Yoshiaki Fujiwara’s ‘I Will Break You’ Newspaper Column
Mr. Fujiwara just sent me the clipping of his latest column where he talks briefly about his trip to Los Angeles (special thanks to Garth Lynch for translating)
I have returned from the Los Angeles submission wrestling seminar I’ve been discussing since September of last year. It was a comfortable ten-hour trip on February 23; my interpreter Robert, my companion Yuki Ishikawa, and myself in business class on United Airlines flight 890, thanks to the kindness of our host.
It was ten years since Mr. Inoki’s June 1996 World Wrestling Peace Festival, also in Los Angeles. It was a 9:00 AM arrival local time. Jake picked us up and drove us to the Marina Del Rey Hotel. As its name implies, it is a lovely hotel rising above the seashore. For two days we leisurely shopped and drank a little before finally coming to the main event, the submission wrestling seminar.
The venue was the amateur wrestling practice hall at Santa Monica High School, about a twenty minute drive from our hotel. Mr. Bart Vale rushed from Florida with two of his students to support us. About 40 people made a showing.
One Anders Hanson, 30 years of age, came from Sweden on a 13-hour flight. Also, Edward Makarus, a 187-cm [6’1”], 110-kilogram [240 lbs] weightlifter from Toronto was there, and many jujutsu players. It seems they all found out about the seminar from the Internet. I want nothing more than to express my appreciation.
My teaching was from 9:00 AM to noon. Dick Cardinal, 79, took over from 1:30 to 4:30 PM. I was surprised to see the techniques were the same as Mr. Gotch’s. Actually he was a sparring partner of one of Mr. Gotch’s sparring partners, Ben Sherman. But it’s a stange connection, in that Mr. Gotch and Mr. Cardinal never were acquainted.
On the second day, with about 25 students, I similarly took charge from 9 to noon, and from 1:30 to 4:30. In the afternoon, Mark Black (53), a coach at the facility and five time USA freestyle veteran (senior) champion, and I hit it off, and he helped out, traded techniques with me, and even gave me a T-shirt.
And he attended the nighttime outing at the Italian bar. It was a healthy banquet with about 20 students, and English, Spanish, Japanese, and so on flying across the table.
What surprised me on this trip is the fact that in the America where WWE is at its greatest height, the Karl Gotch style is being seen in a new light. Perhaps it’s like where the length of skirts becomes as short as possible, and then there’s nowhere to go but become long again.
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