Posts Tagged ‘goals’

There comes a time in every man’s life, when he looks at what he has accomplished and accumulated to this point and what lies beyond, yet to pursue.  I found that when I hit the pivotal age of forty back in 2013, I took stock of my life at large and contemplated the brevity and breadth of it all.

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When you step back and take a look at your life from the outside, you can assess things at face value for what they are and what they have meant. (Photo: Hannu Eskelinen)

Forty is like a half-way marker.  It’s a brutal, unforgiving assessment of what is, for real.  It’s half-way to eighty, and eighty is an age that spells pretty much the end of one’s life here on Planet Earth.

I look back at the greatest, single influence on my pro wrestling career early on, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, the 16-time world heavyweight champion in our grand game of professional wrestling.  I recall the year 1990, when Flair was wrestling against Lex Luger at a WCW (World Championship Wrestling) pay-per-view event called WrestleWar ’90, that it also happened to be on his birthday.  The announcers tried to sell it as if it was Flair’s 40th birthday, when in reality, it was his 41st.  Nonetheless, I remember this detail speaking to me in volume even back then.

Ric Flair

When I started my pro wrestling career, I always asked myself “What would the ‘Naitch do?”

My old friend Chris Jericho currently wrestles for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) as their US Champion, a belt that he will be defending against fellow Canadian grappler Kevin Owens next weekend on April 2nd at Wrestlemania 33.  Jericho is about three years my senior, now age 46.  He’s still doing well, hanging in there at the top of his game, arguably on one of his last runs with the company.  I applaud him.  He’s done very well, staying in shape and being able to connect with a changing audience and parlay his character across various generations of wrestling fans.  Yet, the end is drawing nigh, even for my old pal Y2J, simply based on age.

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When I started my pro wrestling career in Calgary, Canada in 1994, they used to call me Jericho Jr.  Really, I didn’t mind.  Chris has done incredibly well in the business, and I’m happy for him.

Now, back to my original point: the things left to pursue in one’s chosen career or life path.  Tallinn, Estonia was such a waypoint for me personally this past weekend, the reason being that the event I took part in was a professional boxing card.

For the longest time, since the onset of my personal pro wrestling career, I’ve been fighting to defend the credibility of my fighting art, called professional wrestling.  There have always been detractors and shit-talkers and there always will be.  Still, I have always felt compelled to defend the honor of my business, which many see as a faux sport.  Like one of my early role models, Bret “Hitman” Hart, said in his autobiography some years back, “It seems as though I’ve been defending professional wrestling my entire life.”

Bret Hart vs Ric Flair

Bret Hart and Ric Flair slugging it out back in 1992 in the World Wrestling Federation.

For me, I’ve always prided myself on being legitimate when I step into the ring.  I take my sport seriously.  Regardless of how many people – some contemporaries included – have prostituted and bastardized our trade, for me, I’ve always strived to take the higher road of credibility.  I’ve gone the extra mile and fought tooth and nail to retain integrity in the believability of professional wrestling.  For me, it’s a matter of professional pride.

Being able to parlay my skills and take part in the Warrior Fight Series 1 event this past Saturday night in Tallinn, Estonia on March 25 was a true milestone for me.  It was history in the making.

Photo by Karli Saul 15

Photographer Karli Saul captures my ring entrance in Estonia in dazzling colors.

I was able to step into the ring in front of a virgin audience, engage them and win them over, making believers in the process, as I fought against a true athletic stud in Vladimir Kulakov of Russia.  This was an international match of epic proportions: the time-tested, world-traveled ring veteran against the younger Russian pro wrestling champion and a literal wolverine amongst his peers.  It was action and reaction, just as professional wrestling should be, in front of an audience that was there with an open mind, ready to make their initial assessment of the grappling game that is professional wrestling.  It was an ambitious endeavor to win over a new fan base and build where no one else had built or wandered before.

Photo by Martin Ahven (2)

Photographer Martin Ahven gets a good shot of the intensity of my match with Kulakov.

It is in this – venturing out into new, uncharted territories – that I take personal gratification in at this stage of my pro wrestling career.  I pioneered the business in Finland back in 2003 along with promoter Patrik Pesola, which launched an entire scene in the country.  My hallmark is set in stone as the most successful professional wrestler ever out of the Nordics and the northern sector of Europe.  My track record globally attests to that claim, and my championship reigns worldwide, along with my lengthy list of name opposition all around the world support that argument.  Now, I need a new mountain to climb.  A new challenge to contest.

Tallinn was the beginning of another chapter in my personal pro wrestling career.  I want to thank the promoter of EST Boxing, Mr. Grinkin, for having the faith to present pro wrestling on his card.  I want to also thank the Estonian media at large for covering the match to the degree that it has received media attention, which you can see e.g. from the link below:

http://sport.delfi.ee/news/voitlussport/poks/delfi-video-esmakordselt-eestis-ameerika-wrestlingu-sou-naerutas-tondiraba-publikut?id=77670846

Every one of us has the chance to build our own legacy in whatever our chosen endeavor is.  The true question is, how much heart do you really have to pursue your ambitions and goals, turning your dreams into a reality?

Life is short.  Make yours spectacular.

I once heard a tremendous quote that I have often recalled throughout my life, that says “There are no such things as excuses, only reasons why things don’t get done.”

As some of you might or then might not know, in addition to being a professional wrestler, I am also a rock vocalist in three separate bands: Overnight Sensation (hard rock), Angel of Sodom (thrash metal) and Crossfyre (southern blues rock).

I just came home a few days ago, back to Finland, after spending the last two weeks on the road, through the Baltics, down to Poland and Germany, for a set of gigs with Crossfyre. Before I left for this recent tour jaunt, I got word that I’d be having a match against Russia’s premiere wrestler, Ivan Markov, on July 23 in Helsinki. I knew that I would have to train on the road, utilizing every possible opportunity to get some body work and conditioning in.

After all, this is going to be a very important match. I loaded up one 16kg kettlebell, two 5kg plates equipped with handles and three different resistance power bands. This, plus my own bodyweight and a plethora of training knowledge, were all I had to train with for two weeks, while on tour.

My tour training equipment, sans the smallest resistance power band...

My tour training equipment, sans the smallest resistance power band…

I recall doing the same kind of training five years ago, when I played across Europe with Crossfyre, which was just before my pro wrestling debut in Japan.  That definitive time period was a breakthrough opportunity for me, when I was to make my first foray in the Land of the Rising Sun, in my first match there against Hajime Ohara back on July 24, 2010 in Tokyo.  After that initial match, and the subsequent second match I had, later that same night, against former WWE superstar “The Japanese Buzzsaw” Tajiri, my career was made in Japan.  I became a superstar there, literally overnight.  That was, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the finest moments of my professional athletic career.

Now, five years later, I am on the edge of another critically important moment in my wrestling epoch.  On July 23, I will be defending the honor of the country I represent, Finland, against the imposing threat of big Russia in the first-ever wrestling war between our countries.  I absolutely must be in shape for this coming battle, and my entire training approach changed considerably when I heard the news that Ivan Markov had called me out and challenged me to a match on Finnish soil.  Especially, considering the history between our countries, and the fact that Finland used to be under Russian rule in years past by the Czar, this is a huge, milestone moment upcoming in athletic history in the Nordics.  Plus, Ivan Markov is bigger, younger and stronger than me, so I have to up my ante to face this coming challenge.

Take a look at the bodyweight and hybrid training montage that I compiled from the tour we were on.  I hope it inspires you also!  It just goes to show, that when there isn’t an actual gym nearby, there is still no excuse to get in an effective training routine, regardless of the circumstances.

“The Rebel” StarBuck vs. “Locomotive” Ivan Markov is upcoming on Thursday, July 23 at SNACKY SLAM in the Pukinmäki suburb or Helsinki, as a free media event, open to the public, at 13:00 in the afternoon, located at Snacky fast food restaurant, Malminkaari 2a, 00720 Helsinki.  The event is open to all ages, free of charge.

KYLMÄSOTA Snacky Slam 2015

I’ve recently been engaged in some very demanding, specialized gym training programs engineered for online personal training clients of Fit Forever Finland.  In the process of filming these training programs, I’ve been pushed to the limit, as the online trainer and demo guy for these aforementioned programs.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve been huffing, puffing, straining, pushing, pulling, in all kinds of discomfort and duress.

One thing that I’ve really surmised to myself in the past few weeks has been the fact that saying you train hard and feeling like you are in shape are completely relative thoughts in and of themselves.  The reality of the situation might well be completely adverse to your train of thought.  What I mean by this, is that if you are a hard trainer at the gym, per se: you feel that you push yourself to move some pretty good amounts of weight, that doesn’t specifically mean that you are actually as “in shape” as you’d like to think.

Yours Truly in a feature article in Bodaus magazine from Finland a few years ago

Yours Truly in a feature article in Bodaus magazine from Finland a few years ago

Let’s say you have to lose a bit of belly fat, the old love handles, but you argue that you lift hard and eat well.  Guess what?  I have news for you: if you are struggling to reach a certain goal, you still have to up the ante, no matter how much you argue that even now you are training seriously.  What you consider to be hard training is not actually hard at all: it’s status quo FOR YOU.  Your body is USED to the kind of training that you’ve been subjecting it to.  Where you actually are is on a plateau, simply maintaining what already IS.  You are not growing, not developing, nor are you training as hard as you should be.  Sucks, doesn’t it?

Really, the truth is unforgiving and it’s brutal.  I have to admit: I hate having to face up to the truth sometimes.  Trying hard?  Try harder!  Go faster!  Exceed yourself!  It can be damned exhausting, especially when viewing the price you will have to honestly pay to achieve your personal goal.  The truth really is a bitch.

Getting gassed during training is a good sign, it means you are training hard (photo Marko Simonen)

Getting gassed during training is a good sign, it means you are training hard (photo Marko Simonen)

People are all too susceptible to fall into their own, personal comfort zone.  Hey, we all have one!  We all like to feel comfy and just snazzy, just the way we are.  But guess what?  Staying in your comfort zone won’t make you look good on the beach.  It won’t make you feel confident naked.  You can go to the hairdresser all you want, buy as many fitting clothes as you want, take as many carefully-angled selfies of yourself as you want … but none of that is going to mask the truth.  And the truth is something that hits you flush in your self-esteem bullseye every time you look in the mirror.

So, not confident with how you look naked or how you strut your stuff on the beach?  Then start busting your ass harder than you’ve ever tried before.  Get uncomfortable.  Get mad, get motivated, get rid of the excuses that you tell yourself time and time again, as to why you aren’t where you want to be.

There ain't no hiding at the beach

There ain’t no hiding at the beach

Unless you have a serious physical illness or hormonal imbalance, your physical health is not like the wavering stock market: you can actually completely commandeer your body into a lean, mean, healthy & muscled machine.  It’s been proven multiple times, that even the elderly can build muscle and greatly improve their physical fitness and vitality by training regularly.  What you need to get “there” is a map (crystalized vision), the right kind of fuel (a healthy diet), the tools (a proper, tailored training program), heart (complete resolution and determination) and sacrifice (make time for what really counts to you, forget the excuses).

I thought I had been training fairly hard for the past several years.  I was wrong.  Thank God it’s not too late to wake up — there’s still a lifetime to go!