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Diamond Dallas Page Returns to the (Yoga) Ma Toc Register

Diamond Dallas Page Returns to the (Yoga) Ma Toc Register

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Published by: rmclearren on Jan 24, 2010
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02/26/2010

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Former pro wrestler Diamond DallasPage teaches yoga to Laguna BeachHigh School students after school.
CHRISTINA HOUSE, FOR THE ORANGECOUNTY REGISTER
MORE PHOTOS
Monday, March 30, 2009
Diamond Dallas Page returnsto the (yoga) mat
MORNING READ: Once one of the WCW's biggest stars, DDPteaches a wrestler's version of yoga.
By JENNIFER MUIR
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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LAGUNA BEACH
Manic giggles slip from the rows of student athletes whoare balancing in plank position, as if frozen at the top end of a push-up.A hulking, muscular man wearing a bandanna and headgear microphoneweaves among them, his orders booming through the crooked aisles of quivering bodies. The students are giddy while the man growls and gruntsand barks as if he were performing in a pro wrestling ring instead of teachingyoga – yes, yoga – on the baseball field at Laguna Beach High."If you're talking, I'm going to walk by and clothesline you."It hurts to laugh. But the yoga students – high school athletes – do it anyway.This tattooed giant could body slam any of them with one hand.The students met Diamond Dallas Page a half-hour ago. He stood in front of them on an indoor basketball court and recounted the days when heunleashed The Diamond Cutter, his signature match-ending move, againstpro wrestling luminaries like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage.He told them how he is known as DDP (acronyms being common in hisvocabulary), and then he picked up his front foot, extended his leg out fromthe side of his 230- pound body, and demonstrated just how flexible andstrong his yoga program could make them."None of you are fat yet," he told them. "But, someday, you will be."Now, they've moved to a grassy baseball field, where the students are tryingto comply as teacher DDP shouts out yoga poses with the manic energy of abad guy on "Monday Night Nitro.""I hope he doesn't come over here and correct me," whispers a grinning butshaky Maya Butler, a senior and one of the few girls in the group."I'm scared."•••Diamond Dallas Page was born Page Joseph Falkinburg, Jr, in 1956 in PointPleasant New Jersey, an area he describes as Springsteen and Bon Jovicountry.He played contact sports – football and hockey – until age 12, when he washit by a car and his right leg was smashed. Doctors told him he'd never havea serious shot at pro sports, that he should take up chess or something
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31/03/2009Diamond Dallas Page returns to the (yocregister.com//ddp-yoga-wrestling-1/3
 
similar. So he opted for a sport that people said would be lighter contact,basketball, while harboring a secret desire to be involved in something veryhigh contact – pro wrestling.As he grew, he cultivated the look and attitude of a wrestling character. But itwould be decades before he'd get to live out that dream.Instead, he spent his 20s working in nightclubs, mostly as a bouncer andemcee. He was huge and dramatic and loud, and when he hosted ancientnightclub gimmicks like hot legs contests, partiers came in through the doors.Soon, he gained a nickname, POP, a.k.a. "Prince of Promo.""I looked like a rock star," he says. "I had a polished rap from being in front of a crowd."He was living in Ft. Meyers Beach Florida and running Norma Jeans DanceClub ("The hottest place from Sarasota to Cuba") when he had an opportunityto bring his particular skill set to the American Wrestling Association. Hisrole? He was the manager, a key player in any wrestling show.It was 1988, and, in those days, DDP was a full-time bad guy, or heel. Beforeeach match, he'd saunter into the ring and bark orders at his scantily cladfemale companions, (The Diamond Dolls) and generally talk trash. He wasuniversally loathed, which, in wrestling, is great.In 1990, he moved to Atlanta to break into the World ChampionshipWrestling, a production that has evolved into World Wrestling Entertainment,which dominates the market today.He started at WCW as a manager. But that changed, he says, when hispersonality began to overshadow the talent. His bosses suggested hebecome a color-commentator. But, with seven months left on his contract, hecountered:At 35, DDP said he'd wrestle."Everyone rolled their eyes," he says.Still, he did it."At 35 and half years old I made it to the show. I was the oldest man ever living the dream of an eight year old child."•••In the late 1990s, DDP was a big enough name in pro wrestling that'drecently been part of two huge pay-per-view tag team events.In one, DDP teamed up with then pro basketball star Karl Malone against HulkHogan and another NBA player, Dennis Rodman. In the other, DDP taggedwith Jay Leno against Hogan and former WCW executive producer EricBischoff.But, in early 1999, during a match with less famous partners, DDP threw hisback out.Though pro wrestling relies on soap opera-type scripting and pre-sketchedresults, DDP says there's one thing you can't fake – gravity.Doctors told the man who loves acronyms that his L4 and L5 discs weretapped out. His wrestling career, he was told, was done.His wife suggested yoga."I was, like, yoga? You're kidding, right?" he says. "I always thought (yoga)was a bunch of spiritual mumbo jumbo."But he was desperate, so he gave it a shot. And, learning to be bendy helpedDDP regain enough strength and flexibility to get back into the ring. He wenton to claim the championship title three times.Still, traditional yoga was a bit fey for DDP. So he made some tweaks,incorporating strength conditioning, Pilates and mixed martial arts moves intohis routine. And, when he wasn't in the ring, he spent time teaching hisparticular version of yoga to other pro wrestlers.In 2002, at 46, DDP ended his wrestling career. But he transitioned all thebending and balancing and strengthening techniques he had been developingover the years and started Yoga for Regular Guys – or, as he prefers it, YRG.It's like yoga on steroids (though, it should be noted, no steroids are actuallyinvolved), and it's available on DVD.In YRG, a traditional yoga position known as "child's pose" is re-christened"the safety zone," while "warrior lunges" become "road warriors." And "happybaby"
was
'happy porn star' until DDP struck a fitness video deal with Warner Bros. and he had to tone it down to its new, PG name: "dead bug."
31/03/2009Diamond Dallas Page returns to the (yocregister.com//ddp-yoga-wrestling-2/3

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