From Dunedin in NZ’s South Island comes AJ Visagie. The culture and landscape between South Auckland and Dunedin are vastly different due to Dunedin’s cold climate and landscape. The culture also has a strong Britishness about the city.
Visagie a native of Dunedin, came to the NZ Dojo, to gain some life experience and take part in the boot camp style of training to re-evaluate his goals. He has adapted well to the South Auckland community.
An evening at the Dojo house shows the trainees in their downtime. Jake Taylor explained the house rules the trainees live by which are identical to what is taught at the New Japan Pro-Wrestling Dojo.
These conditions ensure some key purposes, such as forming a cohesive household, developing basic life skills, and as Toks Fale indicated in the first episode, disciplining your body to sleep and wake up as a travelling professional wrestler.
Missed A Spot
At the NZ Dojo facility, the trainees were called out to the entrance of the facility where the coaches had noticed a spot in the reception area that needed to be cleaned.
Overlooking such an error could not go unpunished. Thus, the trainees were given the arduous task of carrying a large tyre over their heads while walking around the block which is the length of three kilometres.
“It’s about accountability at the Dojo,” explained Toks Fale, Head coach of the NZ Dojo. “When someone makes a mistake, we all suffer.”
“It’s the same as a match,” added Fale. “You don’t just make a mistake in the ring and walk away. No! Everyone suffers. So, it’s more than just cleaning; it’s about accountability.”
Every Little Move You Make
As the trainees journeyed their way around the large area occupied by a long strip of businesses and the local shopping centre, they were being directed by the roars of their coaches surrounding them. In addition to the exercise, the trainees had to do thirty burpees every time they failed to hold the tyre above their heads.
Coach Tony Kozina identified discipline as the main key that transforms one’s mindset. Furthermore, it is one of the core values at the NZ Dojo which is demanded of every trainee. This exercise can bring this value out of the trainees as well as leadership skills and teamwork.
The trainees made their way to the park in the next part of their workout. They encouraged one of their own, Lloyd Morgan to push through his exhaustion.
During the tyre walk earlier, Kozina reprimanded Morgan for not pulling his weight. Kozina told Morgan that he would carry the other trainees on his back all the way through to the end of the exercise.
Coach Mark Tui stressed to the trainees the importance of their journey. Tui encouraged the class to think of their loved ones as motivation to push through as Tui has with his newborn son.
The coaches recognised the potential of each trainee; however, the class could rectify simple things if they would just listen. Tui made a point of directing it towards the Pasifika trainees who are in some ways measured with a greater expectation against Fale; being the first foreigner / Pasifika to emerge from the NJPW Dojo.
The trainees paired up and engaged in freestyle wrestling on the grass. The mood lightened due to Daniel Puru and his mischievous behaviour. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches, the young and fit Puru wrestled his fellow trainees to the ground while maintaining a casual conversation, much like the subtitle ‘G’, an NZ slang that is used often to address others.
Visagie shared that he is in the best shape of his life. In his time so far, he discovered that he does not want to be a pro-wrestler. Rather, being in a supporting role such as a referee would be his ideal goal, as well as being a certified physiotherapist for New Japan Pro-Wrestling.
At the Dojo house, trainee Warren Thomas Walters, who is also an experienced chef of 17 years is preparing chanko nabe. This is a traditional Japanese boil-up described by Fale as part of the diet for the NJPW wrestlers.
The ingredients contain red meat and lots of healthy vegetables and herbs. Walters, having been to Japan and experienced chanko, has sought out the proper ingredients to make the meal as authentic as possible. The chanko has won the approval of Fale and Andrew Villalobos, Senior Lion.