Reader Profile 215: Buddha

Published: 14 August, 2012 - Featured in Skin Deep 215, August, 2012

Passivity can sometimes be the main tactic in battle, like silence in a discussion, and no one knows and masters that art better than Bad Buddha…

You can almost cut the tension inside the Tango Palace in Malmö, Sweden, with a knife. It’s time for the third clash of the Wrestling South Federation and the combatants are preparing for the fight, all in their own manner. Some are wandering up and down the hallway, others warm up in the ring, while on an old plush sofa in one of the corners sits what is one of the more mythical, mystical, and yes, even legendary, wrestlers ever to have entered a ring in the south of Sweden, meditating.

Bad Buddha was discovered by his manager, Reijo the Knife, sometime in the beginning of what the Christians call the third century, but nobody knows where he really originates from.

“It’s said that he’s been some sort of warrior monk in a mountain monastery in Tibet, but some people claim that he comes from the Mekong Delta and that one day he just came walking out of there. They used to say he was the sixth element,” says one of his biggest fans, Photogenic Phil.

Normally Reijo the Knife does all the talking since Bad Buddha himself has taken a vow of silence (if you’re the sixth element there’s no need to talk, Phil says), but his manager has temporarily disappeared under mysterious circumstances and will probably continue to be missing for the next six to eight years. Incidentally he was one of those who started GBG Wrestling, the Gothenburg predecessor to Wrestling South, before he even found his bellicose jewel from the east.

“Reijo used to get drunk with Marko the Balkan, a member of the Yugoslavian mafia, around Kortedala Square in Gothenburg,” Photogenic Phil continues. “Together they started to organize fights – the first one was held in a Greek restaurant on just sleeping pads. It was always sold out.”

This was 2003. A year later, after continuous hard training since his arrival in Sweden in the middle of the ’90s, Bad Buddha joined the community, upon which he partook in bringing Swedish wrestling outside of its stronghold in Gothenburg.

A gala was arranged in Stockholm, but nowadays most of the action takes place in the Tango Palace in Malmö. This was also the site of Bad Buddha’s biggest triumph of his career, as he brought the notorious Killer Karlsson to his knees.

“It was by far the most difficult battle of all, but he came out stronger than ever. His goal with every fight is to achieve inner peace. That’s what you’re after; to just be and live with every breath, like Bushido (the way of the warrior) says.”

Bad Buddha’s body is adorned with various ink-based art, and even that has, of course, a deeper layer to it: “It’s to decorate your temple and protect it from evil spirits.” Some have been collected in the Orient, but some have also been procured on Swedish grounds. “He wants to collect as much constructive power as possible from as many artists as possible – it has been said that Kalle Södergren at Rebel Tattoo, Tony Skate at City Tattoo, and Erik at Buzzstop 28 (all in Gothenburg) have contributed, but no one really knows for sure.”

In the third fight of the evening, Bad Buddha enters the ring. This night he faces Aguila Roja, and the Mexican never stands a chance. The audience is ecstatic and Buddha himself almost sweats his philosophies of life after using both of his trademark moves, The Farmer’s Toss and The Buddha Bomb. Left on the floor, Roja lies defeated and humiliated long after the warrior monk has left the ring and returned to his inner tranquility.

“The much feared Buddha Bomb means that you take a hold of the top ropes of the ring and land with your ass on the opponent’s chest. In The Farmer’s Toss he lifts the adversary up onto his shoulders and throws him over himself.”

When he will battle the next time, no one knows. Not even him. “He will enter any ring at any time, wherever it’s needed. Sometimes to fight injustice, sometimes just to humble people.”


Text & Photography: Simon Lundh