2019 was a year of significant milestones for Patrick Schischka. From his formal training at the Fale Dojo and the New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo to wrestling on the ‘Liger Down Under’ card; Schischka shares in generous and immaculate detail about his young lion’s journey.
Fale Dojo February 2019 Intake
Prior to joining the three-month professional wrestling course, Schischka was a student in the Dojo’s general wrestling class for the public (now known as the Wrestle Fit class). With a background in amateur wrestling, Schischka applied the discipline to his formal training in professional wrestling.
“In late January after a night class at the Dojo, I was hanging out and having a chat with Toks [Bad Luck] Fale. He said ‘you’re doing well, but if you really want to get something out of the Dojo, you gotta do that three-month course.
“I had already thought about it before Fale’s recommendation, and I already had money saved up. So after consulting with the missus, I got in touch with Mark Tui to register for the February 2019 intake.
“I also talked to others who had done the course, so I knew it was going to be hard, nonetheless I really enjoyed it. I really got an understanding of mental toughness, and I think it helped later when I got to the New Japan Dojo.
“You always hear about mental toughness, but until you really get pushed to your limits and breakthrough that pain barrier, you don‘t understand what it means to be mentally tough until you actually experience it.”
NJPW Dojo, Tokyo
Following the completion of the February intake, Schischka and his fellow graduates helped facilitate the Fale Dojo tryout that took place in May. Schischka was one of several members that tested the applicants in an ‘on the fly’ wrestling match (a match not choreographed beforehand, simply done while in the ring). Immediately after the tryout, Schischka (and Liam Fury) were announced as the next students to advance to NJPW Dojo in Tokyo. Schischka’s senpai at the NJPW Dojo was the legendary Takashi Iizuka.
“It was a trip. It was definitely something else. Fale told Liam and me: ’As hard as those last three months have been at Fale Dojo, the one in NJPW is going to be 100 times harder,’ and he was not lying.
“I went into it knowing that it was going to be the hardest thing I was ever going to do. It’s hard to prepare for something like that: It’s like having a new baby or getting married, like any form of real growth, you can’t fully prepare for it just because it’s brand new.
“We were in Japan during the hottest time of the year, so the exercise and the hot summer played into the excruciating training sessions. It was also a massive culture shock; the way you get treated in Japan is completely different. I’ve been overseas before for small trips, but to be immersed in the Japanese culture in retrospect was a fantastic experience, although some days were harder than others.
“I was told by those who experienced the NJPW Dojo that the training would be harder than the chores, but to me, it was the other way around. I come from a family of seven; we had an old school Catholic upbringing, so we all had to pull our weight in terms of chores.
“It was the training that really got to me, and towards the end, I started getting used to the climate, I was keeping up and enjoying it a bit more. If it weren’t for those first three months at Fale Dojo where I learned about mental toughness, I don’t know if I would’ve been able to continue.
“I really valued my training, it was one hell of a challenge and I’m happy to all the people I talked with during my time, and I’m really happy that Liam was there to help me through it, even the other young lions were supportive.”
Fale Dojo Exhibition shows
The Fale Dojo Exhibition shows were established in March 2019 to give the young lions the experience of wrestling to a live audience. As part of the Dojo curriculum, the lions are taught the rare and valuable ability of wrestling ‘on the fly’. Schischka brought an enhanced perspective of this skill from his training at the NJPW Dojo.
“Before I came to Fale Dojo, I never had matches on the fly and it was always a bit daunting. I wanted to do it because you always hear about the greats that did it.
“Some of the coolest matches were on the fly, all we had to was discuss the finish, 5% was planned and everything else was boom! You can feel it, and you were led by the crowd’s reaction.
“One of my favourite matches was the one I had with Liam after we returned from Japan, I never felt so calm and nervous at the same time.
“When we found out that we were going to have a one on one match, it gave us an opportunity to share what we had learned at the NJPW Dojo. I felt really calm after the bell rang, and I felt in my zone.
“There’s always going to be things that we want to improve on, but being able to do something like that in front of the home crowd at Fale Dojo was very helpful.”
Assistant Trainer for the September 2019 Intake
Schischka was given the role of Senior Lion, a responsibility that includes assisting with the young lion’s training. Schischka is also presently a Senior Lion for the 2020 February intake.
“I liked that the September intake had lions with different levels of experience, and it was good to see Oskar [Münchow] who was there since the beginning of the year and Jake [Taylor] who attended the Dojo’s tryout in May.
“I also liked the amount of heart that Oskar and Yuto [Nakashima] showed. Now Oskar and Jake are at the NJPW Dojo and are both doing very well.
“I think it was a real benefit for Oskar to train at the Dojo for a whole year and soak up as much knowledge as he could from pretty much living with Fale and Tony [Kozina]. He’s got a real bright future.
“While helping to train the September intake, I wanted to pass on the knowledge that I gained from Japan and make sure that some of the mistakes I made, or the problems I came across would be avoided.
“Now we see where Fale Dojo is going as NJPW New Zealand Dojo, I want everyone else who trains at Fale Dojo to do well. I don’t just want people to survive the Dojo and survive Japan, I really want them to do really well.”
Liger Down Under, Sydney Australia
Schischka’s year concluded with the honour of wrestling on the ‘Liger Down Under’ card. This event was part of the farewell tour for the retiring Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger who was one of Schischka’s elders during his stay in Japan.
“I was a bit nervous leading up to ‘Liger Down Under’, not because of wrestling in front of a big, foreign crowd, but because the event was in honour of Jushin Liger, and we lived with him in Japan.
“I wanted to show Liger that I hadn’t regressed since leaving the NJPW Dojo. I wanted to impress Fale and Liger as well, and I’m pretty sure my opponent and I accomplished that.
“Although I did well, there were a few little things I could’ve done better, but ultimately it was a really fun experience.
“I had a friend who came all the way from Brisbane to watch me, and when I stood on the ropes, I could see him. I also saw other friends from high school who flew over for the trip.”
2019 in Summary
“If I could describe my journey in 2019, it would be ‘gruelling’ and ‘hard’, it was a year of growth. I haven’t realised my full potential yet, but I think the fact that I was picked to go to the New Japan Dojo was a major accomplishment.
“During the entire three months, while I was there, I was never told by my trainer Iizuka-San how I was doing. But I was told by other people that they heard I was doing well. Iizuka-Sani always had a stern face, but on the last day of training, he finally smiled, shook my hand and said that he knows the training was hard, but I did well. That moment made me realise that I belong in the wrestling business.
“I had a revelation, as long as I give it my very best, I will be successful in this business for sure.”
Goals for 2020
Moving forward, Patrick Schischka’s plans involve wrestling at events that are held overseas. Schischka is also mindful of upholding the dignity of Fale Dojo, and due to its new deserved status as the NJPW New Zealand Dojo, Schischka is aiming to use his position as Senior Lion to help everyone in the Fale Dojo community to get to the next level. He is also hopeful that aspiring wrestlers who live locally will pursue their formal education at the Dojo.
“My goal is to wrestle on a New Japan international tour. I want to help get my name out there, and you might call it arrogant, but I believe in terms of NZ wrestling and the potential to do international wrestling, I’m New Zealand’s best-kept secret. I want to showcase what I can do inside that ring, and really connect with people.
“If anyone has any doubts about where they can go with pro wrestling and you really want to fast track yourself to the big show: If you feel like you really have something to offer and you’re willing to work hard, then now is the best time to register at Fale Dojo.
“Fale Dojo is no longer affiliated with New Japan; Fale Dojo is New Japan Pro Wrestling. NJPW is the top wrestling promotion in the world! It’s never been breached, it’s never been broken. Japan has never been taken over, it’s etched in tradition. Nothing is guaranteed but hard work!
“You can’t deny hard work, if you just grind and work real hard, then you’re definitely going to get something out of it!
“What better place to be than in Australasia and the South Pacific. Before I came to Fale Dojo, I had seriously thought about going over to the U.K. because the NZ scene wasn’t that big. But over the last four years, Fale has provided a pathway to the big leagues, why wouldn’t you if you’re a local?
“If you have the right mindset, and if you do your very best, it’s easy. You don’t have to think too much. Come to the Dojo, train, do what they tell you to do, and you’ll be successful.”