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COMMENT





School of Joe
Tokyo master teaches the ropes to students
By BRET HART - Calgary Sun
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In recent years, many professional wrestling schools have popped up across Canada and around the world. I more often than not have little good to say about most of them. I've always said the well-taught Japanese pro wrestlers were the best conditioned.

I learned all the basics, not so much from my father, but from Mr. Hito and Mr. Sakurado, two Japanese wrestlers. I attribute a great deal of my success to both of them. The most important things they taught me: How to protect myself and how to protect my opponent.

I always took great pride in never injuring any of my opponents. How ironic my career was cut short when Bill Goldberg inadvertently booted me in the head in 1999. A transplanted nose tackle from the Atlanta Falcons, Goldberg learned his wrestling at WCW's Powerplant training camp, where I don't think it was a priority to protect your opponent.

People often ask me where the best pro wrestling schools are. I've always felt Calgary was the best of the lot, starting with my brother, Bruce Hart, who helped launch Chris Benoit, Flyin' Brian Pillman and many others. My brother Keith Hart also helped launch Chris Jericho and Lance Storm, while Leo Burke and I tutored Edge, Christian, Test and Ken Shamrock.

Lately, I've been working out at B.J.'s gym and what's really caught my eye are the remarkable training sessions put on there by Tokyo Joe.

Joe worked briefly in Calgary back in the early '70s where, sadly, his budding career was cut short when his car slid off the road during a snowstorm. While he was pushing it out of the way, he was struck from behind by another car, costing him a leg from the knee down. Despite the loss of his leg, Joe stayed involved in wrestling for years, booking wrestlers in Japan.

Seeing Joe put his recruits through basic training is a thing of beauty. I know of no pro wrestling school anywhere in this hemisphere that takes the time and energy to teach with such meticulous science.

Joe's best student has been T.J. Wilson, who is a rising star in Japan. Another standout up-and-comer is the highly-talented Harry Smith, son of the British Bulldog. A rising female star is Natalie Neidhart, daughter of Jim (The Anvil) Neidhart.

It's a pity Tokyo Joe can't teach everyone because he is, without a doubt, the best pro wrestling teacher in the world -- and that's saying a lot.


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