NJPW Academy launches with first classes in LA 【NJoA】

New chapter for LA Dojo begins

This week in Los Angeles, a new chapter for the LA Dojo began, as classes got underway for the NJPW Academy. March 27 saw the first sessions, with beginners’ classes set to take place each Monday and Wednesday, and advanced classes every Tuesday and Thursday. 

Bateman and The DKC would handle the first beginner classes, with Royce Isaacs also set to participate in coaching moving forward. ‘I am honored to be a part of the Academy,’ DKC would state. ‘It is very gratifying to help spread knowledge and passion of professional wrestling to up and coming athletes. With this new phase of the LA Dojo I hope to make Southern California the place to be for pro wrestling.’

The beginners course would begin with stretching and warmups, with students undergoing 100 squats and 50 pushups, before each trainee’s level was assessed by Bateman and DKC. ‘It’s my pleasure to guide this experience in learning pro-wrestling,’ Bateman stated. ‘I wish everyone the best of luck, work hard, and fight with your heart!’ Lockups and wrist locks would round out the first session for the beginners.   

The advanced classes would start the next day, March 28, headed up by Fred Rosser and KUSHIDA. ‘When you have a dream, just like I had some 20+ years ago, and you just can’t let go of it trust your instincts and pursue it,’ said Rosser. ‘I’m so grateful I get to work in this business coaching and competing at the highest level still; I never take it for granted, ever.’

Another rigorous warm-up for the prospects started with squats and pushups before mat exercises and rope work. ‘My mission at NJPW ACADEMY is to help everyone not just learn the style of the greats that came before us, but to learn the thinking behind their style,’ Rosser said, ‘at the end of the day, we don’t want to look like our heroes we want to see like our heroes. This academy is all about advancing your career and seizing opportunities and I want everyone at NJPW Academy to enjoy their journey, try to get better inside of the ring honing their craft and most importantly, don’t lose the passion and the love for what we do.’

KUSHIDA was also enthusiastic about the class’ prospects. ‘We had a mix of half and half between students with more than five years’ experience and people who were newer to this. They all have some level of in ring experience and an idea of what they’re doing in the ring, but they each feel they need a little more fine tuning, help with psychology, or any other areas where they might be a little green.’

Going into further depth about the Academy itself, KUSHIDA would state ‘I think a key part of this Academy is that it is New Japan, and there is an element of Japanese pro-wrestling in there. I want us to be very conscious of teaching what makes Japan different, how things are done there- we are under the NJPW banner after all. We might not have much time, but I’m really excited to see what happens with these guys three months from now.  They’ve got a lot of energy, a lot of motivation, and Fred was a great teacher as well.’

Even a special guest in Minoru Suzuki would stop by, and taught some valuable pointers in chain wrestling. ‘That was a great experience for the class,’ KUSHIDA said. ‘He has that traditional, old school style and thinking in him. For these students to learn from guests from different countries, even different eras in a way, that’s an incredible experience and it underscores how important this school is. I think the quality of the classes will only improve from here.’ 

Rocky Romero is acting as advisor to the Academy, and had his own message for students of both classes. ‘Good luck to NJPW Academy students! You’ve joined the first of an elite class of talent that is interested in taking their craft to the next level. I’m very happy that the LA Dojo will expand by opening its doors to the pro-wrestling community and give knowledge and grow our world to be bigger and better than ever. Ganbatte Kudasai!!’

NJPW Academy classes will continue over a three month curriculum. Stay tuned for details of further signups.