The newest additions to the Fale Dojo / NZ Dojo roll call include young lions that have travelled from Germany, parts of Australia, and Canada. Throughout the last three months, this group maintained a promising blend of eagerness and gratitude.
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Enthusiasm with a smile is how Brisbane’s Balazs Horvath approaches every challenge. With seven years of experience, Horvath developed his craft at a few local wrestling schools (most recently, the Three Count Academy). Eventually a nudge from Horvath’s friend and Fale Dojo graduate, Shep Alexander led him to take the next step at the Dojo.
“What brought me to Fale Dojo was the challenge of physical intensity, learning a different style of wrestling, as well as having a few friends that have done previous intakes,” said Horvath. “When I arrived, I knew that this was going to be fun and challenging.”
Horvath’s most arduous objective was adjusting to the Dojo lifestyle – a foreign concept initially to the Australian-born Hungarian. However, the Dojo life soon became second nature to the young lion.
“With the help of the Coaches, I was able to hone in on my strengths and weaknesses and began working on them,” Horvath explained.
“My biggest highlight would be having a match against Johnny Gardner, someone that I wrestled a few years ago back home,” Horvath in his NJPW Lion’s Den debut, wrestled Gardner in a singles match. Horvath and Gardner would go on to team up on two occasions. Their most recent tag match was in the main event of Lion’s Den 6.
“I think I can say with confidence that we are not the same wrestlers that we were years ago,” Horvath said in closing. “I’m grateful to wrestle on Lion’s Den, it makes me feel like my hard work has been noticed.”
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
From Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Mustapha Jordan gained his initial training at the Torture Chamber Professional Wrestling School. Under the guidance of Head Coach, Dru Onyx; a graduate of the NJPW Inoki Dojo in Los Angeles, Jordan became steeped in the training and principles of the Japanese culture.
“I came to Fale Dojo for the opportunity to expand my skill set and to work for NJPW,” explained Jordan. With seven years under his belt, Jordan has competed in Canada, the United States, Ireland, and Australia. NZ was always a key destination that was integral to Jordan’s development.
“Getting down to the fundamentals and gaining the most out of my time at Fale Dojo has been an important part of my wrestling journey,” Jordan alluded to the basics required to strengthen the structure of his foundation. “Sitting under the learning tree of Fale-San and Tony-San has been an incredible experience.”
“Competing at Lion’s Den was a cool lesson to refine my craft and build from there,” Jordan competed on two Lion’s Den shows. “I’m up for the challenge, and whatever the journey. Never stop learning and improving. We can always get better, so rep it out.’”
Kamen-Methler, North-Rhine Westphalia, Germany
Traversing across the world to chase one’s dream is a bold feat not to be taken lightly. This was the case for Germany’s Nicolai Andrae: In preparation for his move, Andrae sought the recommendation of fellow German, and Fale Dojo graduate Oskar Leube before embarking on his journey.
“When we started our orientation with Fale-San and Tony-San, it was very official,” Andrae reflected on his first day at Fale Dojo. “You could feel that everybody treats them with the highest respect, and you could tell that everything at the Dojo is led with discipline.”
“The first days of training had challenged me physically on a completely new level,” Andrae’s training earned him several matches on the Lion’s Den events. “I felt dead after every workout. But as the weeks went on, my body adapted. I was also paying attention to every detail in cleaning at the Dojo and at the Dojo house. It wasn’t easy in the beginning.”
“I think the fact, that I could adapt to this training was my biggest accomplishment,” Andrae concluded on his three-month journey. “As I said, I was dying almost every day in the first few weeks, but with time, I caught up.”
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Cameron Driscoll joins his twin brother and Senior Senpai, Will Driscoll in the 2023 September Intake. Similar to Will, Cameron arrived at Fale Dojo with no previous wrestling experience. However, the example set by Will’s year-long training assured Cameron to follow his lead.
“Fale Dojo and professional wrestling was never on my radar at all,” said Driscoll. “Wrestling was a nice side thought of mine. But my twin, Will, had plans and decided to enrol at Fale Dojo six months before I eventually came to join him.”
“Will kept saying that it would be dope for both of us to be here and to pursue wrestling as twins,” Driscoll continued. “So I decided one day I’ll join him and see how it would go, I have no regrets.”
“Training kicked me in the ass when I first arrived here, it still does some days” Driscoll reflected on his initial day of training. “I remember not even being able to lift my arms to scratch my nose, but I loved it.”
“One of the best things that I quickly realized after arriving is that although it’s tough, the people you’re training with are supportive,” Driscoll alluded to the unity in Fale’s pride.
“I realized that if I wanted to succeed at Fale Dojo, I had to commit 100% to everything we do,” embracing and persevering was how Driscoll overcame his obstacles. “There’s no bad days or half-assing. You have to be on point with everything and put full effort into whatever is in front of you. That was a revelation for me, sometimes I just want to have those days where I do nothing at all, but that’s not a thing here.”
“My biggest accomplishment is yet to come,” Driscoll stated he has a lot left in the tank. “Hopefully, I will say that just feeling like I’ve been getting better at wrestling every day is something I can be happy about.”
“Competing at Lion’s Den was such a great opportunity for me to learn what it’s like to wrestle in a different atmosphere and setting than just training,” Driscoll honed his craft competing at four Lion’s Den shows. “It was again a huge revelation for what I need to work on moving forward and I’m excited to keep getting better so the next one can always top the last.”
“Work ethic is a big thing that I keep after this intake is done,” Driscoll concluded on the lessons he’s gained during his three months of training. “I like to believe that this intake has built up my confidence a tad which is pretty cool. In all seriousness, my time at the Fale Dojo has been nothing short of amazing and beneficial in terms of wrestling and my personal growth. I will try to keep up my physical condition as much as possible. I’ve learned to pay attention to the details in every aspect of Life.”
Logan City, Queensland, Australia
Trust and surrender are two of the beliefs that are advised of the young lions when they begin their training at Fale Dojo: Trust the process and surrender yourself to the training. Kyle Bridges was more than prepared when he contacted the Dojo in 2018 to enquire about starting his training. For Bridges, this wasn’t a phase in his life that he would outgrow. Circumstances may have delayed the process, but Bridges still arrived to the Dojo. Trust and surrender!
“In 2018, my final year of high school, I became a fan of New Japan Pro-Wrestling when I heard about Fale Dojo during the commentary,” Bridges shared. “Having always wanted to become a wrestler and falling in love with New Japan, the Dojo seemed like the ideal place for me to go.”
“I was only 17 years old when I emailed the Mark-San about coming out to start training,” said Bridges. “But due to several factors, I didn’t make it out here until September 2023, five years later.”
“The training was incredibly difficult,” Bridges explained of his initial training, having no prior experience. “I had probably not prepared enough physically before coming to the Dojo, so the first training days were very demanding.”
The young lion added. “The biggest challenge was fighting to push through the hard workouts. Also, the pressure to not let anyone in the team down weighed on me heavily.”
The obstacles didn’t stop Bridges from persevering. “My biggest accomplishment up until now was having my first match after only eight weeks of training, and debuting on a New Japan affiliated show,” by the conclusion of this intake, Bridges would have competed on five Lion’s Den shows.
“I’ve changed drastically as a person in my relatively short time here,” the young lion from Logan City reflected on the breakthrough that he’s achieved. “This is the first time I’ve lived away from home and not with my parents. That in of itself teaches you an exceptional number of things.”
“This was also my first time staying in a country which comes with many lessons as well,” Bridges shared about the change in scenery that’s enriched his outlook. “The training at Fale Dojo has shown me that I am capable of physical tasks and pushing through in a way I’d never thought was possible.”
Cover Graphic: Blackstorm Creative