Where Schools Fail: Kids Improve Fitness Through Wrestling!

I found that words from the mouth of a pro wrestler means a lot to these kids? It's not all about beating people up. Pro wrestling is so much more than that. Here are a few key points.

Article Summary:
  • Today's youth are extremely out of shape and have poor eating habits.
  • Keeping youth active and instilling diet knowledge can help fight childhood obesity.
  • Along with fitness, Wrestling can teach children focus and improve their oratory skills.

Kids Fitness Via Pro Wrestling

It's no big secret that today's youth are extremely out of shape. Just look around the schoolyard and shopping malls. Weight gain is on the rise and good eating habits are out the window. Eating habits at home have deteriorated and this sets the ground rules for adulthood.

I was raised in a family that had dinner on the table every night and we all ate together. The meals weren't high protein, low carb, like I'm used to today, but they were well balanced and we ate as a family. Breakfast was always on the table as well with eggs, cereal and toast, which started the day off right.

City schools had their menus listed in the local paper for the 5-day week with a well-balanced meal for each day. This way if you didn't like what was on the menu, you could brown-bag it. All the school's menus were set up by the district and were well balanced.

Today many families skip breakfast, eat dinner on the fly and no one sits down together at night as a unit. The school lunches are no longer balanced meals and instead come out of machines. Many kids will buy a coke and a bag of peanuts or chips and call that lunch. I couldn't imagine eating like that.

Back in my day we had PE every day, with exercises, one mile of laps and some sort of ball game. Most of us were in pretty good shape because of it. Today there is minimal PE and many don't even take it. This is where health and fitness in the schools is failing.

Children's Eating Habits At Home Have Deteriorated And This Sets The Ground Rules For Adulthood.
+ Click To Enlarge.
Children's Eating Habits At Home Have Deteriorated And This
Sets The Ground Rules For Adulthood.

Through the past 45 years of my career in pro wrestling, I have been stopped by people and many kids wanting to know how I stay in shape and how to become a wrestler. I always tell the young ones to get on a good diet and exercise. You can see it in their eyes that they're eager to learn and want to know what it takes.

The Pro Wrestling School Program

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I started my Pro Wrestling school in 1985 mainly for adults who wanted to move on into the circuit and make a career.

I began getting many students and then one day got a call from a mom who wanted to know if we could have a wrestling party at my place in the ring for a 10-year old.

I agreed and 12 young boys showed up, eager to learn the ropes. I spent an hour with them doing forward rolls, backward rolls, learning how to fall, running the ropes, doing hold-to-hold and on. I could see their desire to learn and how it was really becoming a workout for them.

3 of them stayed on and asked for classes. At that point I opened a kids class and began to acquire some students. I have done many parties since with great success and always a few stay for extra classes.

Over time the popularity of wrestling on TV rose and many networks came out and did specials on my classes for TV, which increased my audience.

I also found that shooting videos of all my classes and putting them on YouTube gave me great exposure to the world. I'd edit down to 10 minutes of a theme with a beginning, middle and ending and put it up on the Internet. Soon I was getting young kids from around the world emailing me about training and wrestling. Some of the questions were pretty good and some were pretty dumb, but I felt I had to answer every one of them so as to educate them in the proper way.

Now I have a half million viewers and increasing daily. I found a way to reach people (today's youth as well) and give them the right knowledge to a healthy mind and body.

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I found that the words from a mouth of a pro wrestler meant a lot to these kids and much more than that from their parents and teachers. Being a mentor to them gave me great satisfaction. It's the tip of the iceberg but it's all positive and heads in the right direction.

I found that teaching these classes have helped the kids in their home lives as well. It's not all about beating people up. Pro wrestling is so much more than that.

Here Are A Few Key Points

School requires 60 minutes of athletic activity per week. Here we get much more than that in just one session. So, you can imagine three days a week. It's great cardio, resistance and endurance training, plus it's a great deal of fun and I make it fun for them.

  • Learning 'mic' skills with us helps them with public speaking in classroom. We practice promos on tape and review them to see where weak points are in addressing the audience. This also helps work on their character or persona.
  • Learning moves and high spots in the ring increases memory retention for studies.
  • Many moves are like dance moves, but each hold leads into another and another to create a series of moves. It takes a great deal of memory to do this and be in character during a match and work the camera too.
  • Getting along with others under stress in the ring helps social skills with family and friends. There is a lot of body contact. Many times punches or kicks are missed, but the temper is to be kept cool and realize that you have to get along. This is a learning process and accidents are not intentional. It teaches you respect for everyone.
  • Increases self esteem - improving your skills in the ring with mind body control and developing character all lend itself to better self-esteem. I have had so many comments from parents telling me how much their boys or girls have matured and have gained much respect for others.
  • Able to address larger audiences. This is also great for school in classroom speeches and debate. Helps get over shyness and communication skills.

I also stress the diet and how important good meals are several times a day along with gym workouts. If you're going to play the part, then you have to look the part.

This all helps in becoming a professional adult. Learning how to project and speak on job interviews and communicate at the highest level.

One more thing I require is that their grades are all passing and that their homework comes first or they're not allowed to come to class.

I'm very proud of my students and currently am working on taking this into a reality series for Pro Wrestling's Little League of Characters. This type of thing gives them something to shoot for. Hopefully this will allow me to tour the country doing forums on this and speaking in schools.

Here's one of my classes with two 12-year olds I've trained:

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Obviously many of you who read this will not have access to a wrestling ring and wrestling schools are hard to find, however, there are plenty of great articles and videos on Bodybuilding.com and I have more than 300 training videos on YouTube that will instruct you in the way I do my classes.

You can view those videos and practice wrestling on gymnastic mats at your local schools or YMCA. That's exactly what I did when I started in the business. Good Luck.


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