In his two years in wrestling, Winnipeg native Andy Anderson has already gained a wealth of International wrestling experience. Aside from Canada and the U.S., the 24-year old has also plied his considerable wrestling skills in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

Andy Anderson as “Buff” Anderson. — courtesy Music City Wrestling.

Yet, an opportunity to wrestle in Japan, what Anderson had always longed for, had alluded him. A life long fan of Puroresu, Anderson had long dreamt of making a name for himself in Japan and follow in the footsteps of his idol Chris Benoit.

In August, Anderson fulfilled his dream when he was invited to tour with the Battlearts promotion. Those who follow Japanese wrestling know that the Battlearts office promotes a pseudo shoot-type form of wrestling that differs from all the other Japanese promotions. It wasn’t quite what Anderson had dreamt of, but it was still an amazing experience nonetheless.

“It wasn’t 100% what I was expecting,” Anderson told SLAM! Wrestling recently from his apartment in Puerto Rico. “(The entire experience) was pretty positive.”

Anderson viewed his time spent in Japan as one of the best in his wrestling career so far.

“After the first show I was telling one of the American wrestlers working there that this reminds me of why I fell in love with the Japanese style of wrestling on tapes.”

Despite Battlearts being one of the smaller Japanese promotions, the organization, its officials and its wrestlers impressed Anderson.

“The Battlearts company was very professional,” stated Anderson. “They have a good team atmosphere among all the wrestlers. Before every show they have a pep talk and meeting. The wrestlers take it very seriously. That whole attitude and idea, I found very refreshing.”

Battlearts has a training dojo that is renowned for being physically taxing and where the instructors run young wrestlers through the ringer. Still, Anderson didn’t let that reputation intimidate him.

“From all the hype I heard about their dojo, I thought there was going to be a lot of training and there really wasn’t that much.”

Battlearts boasts the stiffest working style of all the Japanese promotions. Matches are contested under two sets of rules: 1) regular pro wrestling rules and 2) Battlearts rules where the match can only end on a knockout or submission.

“In Japan it’s considered a work-shoot style,” explained Anderson. “With their kicks and head butts, they don’t work it. You really feel it. I gained a new appreciation for it.”

While there, Anderson picked up some conditioning tips and learned some moves that he’ll be incorporating into his repertoire of moves in the future.

“The conditioning was the biggest thing I noticed,” admitted Anderson. “It’s helped my style develop. I’m a bit more crisper, more solid.”

Despite wrestling in a new country for the first time, Anderson didn’t feel the perils of culture shock. Having wrestled in Mexico and Puerto Rico, where English is not the main language, helped him adapt to life in Japan.

“Having to adapt to different cultures, I think I’m fairly open minded and respectful,” said Anderson. “Aside from the food and the language, it wasn’t that much of a culture shock.”

Looking down the road, Anderson’s itinerary is full. Aside from returning to Japan, things are picking up in Puerto Rico.

“I’m tentatively scheduled to go back in November, so obviously I’m doing something right if they want me back. In December the WWF is coming to Puerto Rico and I’ll be working those shows and then in January the IWA will be starting full time.”