Filed under: training
I excitedly and nervously lace the pair of wrestling shoes I borrowed from Dan. I had yet to have my own wrestling shoes yet, my gear is shiny and unworn. Sitting, reflecting on what this had all been built up to, I had always wanted to be a wrestler, this is where it begins. We’re all excited, it had been a strenuous and painful 6 months since first stepping foot into the slam academy. Our trainer and mentor sits us down and gives us some final words of wisdom before our big debut. Halloween Hell, October 25, 2005. My fellow professional wrestling trainees and myself are about to have our first match. Some of my best friends are here to watch me, some of my best friends I’m battling in the ring. At this moment it all feels like such a climatic and significant event in my life, my career. I realize now in the grand scheme of things, that it is not but a drop of sweat into the bucket that is filling drastically.
My outlook on professional wrestling has changed a lot in the now 4 years since I had my first match. My hopes and aspirations for instance. The ways I train my self, and the way I perform. I’ve had the privilege to be work both face and heel throughout my career, and have really been finding myself lately in ‘heel Kyle O’reilly’. It’s so much easier being a bad guy I find, for instance of comparison. Walk up to a random girl in a bar, it’s a lot easier to get slapped in the face then it is to take her home to bed. But I’ve never liked taking the easy route anyways; this entire journey has been about sacrifice, blood and sweat. Not to be confused with Jesus.
Professional wrestling is a sport, plain and simple. I don’t care what anyone says, but if you work hard, sweat and risk potential injury you’re pretty much in a professional sports mentality. When I was being trained, my mentor Aaron Idol repeated to us a quote that his trainer told him and his trainer before him etc. Originating back to the Hart family dungeon. “99% of wrestlers are just pretending to be wrestlers.” That quote will stick with me forever, or at least as long as I’m remaining in that other 1% of the wrestling population. What sets the other percentage apart is legitimacy. When you walk into the locker room and see ‘Back Alley goddamn Sally’ wearing ripped jean shorts, a ridiculous gut hidden by a mustard stained wife beater, clearly has no athletic background. Are people supposed to believe that this guy is going to kick my ass? Wrestling is all about perception and aura, but insulting the intelligence of the fans paying money is just in bad taste. Now don’t get me wrong I will always work my hardest regardless of the situation and do whatever the promoter wants, I’m just trying to get a point across.
To increase legitimacy one must be in peak physical condition and educated through combat. Now don’t get me wrong, some of the greatest professional wrestlers that ever lived, were nothing more than professional wrestlers. However, more of the greatest professional wrestlers were legitimate ass kickers. How can one expect to be a professional without first being an amateur? Lou Thesz, who many consider the greatest wrestler of all time, trained World War II soldiers for hand-to-hand combat. Karl Gotch, was known as “God of Pro Wrestling” due to his influence in shaping the Japanese professional wrestling style. He developed the most rigorous workout regimen world over known as ‘Combat conditioning’ and invented the German Suplex. He was also a Holocaust survivor. Stu Hart, the father of Bret Hart and Owen Hart, wrestled a tiger and a grizzly bear, shoot. Guys like Thesz, Gotch and Stu are the reasons pro wrestling came to be, because they were legit and believable. I guess the revolution of pro wrestling in the 21st century is to bring back that mentality.
With my pilgrimage into the MMA world I am simply bringing an aura to my character. The more of an actual threat I am, the more believable of a professional wrestler I am. If I am going to throw kicks, well then I sure as hell better be trained in kicking. You see so many guys these days with their taped up kick pads over running shoes trying to kick somebody without any precision or forethought for that matter. If I am going to be grappling with somebody fighting for position, then I had better be trained in amateur wrestling, or submissions and Jiu-jitsu etc. So my 4 nights a week at Absolute martial arts have been paying off. Still a tad reluctant with my elbow (which has healed well) so the second anyone gets close to an arm bar/shoulder lock /kimura on it I tap immediately. Not wanting to risk another two weeks of agony, however I find the need for me to tap a rarity. I’ve attacked with 2 crucifixes this past week! Getting better every day, although I’m nowhere near ready to take on a grizzly.
My style of weight training has also been drastically altered through my moving to St. Louis. Previously I had been stuck in this mindset of bodybuilding. Getting bigger muscles, 3 sets of 12, different muscle group daily, program changeup every 3 weeks. I am obviously not a body builder, what justifies training like one? I’m thoroughly confident the reason I tore my MCL in May was because I had been training like a body builder. Muscle hypertrophy without proper plyometric and endurance training leaves tendons and ligaments weakened. It’s just not practical to what I am doing in the ring, as an athlete. What we have been doing here is an advanced circuit, altering from a heavy strength set, to an explosive set, to an endurance set, continuous circuit in a split muscle group routine. Every week this will change to 2-3 full body circuit workouts. This style of training is so much more practical to wrestling in the sense that we’re constantly moving, exerting ridiculous strength maxing out one’s bodies potential. When someone’s life is in my hands in the ring I don’t want have to take a ‘rest before the next set’ I want to be able to fight through fatigue and keep on moving. For example:
Chest and back day:
Warm up jumping robe for three rounds of 5 minutes.
Heavy set dead lift. Warm up 4-6 reps of 135 lbs. (save your strength)
Heavy set flat barbell bench press. Warm up 4-6 reps of 135 lbs.
The next sets are to be done back-to-back, minimal rest.
Dead lift NFL bench press test (225 lbs.)
1. 225 lbs. 8 reps 1. Maximum reps. 10
2. 315 lbs. 6 reps 2. Maximum reps. 7 (getting tired)
3. 415 lbs. 2 reps 3. Maximum reps. 5 (lord help me)
4. 485 lbs. 1 rep 4. Maximum reps. 5 (ouch)
Okay time for explosiveness.
Medicine ball throwing pushups: with a partner or a wall, toss a medicine ball using your chest, then catch it, do a dropdown, pushup and up again and throw. 25 reps. Last 5 reps should be barely attainable whichever the rep range you decide to follow.
Right away into a dive-bomber barbell bent over back row. So basically a 135 lb Olympic barbell is set up, do a drop down with hands on the barbell, do almost a ‘dive bomber’ or ‘Hindu’ pushup with an exaggeration on arching your back contracting your erector spinae. Pop back up to your feet and do an explosive bent over barbell row, then back down and do it again. 8 reps. Do these exercises back to back for a total of 3 sets each.
If you are not completely drenched in sweat, and seeing the lord by this point then you are clearly a robot sent back through time to kill John Connor.
Wide grip lat pull downs and chest dips. On the pull downs start as heavy as you can muster and gradually decrease the weight as you need to, but make sure you do whatever it takes to get 50 reps. Same for dips, bodyweight only, take breaks when needed, but get to 50 reps.
Phew, great workout! So this would continue through out the week another 2 days with a 1-day break. Legs and arms day. And a shoulders day. Of course alternating exercises as the weeks progress, but the same formula. You’ll get tired as hell, but when it comes down to working in the ring, you wont be blown up. Full body workouts are quite ridiculous as well. I will be posting a leg workout and a full body workout in the near future.
There should be no shortcuts in the way one trains themselves for a sport. If you are a wrestler and you truly believe this is what you want and what you are, you should strongly believe that Pro wrestling is a sport. You should be making sure you are not a hazard and liable to seriously injure somebody. Feel passionate about what you are and what you want to become, take your training seriously and love every second of it.
As far as my personal life has been going since my departure, things on the job front are successful. I got in contact with a local landlord through my kickboxing class. Apparently being a landlord warrants a lot of stress that one needs to burn off through demolishing a kicking shield. I explained my background in construction and basic handymanism… It’s a word, look it up. So I have been renovating apartments for the last 3 weeks and enjoying myself greatly. Lunch breaks consist of going to the kickboxing gym for Muay Thai class. Working as a personal trainer is all fine and dandy pretending to be friendly and courteous and “Oh you just don’t like the taste of diet sody pops” alright then.. “What are you, 10?” Demolishing a kitchen and rebuilding it, working with tools and my bloody, dust-covered hands has no equal in manliness. I’m also learning a lot, as far as plumbing and electrical goes. Growing up with a father who is a literal ‘Rick of all trades has benefited me greatly. All through out my life, my dad was working on various projects from renovating our kitchen a record 4 times to building a canoe and 2 kayaks. He built the house I slept in as a baby, and the bed I slept in as a kid. I’ve always been so grateful for my Dad being the ultimate perfectionist handyman. I didn’t know any other kids on my block that made there own toys out of scrap wood and nails. Worst racing car ever, but still the point remains. Like battered and worn leather, Dad’s calloused hands pat me on the back as he proudly watches his son take an interest into his life’s work. Christmas, he designs a banana rack to make for my mom, or a shelf for holding our cookbooks. He helps me every step of the way building my confidence around the roaring blades of destruction that is carpentry machinery. Helping me nervously build a present for a previous girlfriend, or sending me in the right direction for building a wine box for Jessica’s graphic design project. Endless hours he spends in that garage, designing, working, getting covered with oil, or sawdust or metal shavings. I remember the first time, but certainly not the last time, a saw cut me. I must have been no older than 7, making a new toy. I was using his orange handled handsaw with a piece of wood shoved unsteadily into his familiar gray vise. I slipped and sliced my left pointer finger. Blood went everywhere, and I had never seen so much of it. I freaked out and began crying, Dad grabs me over his shoulder runs me upstairs and hands me off to mom, the nurse awaiting with a towel for pressure. Dad goes back downstairs and continues what he was working on, no time for incompetent kids. I still have the scar; I’d have my revenge.
A ONE ACT PLAY
Scene is at the Greenwood family garage, door is open. Kyle (7 I think) shoots a hockey ball against the cement barrier. Rick is working on a table saw, working on another masterpiece.
KYLE: Dad, I’m hungry!
RICK: okey kidd, just gimme another minute here.
Kyle now anxiously jumping around unaware of surroundings.
KYLE: Dad, I’m hungry! Fooooood, food food food food.
RICK: Yumpin Yiminee’s kidd, yeah yeah. AH!! Fuck!
Rick cutting off the tip of his pinky applying pressure to his disfigured digit and runs inside. Dialogue comes from offstage, as Kyle remains stage left, confused. Grandpa’s voice is thick Scottish accent.
RICK: Tommy! Tommy! You gotta take me to the clinic eh.
GRANDPA: Whaat did ee do then, Rrrick. Oh Jesus, Oh Christ.
Rick and Grandpa with cigarette in mouth, run back onstage, outside towards Grandpa’s car, Blue Mazda 626. Rick clutching at his hand with paper towels.
GRANDPA: Juss hang teet wee Kylie, Yer Dad’s cut he’s finga.
Car peels out leaving Kyle, for the first time in his life, home alone.
END OF ACT 1.
Dad still blames me to this day for ruining his pinky, says I was hungry. I love my Dad. His ability to always show calmness and reserve as always gained my admiration.
So I found the time to finally write a new blog with coming down with a sickness. I guess overtraining mixed with working in the rain is a leading factor. A few days rest combined with obscene amounts of Vitamin D-3 and vitamin C has helped me regain composure to think clearly. With the upcoming flu season I strongly advise anyone to purchase some vitamin D-3, in excessive amounts ranging from 4000 – 8000 iu’s a day, leaves little room for a virus to survive in your body. Also hydrating adequately and getting lots of rest is important as well. I’ve also found that gargling salt water has helped clean my throat and prevented the multiplication of germs. Anyways it’s somewhat depressing to be stuck inside on a beautiful day, Halloween to boot. Looking forward to feeling better tomorrow and be back to my determined self. For this week I’m heading to Philadelphia on Wednesday night for the Ring of Honor national TV tapings for HDnet. And on Saturday, Edison, New Jersey for a ROH house show. Looking forward to being on the road again. Don’t eat any tainted candy anybody. And remember, hard work needs to be rewarded, laziness needs to be punished.
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