Fale Dojo is pleased to present the first “Fale Dojo Exhibition” event which will take place on Saturday, March 30 at the Fale Dojo training facility in Otahuhu, Auckland. “Exhibition” will showcase the brightest prospects in combat, and will conclude with the main event that will feature two of the Young Lions from the three-month pro wrestling course face off in what promises to be a spectacular bout when Aaron Solow defends his Dojo Pro Black Belt against the challenger Liam Fury in a contest to close to call.
Solow and Fury share similar journeys and wrestling styles, though their accolades prior to the Fale Dojo were determined in different parts of the world.
Solow, a ten-year pro has competed all over the United States as well as in the United Kingdom. Along the way, Solow developed his high impact style while also gaining an MMA arsenal which he integrated into his craft. Solow’s most notable accolade to date is the Dojo Pro Black Belt which he captured in a tournament while defeating the juggernaut Jeff Cobb (the current ROH Television champion) in the finals. The Dojo Pro Black Belt which Solow still holds and will have had a full year on March 29 will be defended at “Fale Dojo Exhibition” against his fellow lion, Liam Fury. This will also mark the first time the Dojo Pro’s prized title will be contested outside the US.
Fury, the eleven-year veteran is widely regarded as the best wrestler in New Zealand, having successfully held the New Zealand Heavyweight Title on three separate occasions. Fury has competed extensively throughout the country and across Australia. He too has developed an MMA skill set that is fused with his fierce wrestling style. Fury intends on displaying his hybrid approach when he challenges Solow.
Pro Wrestling Head Trainer and wrestling veteran, Tony Kozina is instrumental in bringing Solow and Fury to Fale Dojo as he explained.
“Aaron came to Davey Richards and I in 2012 when we were all training and living in St. Louis, Missouri,” said Kozina.
“In fact, Aaron was there when Toks Fale was sent to us from New Japan Pro Wrestling for his excursion.”
“Aaron already had previous training with Lance Storm in Calgary, and Jason Styles in the San Francisco Bay Area. So, while he stayed with us, I was able to train with him at the gym, in the ring, and at the MMA martial arts facility we also trained at in STL.”
“As for Liam, I had the chance to meet him late last year and we had a few good conversations about his goals, and how best to achieve this.”
“At one point, Liam came down to the old Dojo in Wiri, Manukau where we had a long discussion.”
“We looked at the different paths he was considering and the logistics of it all. It wasn’t long after that he messaged me and told me he’d see me at the February intake!”
Kozina, who’s overseen the growth of the February intake is pleased with how they have worked well together. Kozina shared that In spite of the various dynamics that the Dojo was dealing with for the first time, he was thrilled that the diverse elements worked in everyone’s favour.
“There were a lot of concerns with this intake, as we have our largest group yet from around the world all living together 24/7,” explained Kozina.
“This included our first female student! With all that could malfunction.”
“I must say I couldn’t be any prouder of how everyone has jelled as a cohesive unit, working together as a team and putting to rest any concerns we had before they arrived.”
Kozina noted that this group of lions, unlike previous groups, is the first to have more responsibility added to their training which involved a greater emphasis in learning the Japanese culture. He acknowledged this additional requirement to be an example of the demands given to the lions, many of whom have only been familiar to their own culture up until their New Zealand experience to learning Japanese at a higher level.
“The February intake has an increased workload, as we have now added some Japanese phrases and greetings along with the standard daily physical grind,” said Kozina.
Kozina added the idea of having an event has been a long-term plan in the making which had to gradually come to fruition in time as the Dojo expanded.
“Well the main obstacle is having a product,” he stated.
“In addition to the full-time Dojo students, we also have beginner and advanced professional wrestling training.”
“Running an event was something discussed when I first came over, but we just didn’t have the facility, nor enough people to pull this off.”
“Now, with such a big crew, and in addition, the ability to host a championship match from a North American promotion, it made more sense to dip our feet in, take a chance and see what this all looks like in reality!”
The “Exhibition” event will be the first of its kind for Fale Dojo. Established in 2016 by New Japan star and Bullet Club original, Toks Fale, he envisioned the Dojo as a way of sharing his experience and knowledge with his community with the goal of presenting pro wrestling as a viable career opportunity. Fale’s reputation helped ensure an affiliation between the Dojo and New Japan Pro Wrestling which has allowed graduates from the Dojo’s three-month pro wrestling course to pursue further training at the New Japan Dojo in Tokyo and from there the possibility of gaining a spot on the NJPW main roster. This path was first accomplished by Toa Henare who has gone on to enjoy the fruits of his hard work. The incentive and the opportunity to gain Fale’s insight has drawn in many locals, as well as attracting students from all over the world.
Although Fale Dojo is reputable for its intense training, the Dojo is also known for having relaxed traditions, one of them being the delicious and mouth-watering barbecues. Fale Dojo will be holding its world-famous BBQ sausage sizzle before the “Exhibition” event starting from 5 pm. In addition, Silver Lions Sports will be present and selling NJPW merchandise.
Kozina, on one hand, the no-nonsense trainer, and on the other, the instigator of fun and antics takes joy in being a host of the Dojo BBQs.
“To top it off, we said ‘let’s kick this off with one of our classic world-famous BBQ’s and invite the world,” said Kozina.
“That’s what we do at Fale Dojo. We work hard, play hard and now we invite everyone to celebrate our growing success with us!”
Mark Tui, the General Manager / Coach and experienced wrestler is an integral part of Fale Dojo since its inception, helping to steer the organisation through challenges and celebrations. For Tui, the Dojo’s first event will signify one of many major milestones and triumphs to come.
“I’m very excited and humbled to have our first event and see the Dojo take its first steps into introducing shows of a very high calibre,” expressed Tui.
Tui joined Fale Dojo at the request of Toks Fale in 2016 after they met at the ‘On the Mat’ wrestling event in Auckland that featured the wrestlers from New Japan.
“After the ‘On the Mat’ show with New Japan, Fale approached me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the Dojo,” described Tui.
“Fale said that not only would I train under his wing, but I would also be part of something special.”
“Without hesitation, I immediately said yes and ever since that day I have never looked back.”
Tui added that he sees his role as General Manager as an opportunity to inspire change by helping others realise their potential.
“The role of GM to me is an important title but it doesn’t make me superior to anyone else,” stated Tui.
“I see it as a role where I can implement change and prosperity and bring upon positive growth.”
Since Fale Dojo was opened in 2016 it is fair to say that the hard work and dedication of Toks Fale and all the staff demonstrated over the last three years is paying off. Fale Dojo is very proud to be announcing its first show on Saturday, 30 Match 2019. With the staff’s hard work, dedication and commitment not only to the sport of professional wrestling but to the local community and their ability to demonstrate that professional wrestling is a viable career choice for people living in New Zealand and in other countries, there is no doubt that Fale Dojo will continue to flourish. Join us for excellent action, food and fantastic company at the “Fale Dojo Exhibition” on March 30.