070802 – JJ in Japan


We tried something a little different on the Thursday class. Three ‘couplets’ followed in sequence without rest:

Push Press 45#

Pull Ups



Ab mat Sit ups

Good Mornings 45#



Jumping Back Squats 45#

KB Swings (your choice of weight but go heavy)


The last couplet had everybody talking so we might have to work on this obvious weakness; you’ll see that combination again. Sorry, but it’s for our own good. Great class last night. Sarah, Anne, Nate, George, and I did the workout about above.

Mike and Matt were nursing lower body injuries so they warmed up with some bike intervals on the Airdyne and then:

Push Press 75#

Pull Ups

25-20-15-10-5 to completion.


A somber note about my Japan trip:

I was in Japan training with Yoshiaki Fujiwara, Yuki Ishikawa, and Bart Vale. Fujiwara was regarded as one of the great Karl Gotch’s best students and a lifelong friend.

Soon after my return from Japan I was notified about the passing of Karl Gotch (Istaz) on July 28th in his home in Tampa Florida. Six days before is 83rd birthday.

Mr. Istaz was considered the “God of Pro-Wrestling” and was very famous around the world, although not well received in the United States because he practiced the “Shoot” style of wrestling and many of the wrestlers of the time didn’t want to fight against him (‘shoot’ meaning everything was real, no rehearsed moves or planned outcomes).

May he Rest in Peace. All of the fitness and martial arts worlds lost a great source of knowledge and experience with his passing.


To paraphrase his training philosophy and mindset, I have pulled a couple of quotes:

‘Conditioning is your best weapon. Who cares if you have the best Ferrari or Lamborghini in the garage if you don’t have gas in the tank’

“I never took one cent from a boy to show him how to wrestle, all I asked for is guts. I can make you strong, fast, agile and train you for endurance and reflex, but guts you get when you are born.”

“Wrestling is opposite of what people think it is, it is not strength but knowledge, balance, and timing, leverage and where to place the fulcrum, that’s what it takes to make it to the top in the noble art of wrestling.” -Karl Gotch

Karl Gotch in his prime.

Karl Gotch (center, red shirt), Masami Soranaka (right, wearing UWF shirt), a young Yuki Ishikawa (left of Gotch wearing red tank top), as well as Bart Vale (kneeling wearing UWF shirt). I am unsure of the others in the photo.

The picture is from a magazine article about a training camp with Mr. Gotch circa 1988(?).


Here is a video from 1995 highlighting some of his training methods (I am pretty sure the clips from the match are his of his final fight in ’82 against Fujiwara when Karl was about 58 years old):

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  • Craig

    Great post JJ. What tremendous guy! I love the quotes. Way ahead of his time, eh?

    JJ pounded out 5 consecutive muscle ups in his honor this morning – after doing weighted ring dips last night!

  • J Jones

    On a side note of the ring thing. . . A few years ago when I was just starting out on CF, I saw a training video Karl had put out recently. Guess what it had on it. . .Rings (as well as ropes, HSPUs, etc).

    Very Legit.

  • J Jones

    Found a promo for the video. Posted it to the blog.

  • Nate

    ~14:15; wasted too much time putting chalk on my hands. Had to stop the bleeding somehow. Great workout, Brian. I remembered why they were called “Good Mornings” when I got out of bed this morning. It hurt and it hurt good.