When the Fale Dojo / NJPW New Zealand Dojo General Community Classes relaunched in February 2020, the plans were implemented by Tangi Ropati. Ropati joined the Dojo staff as Head Trainer of the Community Classes as well as becoming Strength & Conditioning Coach in the Dojo’s three-month professional wrestling training course. Steeped in a rich sporting background with careers in Rugby League and Fitness & Bodybuilding, Ropati applied his extensive knowledge in expanding the Community Classes to a level that would complement the Dojo’s status as an international professional wrestling training facility.
“With all the accomplishments that Fale Dojo has earned in pro-wrestling, I wanted to bring a different feel to the General Community Classes,” said Coach Ropati, his popular Body Shock fitness class is the staple of the Community Classes. “In 2020, we incorporated a variety of classes that were community friendly and enjoyable but at the same time, challenging to complete with a few twists in between.”
“We received positive feedback from our members,” Ropati continued. “The most commonly shared was that that they wanted more sessions added to the schedule. However, with the global pandemic and the lockdowns having a recurring disruption in our daily lives, we had to be cautious not to rush our plans.”
“As Fale Dojo Head Trainer, and Strength & Conditioning Coach, I bring experience and knowledge through travelling the world and being in a professional environment,” stated Ropati, who at the age of 18 began his sporting career as a National Rugby League (NRL) player, following in the footsteps of his father Faaniva, and grandfather Tagi, both of whom were rugby union players, and were representatives for the Manu Samoa rugby union team, respectively.
He explained: “I know the sacrifices that are needed to achieve your goals, whether it’s helping our local community with their individual fitness journeys, or sculpting, motivating, and mentoring our young lions as they push towards their goals to becoming international professional wrestlers with New Japan Pro-Wrestling.”
“In life, you still need to put in the hard work and dedication that involves countless hours of self-investment,” he elaborated. “I’m loving the journey at Fale Dojo and I’m forever grateful for the amazing team I work with every day.”
Ropati remains active in fitness: His most recent venture was at the Discipline 7 CrossFit Games. Ropati and his wife Emma assembled a team to compete for the first time at the event. Ropati’s group was one of 22 teams competing in the Beginners Division which they came in 1st place.
“Our team was made up of two couples, my wife Emma and I, and Emma’s friend Meli and her husband Robert Piutau,” Ropati shared.
He added: “The D7 Games was an amazing experience and we fought to the very end. It was also extra special that we did it with our wives, not many people can say that.”
“Like other Trainers at Fale Dojo, I stay active in honing my craft and learning new skills,” said Ropati.
“For example, Toks Fale is in his 11th year as an international professional wrestler with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Every time the ‘Rogue General’ is wrestling overseas, his knowledge of the wrestling business evolves, and he brings all of his wealth and insight back to the Dojo,” he explained
Ropati was instrumental in assisting Toks Fale with his transformation journey in 2020. In assisting Fale with a workout regime that involved a strict nutrition plan and attending Body Shock, among other classes at the Dojo, Fale, a heavyweight who stands at 6 feet, 4 inches lost 66 pounds (30 kilograms).
This year, Ropati mentored Michael Richards; Senior Lion and Trainer, with his journey into developing his build.
“Michael recently competed at his first national bodybuilding competition,” said Ropati.
“Michael was in full beast mode all throughout his 10-week training, his body transformation is remarkable,” Ropati expressed about his protege, Richards. “This lion, Michael, went the extra mile to self-invest and develop his body to the level of an international wrestler, and I’m proud of what he’s accomplished.”
A special concept that Ropati introduced into the Fale Dojo community was the 4 Week Ninja Cut Challenge – a weight loss programme that was launched in November 2020. The Ninja Cut Challenge was met with great gusto, so much so that it has been brought back to commence in May 2021.
“The 4 Week Ninja Cut Challenge was created to help kick start people’s fitness journeys and reward everyone’s hard work at the conclusion of the programme,” Ropati revealed. “The Ninja Cut Challenge encourages the participants to make the right choices in the calories they consume, plus they must attend a minimum of three classes a week.”
“Having initiatives like the Ninja Cut Challenge keeps people accountable and gives the participants something to look forward to,” Ropati explained. “We recognised from the initial Ninja Cut Challenge that when people attended the Community Classes, they grew confident and worked harder when they were training alongside other participants of the Ninja Cut Challenge and members of the Dojo community.”
“The idea of training together was inspired by the success of our General Classes, which we took from the curriculum of the three-month pro wrestling training course,” Ropati described. “This principle was imperative to everyone’s growth. In every intake, the young lions thrived and got through the rigorous workouts when they trained as a unit. This included encouraging each other, and to complete the workouts as a team – leaving no one behind. We are excited to be bringing back the Ninja Cut Challenge.”
After learning from the challenges in 2020 brought on predominantly by the global pandemic, Fale Dojo used that period productively to strengthen it’s General Classes and the three-month professional wrestling training course. The wrestling training seminar that the Dojo will hold in Christchurch is just the start of what great things are to come from Fale Dojo / NJPW New Zealand Dojo.
In addition to Boxing, Box-Fit, and Survival self-defense classes that were added in response to members wanting more sessions, the Dojo is ready to welcome an additional class.
“This year, we have been blessed to expand our Community Classes by having two classes run at the same time in the evenings,” Ropati stated.
“As well, we will be introducing classes on Sunday mornings with the addition of the incredible Ura Tabu Pacific Dance led by the amazing Tom and Charlene Tedrow,” Ropati shared. “As the newest members of our team, Tom and Charlene will begin their Pasifika Body & Mind – Winter Edition workshops on the first week of May.”
“Our mission at Fale Dojo is to give back to the community and help as many people as we can through our local and international programmes,” said Ropati in closing. “We look forward to changing lives and helping everyone achieve their fitness goals.”