Followers of international rugby competition are surely familiar with the work of John Pryor, who has spent the last four years serving as the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Japan Rugby Football Union, the team responsible for one of the greatest upsets in the history of the Rugby World Cup. While his exploits in preparing the athletes of Japan’s national rugby team have earned him widespread acclaim, his work as the director of JointAction has yielded similarly impressive results for workers in a wide variety of industries. The company aims to improve occupational health by offering educational programs regarding an array of preventive and corrective measures.
What do you do for work?
I’m quite fortunate to have been able to manage two professional roles with both the Japan Rugby Football Union as well as with JointAction. I have spent the past eight years with JointAction, serving as its director, and I have been the strength and conditioning coordinator for the Japan Rugby Football Union for the past four years.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the field in which you currently work?
My academic background includes a master’s degree in biomechanics from Southern Cross University, and I have been involved with athletics and strength training for as long as I can remember, so both of my professional endeavors allow me to apply my education and experience in a manner I find rewarding.
In what way does your professional role make it possible for you to have a positive impact on others?
I think my contribution to Japan’s success in international rugby competition has had a very positive impact on popularizing the sport throughout the country, and my efforts with JointAction have allowed many people in a variety of occupations to develop a deeper understanding of how to improve their overall health and wellness.
What is it that you enjoy most about living in Sydney, New South Wales?
From a practical standpoint, living in Sydney makes it incredibly easy to travel as often as I do. What I enjoy most, however, is the tremendous opportunity for outdoor lifestyle. I hit Dee Why beach almost every morning with my son Wilson. My wife, Bec, and I also do quite a bit of walking in Kuringai National Park. Sydney offers a truly unique combination of beach and bush opportunities, whilst still living In a major capital city.
What do you do for recreation?
I like to stay fit, first and foremost. But the ocean pools, in my opinion Sydney’s greatest assets, are a favourite of mine. I spend a lot of time at ocean pools and swimming in the ocean.
I am to get back into boxing and martial arts this year, which I have been too busy to do lately.
If you could travel anywhere outside of Australia, where would you go and why?
India. I have a fascination with it. My wife and I spent a week in Mumbai. I love the chaos, the cultural diversity and many other things difficult to articulate. I want to go back soon.
Aussie rules football, cricket, rugby or something else?
Just rugby for me. But I really respect rugby league. I believe it’s the toughest sport in the world.
Is there an Australian you admire or who has had a profound influence on you personally or professionally? Explain.
Probably Weary Dunlop and Fred Hollows (born a Kiwi). These were really selfless men committed to devoting their lives to other people’s welfare.
From a coaching point of view, my favourite is Percy Cerutty. He was ahead of his time.
What advice would you give to a first-time visitor to Australia?
I’d suggest coming with an open mind toward experiencing some of the more interesting and unique parts of our culture. And when I say that, it should be inclusive of Aboriginal culture. Most Australians know little about it.
What is the funniest or strangest question a tourist has ever asked you about Australia?
Someone once asked me if my training methods for rugby included boxing with Kangaroos. I thought it was a joke so I just laughed, but he was apparently quite serious and pressed me for an answer.