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Old School Wrestling Training

The 1978 video below shows a group of wrestlers training at the New Japan Pro Wrestling Kaminoge Dojo. Several popular wrestlers from the 1970s are seen within the clip, including Antonio Inoki who is well known for his match with Muhammad Ali. Inoki is also known for wrestling against and later learning from the legendary Karl Gotch. It should come as no surprise that the low-tech training style seen within this video is similar to the regimen encouraged by Gotch.

If you aren’t familiar with Karl Gotch, refer to this previous entry.

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What you will also notice within the video is the use of a deck of cards. Such routines have been discussed on this site several times before. NFL legend Ray Lewis is one of many athletes who grew up training with a deck of cards. A related entry can be found here.

A common theme that connects the video above with the previous Lewis and Gotch entries is the low-tech nature of the routines. These individuals got themselves into tremendous condition with minimal equipment. The old school approach certainly lacked flash but always delivered results. Mental toughness was also imperative. You’ll notice that the wrestlers above are pushing themselves to exhaustion in a gym that is over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ironically, many modern trainers who diss such methods would struggle to last a day in one of these old school gyms. Don’t be fooled to believe that today’s athletes are the first to achieve peak physical condition. There is always something to learn from earlier generations. Many of the athletes who thrived in previous eras were as well conditioned as anyone you’ll find today.

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Don’t rush to improve on the past if you haven’t yet learned it.

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8 comments

8 Comments so far

  1. Eric January 4th, 2013 3:14 pm

    Old school wrestlers(not rasslers) and boxers I feel were much better conditioned in the past. William Muldoon was an old school wrestler who was renowned for his fitness and even John L. Sullivan enlisted him to help him shape up for some of his fights. Frank Gotch was another old school wrestler who was a physical marvel and what can you say about Dan Gable. Gable is probably one of the fittest athletes ever. Is there a boxer alive today who could match the fitness levels of Carmen Basilio, Rocky Marciano, or Henry Armstrong?

  2. Ricardo January 5th, 2013 3:13 am

    what a treat to see this, thanks for posting. I agree with Eric about the fitness of old-school fighters, they possessed a level of toughness too that could have only been borne out of great hardship. I can still remember being completely awestruck when I met Gary Spiers as a kid, or seeing tapes of Benny Urquidez fights. The same thing happened once when I was paying for a breakfast at a cafe in north London, I turned around to see Henry Cooper stood there. He would have been almost 70 yet was still physically imposing, he’d have knocked me out in a heartbeat.

  3. Eric January 5th, 2013 10:53 am

    @Ricardo,

    Benny Urquidez was born too soon. He would absolutely rule MMA today as he did kickboxing back in the day. About as well rounded a fighter as it gets, he was schooled in various disciplines including grappling. Was ahead of his time. I heard he wasn’t a bad boxer either.

  4. markstraining.com January 6th, 2013 1:21 pm

    A great vid! If you look for old karate or even better, judo videos you will find similar training.I remember seeing a vid of judo great kimura in his later years training some younger athletes and they are using similar exercises. Old school is the best school! Lol

  5. peter yates January 7th, 2013 11:28 am

    HI ROSS, THANKS FOR POSTING, BROUGHT BACK A LOT OF MEMORIES OF TRAINING KARATE AND JUJITSU IN JAPAN IN THE SEVENTIES. AS A FOREIGNER YOU ALWAYS HAD TO TRY AND DO MORE, YOU WERE ALWAYS BEING TESTED BUT IT WAS A GREAT ENVIRONMENT TO TRAIN IN. I REMEMBER ALWAYS HAVING A POOL OF SWEAT AROUND ME DURING CONDITIONING WORKOUTS, BRUTALLY HUMID SUMMERS AND NO AIRCON. I LIKE USING ALL MANNER OF TRAINING BUT THERE IS SOMETHING VERY SATISFYING TO TAKE YOURSELF TO THE BRINK OF EXHAUSTION WITH THE MINIMUM OF EQUIPMENT.
    REGARDS, PETER.

  6. Eric January 7th, 2013 3:46 pm

    Agree Peter. There is something about bodyweight exercises, or just old school routines like working with loaded wheel barrows, sledgehammer routines, climbing ropes, monkey bars, animal walks/crawls etc., that leave you physically, mentally, and emotionally more content than a weight workout. Not that I’m against the iron, far from it, I’ve been lifting longer than I’ve practiced the other movements, but I just seem to favor the other stuff over lifting now. If I was forced to drop one I would drop the lifting in favor of the “outdated” stuff.

  7. Sam January 12th, 2013 2:27 pm

    i did not expect to see the koshti clubs! traditional persian pahlavani training tool! very interesting.

  8. Sean May 2nd, 2013 11:33 am

    I see that the video is gone from youtube, anybody know where I can find it? Id really like to see this one!

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