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

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #12

kpro7The training sessions just keep getting better at the Kamikaze Pro Dojo. This week was immense. It was probably the most fun and productive time I’ve had since joining the school. Here’s why.

Things are really starting to fit into place and the momentum is picking up. We kicked off with some cardio outside on the track again, which was such a blessing because it’s been ridiculously humid this past couple of weeks. After three laps and two sets of running the steps, we were all sufficiently warmed up. My recovery time is getting shorter and shorter, which I’m pleased about. I’m controlling my breathing well. Practice makes perfect and I’m really happy with the improvements I’ve made to my endurance over the past three months.

Once that was done, we went back inside and were split into the usual beginner and experienced groups – only this time with an awesome twist. Myself, Johnny and Karl were put in with the advanced guys this week. It was a step up in terms of what we were doing and felt pretty daunting at first, but it was so worth it. First we went over another grueling drill – side stepping around the mat, high knees and forward rolls into flip bumps.

Then we went over the running powerslam and northern lights suplex again. I managed to successfully execute both once or twice, after failing a fair few times. I seem to be better at the getting picked up part. I will need to build more upper body strength in order to change that. I’m working on it but things have been really hectic since I got this new job two weeks ago – I’ve barely seen the weight room.

The best part of the whole day was the chain wrestling we worked on next. This is exactly the kind of thing I want to learn. We worked on a lock up, waistlock takedown, escape, headlock, a few reversals, and a half nelson pin. When we put it all together it was such a fun chain to do. It took me a while to get each thing down but I think by the end of the class I wasn’t doing too badly for a beginner. I’m really looking forward to doing more stuff like this as I think that’s where I may be able to excel, as opposed to the big power moves. Nonetheless, I still need to build strength and get these moves down if I ever hope to have an actual match one day.

We finished off with promos. Me and Johnny did our Technically Hardcore gimmick tag thing against the now famous Born Ville. Pete didn’t have too many complaints and it looks like we are doing okay. Hopefully we can keep moving forwards and not take any steps back. Some of the other promos were excellent, especially from some of the newer guys and even some first timers.

It looked like one of the biggest turn outs this week too. New people keep showing up every Tuesday. If you want to be one of them, check out the Kamikaze Pro Dojo in Birmingham here. It’s a great school with a really nice atmosphere, top trainers and real structure. I hope to see you there soon.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

Kamikaze Pro: Dojo Blog #11

kpro7Now this should have been Dojo Blog #12 but I missed a week. There was no post after last Tuesday, because unfortunately I couldn’t make training, which brought to an end my epic 10-0 streak. I’m now 11-1 after getting right back on the horse this week.

I recently got a job after about half a year of trying, and that’s thrown my routine a fair bit. I was at an all-day group assessment securing the position on the day of training. By the time I got home, I would have had to leave again immediately to travel all the way over to Hadley Stadium, having barely slept and been out since 7am. It goes without saying that I called a rain check and got some well needed sleep.

It’s not just wrestling practice that I’ve missed. What with going to induction days and sorting everything out for the job and other things, everything is basically up in the air. That’s meant that I’ve trained far less. I’ve barely seen the weight room in the last week or so, and I’ve only gone for a couple of runs. I’m looking forward to getting into the swing of things, building my money up and seeing things take shape in the coming months. I really needed this job and I’m so, so happy to have it. I just need to get everything figured out and stuff.

Anyway, all out of that non-wrestling related bullshit aside, I should be at the dojo every week now for the foreseeable future again. We’ve also been invited to join the trainers in going to this place near Coventry where you can work on epic flips all day. I saw a wicked video and really want to go along, as it looks like a complete blast! So, good times ahead for wrestling and fitness I hope.

As for this week’s practice, it may just have topped Week 10. It was really productive, enjoyable and certainly memorable. The only downside was that we had to do the cardio (as part of our warm-up and stretching) indoors, as opposed to on the running track outside. It had been raining all day sadly, so I hope that doesn’t happen again next time. It’s so nice to just get the fresh air outside. I get blown up a lot less early and disastrously on the track. I get why we didn’t though. I hate running outside when it’s been raining.

After that we were split into two groups to go through some drills. It really made rolling and bumping more interesting. The first was a forward roll into a flip bump, the second a back roll into a flat back bump. It was a bit more challenging having to try and keep that momentum and allow the space to go from roll to bump. After that we had to do a flip bump over this platform thing that was in front of the crash mat. The challenge here was trying not to freak out about possibly smashing your head on the platform. Everyone came through it fine, and this drill definitely helped us all get used to jumping more. You can’t half-arse it with the platform in front of you.

After that, we were separated into three groups, with myself and Johnny once again going into the middle. This week it was us two and three guys who came in from the experienced group. I think they were all new, unless they were there last week. All were bigger and stronger than me, but that’s a regular occurrence :p – we tried some more power-slams and even northern lights suplexes. It turns out I’m real good at the getting slammed side, but not so much at the picking people up. I wonder why that is. I really need to get into a proper gym as soon as I get paid, and buy more protein (which ran out two weeks ago, and I can’t afford to replace)

It was really fun whichever way around we did it and I did actually get the chance to pull off a couple of the power-slams on one of the guys. It always reminds me of me and my childhood best friend doing tombstone piledrivers on each other when we were nine – such a cool guy vibe.

After we were done with all that, we were brought together and told to prepare a promo. Me and Johnny have been working together on them for weeks now and are really trying to build a legitimate tag team gimmick (the details of which I won’t disclose just yet) and that continued this week. I had spent the previous week coming up with some bullet points and gave it a lot of thought. Johnny did his part perfectly as always, and I am also cautiously optimistic about my own improvement. It’s now The One Man Hardcore Division’s turn to come up with some creative for next week – although we may actually be working with a manager at the next practice.

Anyway, we chatted a bit, did our thing and it went down pretty well – positive feedback from both Ryan and Pete, who said we had listened to and implemented their advice. That was the plan! Then two of the younger trainees (Born Ville) went against us, doing their chocolate/dark side thing. They are always good for a pop or two. Sadly there was no Matt Lightning and Marshall X rap battle this week, but everyone did a good job – especially all of the new guys. For a first time, some of them were absolutely brilliant!

To end off the session, we did some more physical activity, which is always good. It was time for ground attack hell! One of the trainees lay on the crash mat and took a myriad of attacks from the whole group, one-by-one, all in good fun. There were epic knee drops, elbow drops, and even a rolling thunder. I went for the splash over and over again. It’s pretty much the only one I have any idea how to do. I definitely have a lot to learn in that area of the game.

When all was said and done: hands were shook, money was paid, and goodbyes were said. Until next week, that’s the latest on my journey to the very top of professional wrestling. I’ll show you! I’ll show you all!

Peace,

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 #4

ryansmile

Ryan Smile – Kamikaze Pro Champion

Today is Wednesday and last night was my fourth training session at the Kamikaze Pro Dojo. The group continues to grow in size and stature, and both of our trainers were on hand to do some great work with everybody present. Us beginners were trained by Ryan, while Pete did some stuff with the advanced guys. After our usual cardio/warm-up, we were split into the two groups and ready to get down to business.

We didn’t really venture into any new ground this week, but I thought that was justified. There is still a lot of progress to be made – for all of us in that group – in terms of the basics. I still struggle with my form on a lot of the moves, but I’ll get there. I love working with Ryan to be honest. He explains to you why something is done the way it is. He doesn’t just tell you to do it. He is willing to show by doing, and that helps a lot. Pete is the same way, two great trainers! Also, found out that Ryan used to be a dancer yesterday, and that explains a lot. There is grace is everything he does. Hopefully I can continue to make progress the two of them.

So given our need to brush up on those basics, we worked on the following: forward/back rolls, lock-ups and headlocks. I know those guys probably think that they are boring us, but I love everything we get to do. From bumping on the mat, to applying a headlock, it’s all so fun! I would gladly do that for months before moving onto anything else, if that’s what needs to be done. I respect the judgement of the trainers, and just hope to move forward at the right pace. If that means doing lock-ups for months (rather than moonsaults) to be better in the long run, I look forward to it. I’d rather know how to work a coherent match, before I learn flashy moves that won’t make sense.

We also did the promo thing at the end again. I always find this excruciating. I’m not the shyest guy in the world, but I’m also not the most outgoing, and this is way out of my comfort zone. I know that is the idea, and I think it makes sense. I totally get it, but it’s difficult. I’m hoping I can get better as the weeks go on, but it’s so daunting. Most of the other guys and girls are pretty good at it too, and some of them are just hilariously good! Hopefully I can get to that level eventually.

The whole point of the exercise is to build our confidence and build some camaraderie between all of us. I love that idea. One of the guys from training suggested that a few of us get together to help set up the ring before the Juventud Guerrera show for Kamikaze Pro on May 25th. The plan is to do some work before the show, maybe take a few bumps, and then go for drinks after the show. I’m very excited for this! It should be an awesome day. I was going to the show anyway to review it. There are some excellent matches booked. It will be even better getting to hang out with everyone too.

If you wanna check out K-Pro’s Broken Down City with Juventud Guerrera on May 25th at Cadbury Club, Bourneville – check out this link.

I’ll be back next week with another update on my attempt to transform myself from struggling writer/journalist into ring general.

Thanks for reading,

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]