Karl Gotch, the man who taught me Hindu Squats,
Hindu Pushups and bridging – as well as a plethora of
catch wrestling and conditioning drills – died yesterday
morning at the age of 82.
I met Karl face-to-face for the first time in April of
1999. And after spending four days with him, my wife
and I made the decision to leave California
to come train with him.
At the time I first met Karl he was in dire need of having
both his hips replaced due to osteo-arthritis brought about
by his bout with starvation during WW II. I took him to a
number of surgeons until we finally found someone who
would accept him as a patient. As both of his hips were
100% bone on bone he elected to have both hips done
at the same time – an astronomical feat for a man in his
mid 70’s – but there was no other choice as he couldn’t
rehab one replaced hip on another one that was bone-on-
Each day I visited Karl in the hospital and later when he was
moved to a convalescent home for recovery. On his own
he figured out the best way to rehab his body as the physical
therapists knew FAR less about training than he did.
Karl often said, “If I relied on what those idiots had me doing I’d
never be able to walk.”
I still remember the surprise on Karl’s face when I brought him
his first check for a video we had done together. He was elated.
He just stared and stared at the amount.
“Karl, my goal is to make you more money per year than your biggest
year in pro wrestling,” I said.
We continued to have lunch together and get together for training
at the gym. Many grappling fans came and watched as he taught me holds
that no one else had ever seen before. Even though he’d had both hips
replaced he could still get on the mat and show everything he taught
when he was in full stride. He was mean, ornery and cantankerous, and
all of us loved him for it.
Today, the reality of mortality is at hand. A teacher of mine, a man
who played an instrumental part in my life has passed on. I love
the man for what he taught me and for all the GOOD things he
May he rest in peace.