So, I was at the Dungeon about a week ago 'cause I'm going to start training there next Fall, so I thought it might be a good idea to stop by the school while I was in Calgary to do my auditions for a Theater Arts school which I was applying to (and got accepted).
Anyway, so I get there on Saterday via Taxi. The driver didn't know where the hell I wanted him to go, and he stopped about 5 times to look at the map. Eventually when I saw the driveway marked 'Hart House', I decided that that was the place, and told the driver to let me out.
So I'm walking up the driveway, and I realize that there's, like, three houses up that road! And I was confused looking for the numbers; there were none to be seen. Suddenly, this van pulls up beside me and this guy with movie-star good looks rolls down the window and asks me where I'm going. I tell him I'm looking for *** ****** ***** (I don't think they care if their adress gets out, but you never know), and he asks me if I'm looking for Bruce or Ross, and I tell him ya, and he tells me to get in the car, and that it might be my lucky day.
I got in the car, and there's three people in there. The movie-star driver, a really good looking young woman beside him, and another movie-star guy sitting in the back seat next to me. The driver turns and introduces himself as Ted Hart, Stu's grandson. Not sure which of Bruce's sons or daughters he came from. Anyway, so he starts asking me about why I'm applying for the wrestling school, and he starts telling me all this stuff about his own wrestling school, and how he'll let me wrestle for him possably down the road. He claimed to be the only guy to do payoffs for his own fed, he has 5 rings, he has a 2,000,000 dollar production studio, etc. and that it was fate that we bumped into each other. So, keeping that in mind, he lets me off at the correct house, and we shake hands, and I get out to go meet Bruce and Ross.
I went up to the door and rang the bell. A young guy came to the door and asked what I wanted. I introduced myself and said I was here for the wrestling school. He told me that it was cancelled that day, but he'd go get Ross for me anyway. Ross came to the door after a few minutes and I introduced myself, and he told me that the wrestling school was cancelled because they were going to a funeral (not sure who), and then Stu was doing a big book-signing. He said that I could come back the next day, and he told me which busses I could take to save money.
So, I took the bus home... and anxiously waited for the next day to come...
The next day, I again took the taxi 'cause I lost my way trying to find the right bus rout. To my suprize, it was the same taxi driver, and he remembered the way. I think his name was Kerpal or something, not that that matters. Anyway, so I wandered my way over to the house, and there were three people hanging around outside, and I asked (just to make sure) if this was the wrestling school. They said yes it is, and they told me to go to the Dungeon and wait for Bruce. One of the three guys was in the car the day before, and remembered me, and he said he'd show me around and get Bruce for me. So he lead me to the Dungeon, and breifly pointed out the mat, and the weights (not that they weren't obvious), and then he said he'd go get Bruce.
So I sat and waited... meanwhile, there was a guy stretching on the mat, and another guy beside me watching him. I felt a little nervous being around all these people who were used to the whole wrestling thing, but I tried to put it aside. I tried not to stare at one thing for too long while I waited. I couldn't help but notice that the ceeling in the Dungeon was rather short, and had, essentially, one big hole in it, presumably from people's limbs and heads going through it. There was also an even lower water pipe going all the way across, and I noticed that the big hole stopped near the pipe, presumably because if someone was getting thrown a little too high, they would be stopped by the pipe before they hit the ceeling. To make it more clear, the pipe looked to be about 6'6", and the ceeling about 7'0" off the ground. No where near high enough to do a proper suplex.
Let me emphasize that to anyone, the dungeon looks like a really delapedated room... but it has a hell of a lot of character. I loved it.
Eventually, everyone came downstairs and began doing their wrestling training thing. They ran through a few drills and standard move sets, such as bouncing off the ropes (though there weren't any ropes.) I shook hands with about everyone there, it seems, but I didn't really speak with anyone. When Bruce walked by me, he shook my hand and said we'd speak later, and to really watch the training. There was also a famous Japanese wrestler visiting... I didn't catch his name. He looked to be well before my time. He only had one leg, but nevertheless he still took the time to physically show people some moves. For a man who could barely walk, he still knew how to move in the ring.
Stu came down to see him... he looked to be in really rough shape. Seeing him on TV doesn't do justice... he was great! It was odd seeing a legend like him in person. It took him, seemingly, 10 minutes to get from to top of the starecase to his seat... right beside me. He used me for support when he was walking by, and when he sat down. I shook his hand, and tried to introduce myself, but then I realized he could barely hear me, so I decided to let him be to watch the wrestling and talk... well, not talk... but be with the Japanese wrestler.
Meanwhile in the ring, quite a few people got a little banged up. For example, these two guys were doing hip-tosses, and one of the guys being tossed landed his shoe right into one of his fellow wrestler's heads who was on the sidelines watching. He went down for a while, but eventually shook it off. Ted Hart was also there and he did some wrestling. I was shocked to see him casually do a standing backflip off the ground, and land almost perfectly on his feet. I'm most likely going to be a flyer, and I felt really... jealous and worried because I couldn't even do near what he just did like it was an every-day event. Anyway, so Ted was wrestling with this one guy, and Ted took a really stiff elbow to the chest, and was down for about two minutes. He got up, and shook it off though. It was weird seeing a standard move like an elbow lay someone out for that long... Oh, and a lot of people hit their feet on the pipes and the ceeling, but that was to be expected.
Afterwards, Bruce and Ross took me aside and told me that I had a good frame and a good look, and they would be glad to give me a spot in the school, and they told me it was going to cost much less than I thought it would. I was rather happy to say the least.
Bruce then called the end of the practice just two hours after it had started. I was thinking about leaving... but I decided I had to do something before I left. I went onto the wrestling mat, and started doing your standard back-bump. I did about three when suddenly one of the wrestlers turned and asked me, all suprized, to do it again. So I did, and everyone was like "Holly shit! This guy knows how to fall! Do it again!" And so I did, and they were suprized to see how fast and well I could do it with no training. When they asked how I could bump... I froze.
You see, I've done backyard wrestling... and backyard wrestling is EVIL!!! But that's where I taught myself how to fall. Instead, I told them that I learned it from my two years in Jiu Jitzu (which I have done). And that was that.
I did a few more bumps, including some Senton-Bomb style bumps, and then I tried to do a nip-up. You'd be suprized how much a little spring in the mat can add a spring to your step! I did it with ease.
Something about that wrestling mat that I found so cool (this was the first wrestling mat I'd ever been on) was that it was a hard mat... but it wasn't! I was used to bumping on grass, and I tell you it's not very pleasant. So this mat was, like... jumping onto your bed at night. It was great!
Anyway, after I did that... I left via bus.
I'm really looking forward to next fall when I start going there on a regular basis... it was such an amazing experience that I felt I should share with anyone who wishes to read it...
I hope this wasn't too boring for you... because it most definently wasn't for me.
I've met Stu, and the Bulldog, and Ted Annis (Hart's his ring name), and Bruce & Ross (at the Calgary RAW...great guys)...and a whole bunch of the Stampede guys. Calgary is a great hockey/wrestling town, so I hope you enjoy training here. Ya never know, I might train there if I get the cash together.
Honky's latest interview at Below the Belt (belowthebeltshow.com) is awe-inspiring. While shooting on several people and giving decent advice for wrestlers and promoters, he talks about how it's necessary for athletes to hit their wives. Just... wow.