feel out of my depth a lot of the time, but you have to learn sometime. When things start heating up, it forces you to go with it and try your absolute best. We worked on another little chain which focused on posting. It involved a vertical suplex, head scissors and some crazy spider grab thing I don’t even know how to describe. The point is it was all pretty difficult and stuff that I didn’t really have a handle on. It took me the whole duration of the class to pull off the head scissors to an almost respectable standard, but I stuck with it and kept trying.

It’s been a bit of a massive step up over the last few sessions to be honest. I wasn’t quite sure I was ready for some of these moves but it’s just so fun! Even if you have to mess up thirty times to get something decent, the trying itself is entertaining. I know I’m still a long, long way off becoming a real wrestler, but I actually feel like I’m on that course now. If I show up as often as I possibly can, listen to my trainers and give everything, I might one day be able to have a match.

We are starting to learn more about psychology and how you go about putting matches together, so that’s a good sign. The more of that information I can get the better. After a very fun but energy sapping hour and a half, we all paired off and worked on our promos as usual. When it came time to shine I think me and the big man did alright. He has it down a lot more than me but my confidence is still improving and that’s a good thing. The trainers didn’t have too much of a problem with it so maybe we are doing okay. I think we need to try to add some more depth and freshen up our tag team a little bit but I can’t say I’m over-flowing with ideas.

As for the rest of the gang, some of the promos were downright awesome. There was a few new guys again and one of them cut this hilarious promo about being the teacher and taking his opponent to school. It was reminiscent of the incredible Matt Striker from a few years ago and had everyone in stitches. Some people just have natural confidence I guess, even on a very first day. He actually teaches in real life I think so I’m sure he is used to nerve-racking and uncomfortable situations. He knocked it out of the park anyway, as did a few other people. I’m still pretty bland with mine but it’s not really my strength.

On the whole, it was another great class. We had Kamikaze Pro star Chris Brookes there also lending a hand with the training side of things. I thought I had almost hurt him a couple of times by botching so bad when he tried to show me moves, but I guess he is all good. Pete and Ryan were great as always. James was always giving tips and trying to help us get to where we need to be. All of the boys worked hard and seemed to have a good time. Hopefully the new guys will come back as the group continues to grow in size. I’m still learning and probably will be for a very long time, but I can’t think of a better place to do so.

Unfortunately the Budokan Martial Arts Centre is closed this week so we won’t be training tonight. Oh well, at least I got to go gym two days in a row because of some rare time off work. Bring on the wrestling next week!

Thanks for reading,

Craig

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Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #9

kpro7Thanks for checking out another brief instalment of the Dojo Blog. I’m journalising (if that’s a word) my journey from wannabe Dave Meltzer to real life pro-wrestler. One day, when I’m known affectionately as “The new Brock Lesnar” you can come back to this page and remember the good old days.

Anyway, that’s enough funny business – back to reality. I’m having fun on my quest so far. Nine weeks are down. I’ve done a two hour training session once a week and a couple of in-ring seminars during that time. I’d like to think I’m getting some of the core basics down (the rolls and bumps). My front bumps could definitely use work, but I feel like I’m making good progress everywhere else.

This week – like last week –  we got out some platforms and took bumps off of them onto the crash mat. This is easily the most fun thing we’ve done there so far. I really don’t mind doing this every time, it’s awesome! As the platform gets high, the kick you get out of doing it increases. No bumps or bruises were sustained, and my confidence is growing. We didn’t really do anything else this week besides rolls and bumps. I guess some members of the beginners class (including myself) could still use some work on them.

However, our warm-up was a little different this week. Rather than doing the sprinting and the high knee drills that we have become accustomed to inside, we ventured out onto the running track next to the building. We train at Hadley Stadium so there is a full 400m track at our disposal. When Pete and Ryan led us out, I didn’t know what to expect. First we went around and did a lap. It wasn’t a competition, but I was still counting – I came in fourth. Then we had to run up and down the steps at the side of the track – that was a killer. The cool breeze was very rewarding though, much nicer than being cooped up inside.

Finally, to finish our outdoor adventure we did another full lap of the track and I came in first. I don’t know if anyone else was really trying (or being competitive about it I mean) but I was so proud! I like to think I’ve really come a long way in the last three months with my cardio. I’ve been working my ass off, and as a smoker, it’s not easy. The last couple of weeks I’ve decided to lean more towards the cardio than weight training – still doing both, but switching emphasis. I think that’s paid off because I doubt I would have even made it around the track three months ago.

Hopefully all the gym cardio, outside running in the park and drills at wrestling practice are paying off for me now. I still need to focus on building muscle, but I really want to make sure I’m not getting easily blown up after 20 seconds. That’s something I can build on. As I said before, I don’t know if the trainers or the advanced guys thought of it as a race (probably not) but I was still really happy to come through first!

So we did the awesome warm-up outside, came back in and did some stretches, then spent the class going over rolls and bumps. We finished off with the promo section as always. The guys asked us to come up with tag team promos this week (which suited me and Johnny, as we had been trying them for the last two weeks anyway). They weren’t too impressed with the showing. None of us really stepped up to the plate, and some flat out refused to do it. Me and Johnny did our best and gave it a good shot, but there is a lot of progress to be made there for sure.

I guess that’s it for this week. I think I’ve covered everything. Cardio is getting better, confidence is growing, hopefully technique is improving, promo fear is slightly going away. Things can only get better. Can’t wait for next Tuesday for more. If you’re in the West Midlands area and are looking to try out training for pro-wrestling, you should check out the Kamikaze Pro Dojo here. It’s a great school with quality trainers and a really cool atmosphere. Check check it!

Peace

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #8

kpro7So week eight has been and gone, and I can’t wait for the next training session. You know what they say, time flies when you’re having fun. Once a week just isn’t enough. Maybe in the future I’ll be able to do twice a week, when I’m good enough to almost hang with the other guys. For now, I just need to learn everything I can each week and keep coming back.

As for this week, it was pretty cool. The guys from BBC Three were there filming again. In case I haven’t already mentioned, they are coming around a lot of dojo sessions, shows, etc following Pete and Ryan, for a show called “People Like Us” – at least I think that’s what it is for. Exciting times nonetheless! They were there to focus on those guys, and we will probably just be background, but it was still a little bit nerve-racking. I’ll get to that later.

After a nice workout and some light cardio, we proceeded to crack on with rolling drills. After that was out of the way, we spent the majority of the session giving and taking ground attacks. It was the first time us beginners had got to do this stuff, and we mostly served as practice fodder for the advanced guys. Hell, you gotta pay those dues! I enjoyed it all anyway, but I have to admit, I loved trying to jump in the air and splash over people more than I did taking leg and elbow drops. I also tweaked my right arm a little bit when someone landed on me for one of those moves. No big deal. Pain and gain, and all that.

The most fun period of the session came when the guys dragged out these athletic benches (not sure what they are called, but gymnasts use them) and made a makeshift second rope out of them. I can’t imagine how high the top rope must feel because this itself was pretty nervy. We were told to splash and back bump off them onto the crash mat, in an attempt to build confidence and take us out of our comfort zone. It totally worked! By the end, everyone had fallen helplessly backwards off of that ledge with the confidence that they would not be broken upon landing. Nobody was hurt. Everybody was more confident I’m sure. I know I was!

To finish off, we did promos as usual. Me and Johnny slightly improved our attempt at a dual promo. The guys said we made some progress, so that’s good. Still a long way to go though! The cameras were on us all for this segment, which made it a bit nerve-racking but we all made it through. Matt Lightning came with the rhyming skills and the end of the session spiralled into an unstoppable rap battle between him and James (Marshall X) – that certainly entertained us all!

That’s it for this week. Check back next week. Roll on next Tuesday! In the meantime, I’ll be in Wolverhampton on Friday for Fight Club Pro at the Planet Nightclub. Kevin Steen will be in attendance, so I am beyond excited. On Sunday, I’m going to the Kamikaze Pro 1st Anniversary Show. That means I get to see Uhaa Nation for the second time in nine days, and Ryan Smile is taking on Robbie X in a unification ladder match. It’s going to be one hell of a weekend. Not gonna lie though. I’m most excited about England v Italy on Saturday night. That is going to be immense.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

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: 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]