Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS -

whose mum died when he was seven – was branded a loner and trou­ble maker at school, but dis­cov­ered the sport of judo aged 17 and aimed to be in Bri­tain’s 1964 Olympic team.

But an ac­ci­dent work­ing as a coach­build­ing ap­pren­tice cost him half his left in­dex fin­ger – mak­ing judo holds im­pos­si­ble.

A car dealer friend Ge­off Condliffe – wrestling champ Count Bartelli – in­tro­duced him to the sport.

Peter says: “I knew when I turned to wrestling I needed a gim­mick.

“So I com­bined Ken­shiro’s teach­ings about the Sa­mu­rai with the show­man­ship of Count Bartelli. But the spir­i­tual side was al­ways real. That wasn’t a show. I saw that com­bat sport was more than fight­ing. There was a spir­i­tu­al­ism which gave me peace and con­tin­ues to do so to­day.


“The abil­ity to step out­side one­self and find peace has al­ways been my se­cret. Mil­lions prac­tise it to­day as mind­ful­ness. It is the se­cret to life.

“Ken­shiro gave me a path through life through med­i­ta­tion. I owe so much to Ken­shiro. With­out him there would have been no Kendo.”

His wrestling ca­reer brought fame world­wide – as well as fury from fans who hated his sav­age style – in­clud­ing his Kamikaze Crash where he threw an op­po­nent to the can­vas then rolled over them with his shoul­der.

His feuds with pop­u­lar stars like Big Daddy and Gi­ant Haystacks led one fan to stab him in the back with a pen.

An­other fan packed a house brick in her hand­bag and wal­loped him on the head with it.

And at one show a woman was heard scream­ing: “You’re f ***** g evil, Na­gasaki! You’re a f ***** g an­i­mal! You’re noth­ing but a mon­ster!”

His years in the ring have a taken a toll on his body. He has had ops on three dam­aged neck ver­te­brae and his Peter in his stage out­fit in 1986 left knee, has arthritic hips, a steel pin in a toe and a “dodgy” left shoul­der.

But he still rises at 6am, med­i­tates for an hour, takes a long walk around his nine-acre es­tate in Stafford­shire, works, then med­i­tates again.

He says med­i­ta­tion and a diet of por­ridge, fish, fresh fruit and veg­eta­bles has kept him healthy and strong.

Peter now plans to recre­ate one of TV wrestling’s great­est mo­ments – when he was un­masked in the ring by Ge­orge Gil­lett in 1977 at the Civic Hall, Wolver­hamp­ton.

On The Man Be­hind the Kendo shows off a move Mask Mini-tour, Lyn Rigby will recre­ate the un­mask­ing at five venues this month – the Beck The­atre, Hayes, Mid­dle­sex, on Oc­to­ber 22, the Princes Hall, Alder­shot, Sur­rey, on the 23rd, Woodville Halls, Gravesend, Kent, on the 24th, King’s The­atre, Han­ley, Staffs, on the 26th and Dud­ley Town Hall, West Mid­lands, on the 27th. scoops@sun­daymir­ Kendo Na­gasaki and the Man Be­hind the Mask by Peter Thorn­ley, is in shops on No­vem­ber 1 and avail­able now to pre-or­der on­line.

Kendo le­gend Peter to­day FACE OFF HOLD TIMES

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