Josh Barnett Explains The Importance Of Martial Arts Training In Japanese Pro Wrestling

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While professional wrestling is predetermined, the entertainment has combat sports roots. One way this can still be seen is in Japanese professional wrestling as their performers were trained in actual martial arts. Josh Barnett recently explained the importance of training “shoot” techniques.

Check out what he had to say:

Let’s start off with the simple fact that all of those Japanese wrestlers (especially NJPW Dojo guys) trained shoot from the ground up.

[Jushin] Liger does have a BJJ background and has trained catch wrestling under me and through the NJPW dojo in addition to doing Koppo which is a Japanese martial art with full contact sparring.

[Keiji] Mutoh trained in the NJPW dojo and was trained in fundamental catch and amateur wrestling.

[Mitsuharu] Misawa was an amateur wrestler and placed fifth at the 1980 freestyle Jr. World Championships.

[Toshiaki] Kawada was a HS national champion freestyle wrestler & clearly trained in striking arts.

[Kenta] Kobashi trained in Judo plus was taught fundamental wrestling skills.

[Jun] Akiyama trained in Judo & was a university freestyle wrestler.

[Dean] Malenko is an old school trained wrestler with catch and amateur wrestling training from his dad plus training in Japan

[Eddie] Guererro also comes from a legendary pro wrestling family with catch wrestling training & wrestled in college.

[Satoshi] Kojima was a HS Judoka & then went to train under Animal Hamaguchi – an amateur and catch wrestler who trained an Olympic Bronze and multiple world gold medalist wrestlers.

Only [Great] Sasuke would appear to be from a non-shoot training perspective, but like I said, up until quite recently all of the Japanese wrestling schools taught from a shoot perspective as basics. Fundamental amateur and catch wrestling.

In fact that was how all the old timers here in the states were taught to begin with as well. The NJPW dojo is fundamentally based on catch wrestling and even martial arts training with old school wrestling conditioning. It was created by Karl Gotch!

Both Chono and Tanahashi were trained from the ground up in the NJPW dojo meaning they trained in shoot techniques and skills.

I have personally trained Tanahashi before in catch and boxing. Notice he throws a three shot combo with a hook to the liver…

Even Toru Yano was a multiple time university national champion freestyle wrestler and has even competed in a shoot fight (which I was his corner with Iizuka). He won the first round against a near 50 fight veteran!

So, you have now had a massive amount of new information made available to you. Have fun.

That’s an incredible history lesson handed out by Barnett!

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