‘Life’s too short to have regrets’: New wrestling academy brings rush of the ring to Rainham 

Greg Burridge, centre, opened Essex Wrestling Academy to train budding wrestlers

Greg Burridge, centre, opened Essex Wrestling Academy to train budding wrestlers and provide an alternative form of keeping fit - Credit: Essex Wrestling Academy

Wrestling newcomers and hardened fighters alike will have the opportunity to fine-tune their skills at a new academy just opened in Rainham. 

Essex Wrestling Academy was started by industry veteran Greg Burridge to provide a space for people in the area to train and offer an alternative form of keeping fit for those less familiar with the sport. 

Greg, who has over 20 years in the wrestling industry and previously ran the London School of Lucha Libre in Bethnal Green, said the idea was partly inspired by the local legacy of wrestling hero Will Ospreay from Rainham. 

It was while speaking with Will’s mum, the head of art and drama at the Harris Academy, when they decided it would be a good idea to set up a wrestling school. 

Now training on Friday nights after kicking off on Mondays, the sessions start with an hour warm-up of dancing - intended to improve skills such as footwork and stance - before moving on to more specific training. 

“A lot of people come just for the hour warm-up,” Greg said. 

The sessions consist of an hour-long dance warm-up as well as specific wrestling training

The sessions consist of an hour-long dance warm-up as well as specific wrestling training - Credit: Essex Wrestling Academy

Growing up as a youngster in Cranham who loved wrestling, Greg would save all of his money earned working at Romford Market and spend it on training. 

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“I knew if I put my heart and soul into it, I could do it,” he said. 

Greg hopes the academy can encourage people to come out of their shells and try something new. 

“I’m all about the positive mental attitude,” Greg said when discussing the benefits of wrestling. “It’s just as much physical as it is mental.” 

He said the performance element enables those taking part to revel in the showmanship central to the sport's appeal. 

“You get to be a real-life superhero and put on crazy costumes,” he said. “There’s no rush like performing in front of a big crowd.” 

Plus, he said it gives members something interesting to talk about at the pub, or, as Greg suggests, "put on your Hinge profile”. 

Lynn Huynh aka Shaolynn Scarlett in training at the Essex Wrestling Academy

Lynn Huynh, known as Shaolynn Scarlett, in training at the Essex Wrestling Academy - Credit: Essex Wrestling Academy

While focused on developing the academy, Greg said he also hopes to eventually open a stunt school for kids, teaching them some of his skills picked up from working as a professional stuntman. 

For now though, he said he is welcoming anyone willing to dip their toe into the world of wrestling. 

“Life’s too short to have regrets.” 

Follow the Essex Wrestling Academy on Facebook for more information on future sessions. 

READ MORE: Hundreds pack out Rainham sports centre for wrestling show