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Judo in pro wrestling


Donedude

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Been thinking about this one for a while since firstly I do judo myself ( black belt) and also been reading the bios of gene lebell, Taz, Doug Williams, Kenta Kobashi, Kazushi Sakuraba etc all come from judo backgrounds.

I was wondering other than the benifit of being ahead when it comes to bump taking are there any other benifits of coming from this background and entering pro wrestling?

I know that Gene Lebell used to use some of the submission holds that he learnt from judo to stretch people who didnt want to do business the right way when he worked as an enforcer in several cali federations.

Im curious as if its a better background to come from in respect to entering pro wrestling than say amatuer wrestling.

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The are a number of benefits of a martial arts background going into pro-wrestling:

 

* Being able to 'bump' being the main one I suppose. I would say that this is one of the things that pro-wrestling trainees struggle with the most when starting. If you are already experienced in break-falls and your body is conditioned to the bumps, then you've got a massive advantage.

 

* Martial arts will ensure that you have good coordination, balance, physical fitness and an ability to learn and remember sequences and moves.

 

* With Judo in particular, there are a number of throws, takedowns and submissions that could be used or adapted to add to your standard pro-wrestling moveset, giving you a bit of individuality.

 

* There's also the commitment thing. If you've been dedicated enough to achieve a Black Belt in Judo, then you have demonstrated that you've got the commitment to stick to a goal. So many people that turn up at pro-wrestling schools end up quitting when they get a little frustrated and realise it's actually really fucking difficult to do.

 

The most difficult thing for a martial artist to adapt to is the showmanship aspect, remembering that everything you do in pro-wrestling is for an audience. Compared to Judo, every movement needs to be half the speed and twice the size (exaggerated), it's a whole different game.

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Gene LeBell was never NWA champ. He wasn't even a top level wrestler. He was the policeman in the old LA territory and even though he was little, was reportedly one of the scariest dudes in the business. Later, he worked out with Bruce Lee, became a stuntman, beat up Steven Seagal and is now an MMA judge as well as a judo coach for Karo Parisyan and Manny Gamburyan, amongst others.

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BJA/WJA, my uncle whos a police officer was my sensi so as well as learning the competition style judo that alot of people are only taught, I learnt alot of the self defence aspects of judo as well such as the armbars, leg locks, chokeholds etc, My father works for a japanese company and when I was in my early teens I lived in japan for two years and i remember going into a dojo and having the floor wiped with me.

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Gene LeBell was never NWA champ. He wasn't even a top level wrestler. He was the policeman in the old LA territory and even though he was little, was reportedly one of the scariest dudes in the business. Later, he worked out with Bruce Lee, became a stuntman, beat up Steven Seagal and is now an MMA judge as well as a judo coach for Karo Parisyan and Manny Gamburyan, amongst others.

But more importantly than them, a coach for Rowdy Ronda Rousey.

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Not top level? he won both of the west coast nwa championships (nwa western and NWA mid-pacific).

He got short pushes some places, yes. But he was not a 'top level', as in NWA champion material, as you claimed. With so many places to wrestle in those days most half-decent wrestlers would find a promotor that would give them a chance at some point in their careers. And as a tough guy he naturally got his chances and got to win titles in a couple of mid-sized territories like holding the (Ed Francis & Lord James Blears's promotions) Hawaiian Title in a 3 month program with Neff Maiava winning and dropping it back to the samoan in a typical random short-term territory feud of its time. And also winning the North American Title in the Funk family Amarillo/West Texas based promotion, which seemed to be so little news worthy that we don't even have a date when he lost it. He didn't hold it long, thats for sure. Yes, these were promotors that was members of the NWA, so they can be called NWA titles, but it wasn't THE NWA Title. It was the Hawaiian belt...from Hawaii and the North American belt in Texas. But they were the top local belts at the time, but Lebell wasn't a long-term player. More a tough respected guy that worked a few programs here and there for variation.

 

As for other famous judo guys turning pro, you got to include Seiji Sakaguchi and Bad News Brown. Neither super workers, but respected. But yeah I would agree that judo is a very good foundation for pro-wrestling. Not only is the fall technique similar, you'll also get the throws and movements in too getting fluid in the basics on how to do it right. It'll give you a head start for wrestling.

 

 

--PUNQ--

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