En Route To Wrestle

Added by Vanessa Clayden

Time To PROGRESS With Tommaso Ciampa

So back from my holiday no more time to rest as I booked myself a seminar with PROGRESS Wrestling School based in Brixton, London with session being taken by former ROH wrestler Tommaso Ciampa. As I’ve mentioned before I have had a seminar with Johnny Kidd which was my second training session so at least I can go in to another with some background knowledge.

PROGRESS has been established in 2012 and is the only full time wrestling school in London and South East region. From word of mouth PROGRESS is a respected wrestling school who are big on fitness levels. I have had my pre warnings from people to needing to kick the anxiety in and just having to push through. Coming backed all chilled from holiday I had a good yet nervous feeling about the day ahead.

The beginner’s class was a real mix bag of people, some having their first session, some who have just completed the beginner’s course at PROGRESS and some like me who have had a bit of training beforehand. Tommaso shook everyone’s hands introducing himself and got the session underway. As Progress is based in an industrial unit there is space for a ring but not enough for cardio so it was a warmup of stretching out the limbs and spine, followed by 25×4 sets of squats and sit ups alternating between each. By the end of set 2 my legs were jelly. This was a big sign, up my fitness levels if I want to keep up with everyone else. In the final stretches this showed to me big time as I felt myself shaking throughout my body.

Now warmed up drills followed. These did not take too long as Tommaso wanted to see the basics being forward, back and both shoulder rolls. Back rolls are my weakest as they are not the most flowing. What I loved about Tommaso is that he would always give feedback, even if it is small things, and this is what I needed, the little things which can make a bigger change such as changing the stance, start the rolls higher, and instead of using flat hands make a fist when rolling. He did this for everyone. In my school when we are working we all work at the same time so the trainer comes round while we work, in this session we worked in pairs but everyone watched so they learnt and Tommaso watched, gave feedback or if you were really going wrong he would ask you to stop and show you what to do. Tommaso is one of those people where you listen and watch and respect what he’s saying, don’t interrupt, and don’t answer back. If you respect what he says he will help. I’m not saying he is like a drill sergeant but he is the coach, he has the experience, we don’t. Tommaso would bring up previous experiences such as telling us times from when he was starting training to training with WWE NXT.

Picking up on his experiences made me feel like wanting to do the same as him such as listen to my trainers, if they tell me to change something up then change it, there is a reason behind what they say, take notes down, think of matches, when creating a match ask yourself what would commentary say? Don’t do moves that would make them question “oh why did you do that or that doesn’t make sense?”

The day’s routine consisted of a routine that was broken down into sections then brought together at the end. Things we went over included headlocks, blocking a hip toss and going into a backslide and two pins – schoolboy and Oklahoma roll. The guys who were slightly more advanced than the others were taken away from the main group and given harder routines which fair on them they need the challenge. I felt slightly like a floater, I haven’t really touched on strikes and had lots of ring time like the others but I have practiced other moves which would come along in their intermediate classes. So in a way I was not learning new moves but more touching up on what I know such as stances, positioning, footwork and trying not to drop people on my face in an Oklahoma roll. I decided to film some of the matches just so I could look back, see a standard I should get to soon and find things that maybe I would want to use in a match. That day for me was not a just turn up and do day, it was a day for me to learn, take back new things and improve on the current standing.

The final part of the day was just touching on promos. Tommaso either said to talk about the greatest day of our lives or to try a promo on a gimmick which I went with the latter. I had an idea mellowing in the background and just kind of went for anything. Did I have a clue what I was doing? Of course not. I hate public speaking, I shake and stutter so much. For a first try though not bad but I need to think if I am going to get mad the question is who and why. I need to find a target but I need to make sure the whole audience understands not just like 5 people as an in joke. It was hard to do a promo especially when the first three people who went were all actors who could portray emotion and I portray a lemon.

Tommaso finished with an important message which went along the lines of “You have one name and one body. If you are going to do high flying moves now yeah it may not hurt now but 10 years down the line it can affect you big time. You have your name and it’s yours. You represent the business. Even if years later you go for a job or you have kids google you do you want to have a good reputation. Be careful what you put on social media.”

Overall a useful day which has helped my confidence and made me more determined to work to get into shows. Not only that but to push myself further in fitness and to start bringing my gimmick together. It will definitely be a face but I got to make sure it will work. I’ve taken note to everything Tommaso has said and will surely be using his advice and teachings.

Thank you to him for his fantastic teaching and to PROGRESS Wrestling. If you ever see that there is a seminar being run by Tommaso go for it! Do it!

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