Thursday, December 8, 2011

Who Can Solve the Ultimate Challenge?

Jon Jones has put together an absolutely fantastic record as a fighter. Through 15 fights, he has lost only once, via disqualification, and has finished his last five fights in vicious fashion while sustaining hardly any damage.

Lyoto Machida has been tabbed as Jones’ most interesting and, potentially, most dangerous opponent to date, but why? Is it because of Machida’s exotic crane kick? Here, we’ll break down the most interesting facet of this Saturday’s UFC light heavyweight title fight.

Perhaps the best aspect of Jones’ striking game is the variety which he uses to keep opponents guessing. It’s a merit which shines even more given Jones’ long-distance attack. Basically, Jones’ opponents can’t hit him because his reach is simply too long and his strikes are too unpredictable.

On the other hand, Machida is known for out-striking opponents from long range. His hand strikes aren’t exactly like boxing punches; his “tsuki” (thrust) comes with less shoulder motion, which benefits speed but causes less damage than punches thrown with more shoulder rotation.

Because of his karate-influenced technique, Machida isn’t as effective when fighting at short range. His losses to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson came when he was out-struck in close quarters. Both Shogun and Rampage pressured Machida in the pocket and struck from varying angles.

Jones’ extremely long frame his one of his greatest assets as a fighter, but we’ve never seen Machida lose when striking a long range. I’m most interested in whether the fight will play out from a distance.

At short range, we’ve seen less flattering sides of both fighters. As he did with Machida, Rampage got inside on Jones and found some success, but Jones’ long frame isn’t easy to control at short length either. With his wrestling base, Jones can shoot for strong takedowns when opponents get close enough. Machida will have had a tough time finding someone with Jones’ frame and grappling acumen to train with, so I will favor Jones at close range.

Machida has other strengths, such as the wicked front kick he used to knock out Randy Couture and other unpredictable karate tricks. Like Jones, he has a variety of strikes to keep opponents on their toes, which could lead to both fighters trying to trick one another with feints and fakes.

Of course, there is a chance the fighters won’t choose to trade from a far range. They may go for a takedown, choose to fight in the clinch, or utilize some other unexpected strategy. If it turns out like that, well, that’s the fun of this kind of fight.

Big thanks to Chris Nelson (from Sherdog) for English and editing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Breakdown of Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez at UFC on FOX

The heavyweight title fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos ended so quickly that it disapponted some people. I, like many, think the UFC and Fox should have shown Guida-Henderson instead of 30 minutes of of hype. But, I don't understand why people think it's a total failure. If you look at the details of the fight, I think any MMA fan can still enjoy it, even if it was short.
Immediately, Dos Santos was superior in terms of speed to Velasquez, so, he didn't need to attack first. Dos Santos was able to react to Velasquez's attack and counter, instead. Moreover, dos Santos is great at using his back step to create an angle for his dominant right hand. He goes to the right side to set up that right hook, making it much harder to see.
Dos Santos throws a left hook with 4:22 remaining, and Velasquez answers with a left hook of his own. I think that movement made dos Santos try it again. At 4:18 remaining, dos Santos shows a left hook feint, then throws a right hook to the body, bringing the attention to Velasquez's torso.
Then, with 4:05 remaining, dos Santos throws a left jab, which I don't think he had any intention of landing. If you watch the replay at the end of the fight, it looks like he uses the jab to gauge Velasquez's movement. He expected Cain to answer with the left hook, and he was able to counter with his right hand. Look at the post-fight replay and watch the mechanics.
Short fights can still have plenty of rich MMA content if you really look.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (Sherdog) for English editing.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Jessica Penne interview

I interview Jessica Penne who is Bellator veteran.I interview about how she think about female MMA's new division 106 pounds and her division at Bellator, 115 pounds.She talk about how she interest potential fight against Jewels 106 pounds tourny fighter.

- Please talk a bit about what first made you interested in MMA. Was there any particular moment that motivated you to start training? Before you began training in MMA, did you have any other martial arts or sports background?

Before I began training in MMA, I was involved in a few different sports. I played soccer, softball and competed in swimming. I was interested in wrestling and tried to join the high school team, but they didn't allow me to join. I was very curious about grappling and kickboxing for some time, but I was not sure how to go about training and competing in it. I started training in grappling and kickboxing in 2005 and had my first MMA fight in November 2006.

- With your recent win against Rena Kubota in Shoot Boxing, many people realized your talents. Do you think that your fighting style fit well with the Shoot Boxing rules? You seemed to have a lot of success with throws.

I took that fight on about a week’s notice, and before that I didn’t know what Shoot Boxing was, but I thought it sounded like a great challenge. I’m more comfortable grappling than with my throws and striking, so this was a good opportunity to test all of the work I’ve put in. I really enjoyed fighting under the Shoot Boxing rules and I think that it was a natural transition from my MMA fighting style. I hope to have the opportunity to fight there again.

- Please talk about your experience of fighting at a Japanese event and spending time in Japan. Did you have time to train at any gyms or go sightseeing before you returned home?

Fighting in Japan was by far the best fighting experience that I have had. I had always wanted to go there, and to have the opportunity to fight there was a dream come true for me. Everyone was very welcoming and treated us very well. It was nice to see fighting so well-received there. It was a very short trip, so I didn’t get to sightsee as much as I had hoped, but I did have a little time to do some tourist type stuff. I can’t wait to go back.

- The female 48kg./106lbs. division in MMA isn’t very deep yet and you used to compete at a higher weight. Jewels recently began a 106lbs. tournament and a champion will be crowned in December. Would you be interested in fighting in Japan against any of the tournament fighters? Any fighters in particular?

I competed at a higher weight because there really weren’t many opportunities at a lighter weight in the States. Japan has a lot of good fighters at 106lbs. I had heard about that tournament and wanted to be a part of it. I hope in the future I will have that opportunity to go back to Japan and fight MMA and/or Shoot Boxing soon.

- When you faced Zoila Frausto in 2010, she was much bigger and you seemed to struggle with her power when trying to take her down. Would you like to continue fighting for Bellator at a higher weight (115lbs.) or do you hope that they will make a new division for you at 105lbs.? Please talk about your view of the 105lbs. division in the United States and its future.

I was small for that tournament. I usually walk at 115, and was actually below weight the week before that fight. I had hoped that by not having to cut any weight, I might have an advantage over people who had a big weight cut. After the Bellator tournament, it had been mentioned to me that they would want to do a lighter weight tournament, but I haven’t heard anything since then about it.

It would be great if they did, or if there were more opportunities at 105lbs in the States. I like fighting at 105lbs and my first preference would be fighting at that weight, 
but I have not ruled out competing at 115lbs, either, and there are opponents at that weight that interest me.

- Please discuss your training at Reign MMA. Who are your main trainers for striking, grappling and wrestling, and what is your opinion of them? Also, please talk about how Mark Munoz contributes to your fighting style. Has he helped you a lot with your wrestling and takedowns?

I currently train at Kings and Reign for MMA. Those gyms cross-train with each other. For striking, I have been learning from Rafael Cordeiro and Andre Dida. I have learned a lot from them and really enjoy their striking style. For wrestling, I have been training with Mark Munoz and Jacob Harman. And for jiu-jitsu, I have been training with Lucas Leite at Checkmat.

I work with Gavin MacMillan at Sport Science Lab for strength and conditioning and have never felt more athletic. I feel really lucky to be around such great teams and trainers. They have so much knowledge and are so supportive of everyone there.

- Do you currently have any fights coming up? If so, please talk about them. If not, what are your plans for next year?

I don’t have any fights booked yet, but I am looking and hope to fight in Brazil early next year. I competed at the No-Gi Worlds this past weekend to stay busy until then.

- Please give a message to the fans, both the English-speaking and in Japan, about your fighting career and your future.

I would like to say thank you to everyone for their support. My family, friends, coaches and teammates are amazing. I am very lucky to be involved in this sport, and it has brought me a lot of happiness. Training and fighting have brought a lot of wonderful people into my life and I hope to make them proud.

Jessica Penne Official Twitter

Big thanks to Robert Sargent  (MMA Rising) for interview arrangement and English editing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Wajyutsu Keisyukai restarted

After financial trouble on running own cage event Cage Force and Valkyrie, biggest Japanese MMA Gym Franchise Wajyutsu Keisyukai keep silence.Cage Force and Valkyrie didn't hold event.

Because of financial trouble, Wajyutsu Keisyukai lose Tokyo head quarter gym and A-3 gym closed by financial trouble.GODS gym have trouble too.But fighters decide take own control.Because of that, they can continue GODS gym.Toyoki Kubo is basically missing after financial troble of GCM.But fighters still claim they don't arbitrarily decide this decision.

Wajyutsu fighters get rid of under control by GCM (Greatest common multiple) and organization head Toyoki Kubo.Fighters directly get permit to use bland "Wajyutsu Keisyukai)" from Yoshinori Nishi.Who is founder and ValeTudo Japan veteran.

For the conclusion,fighters withdraw from old "Wajyutsu Keisyukai" under GCM control and start running new "Wajyutsu Keisyukai (same name)" by fighters.

Wajyutsu Keisyukai known for produce Yushin Okami ,Caol Uno.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ronda Rousey interview

I interview Ronda Rousey who is MMA prospect and Olympic Bronze medalist at Beijing.I interview about how elite Judoka adapt MMA, what Judo skill is useful for MMA and how she want build herself as a fighter.

- You started in MMA with influence from your mother and you have referred to MMA as “old judo” where there’s more focus on ground skills. Today’s judo rules limit ground techniques and the morote gari (double-leg takedown). What is your opinion on the rule changes in judo and what advice would you give to other judokas who are interested in competing in MMA?

I absolutely hate the new rule changes in judo. I think it entirely favors the Japanese style of fighting and makes it a less realistic fighting sport. If the rules in judo continue to be influenced by politics, I see a steady decline happening for what really is a beautiful sport and martial art.

- You often prefer osotogari and harai goshi throws in MMA, which allow you to land in side control. Are there any other judo techniques that you would recommend for use in MMA?

Foot sweeps, which I wasn’t a huge fan of in Olympic Judo, are extremely effective and underutilized in MMA. I’ve actually used them a few times in fights, but it’s very subtle and hard to notice.

- All of your fights so far have ended very quickly by submission. I am curious how you will perform in a tougher fight. What can we expect to see from you if you have a longer fight? Positional dominance, striking skills or will you just try to finish the fight in any way that you can?

I just try to finish fights in any way I can. Improvising is a talent I am lucky to have, and whatever I see, I try. It’s hard to predict what will come to mind in a fight, and I think that’s what makes me a difficult opponent to prepare for.

- Cris Cyborg is the Strikeforce champion in your weight class and you have said that you believe that Cuban judokas are better athletes than she is. I think this is true. If other Olympic medalists in judo come over to MMA, what do they need to do to make the transition easier?

If judoka want to be successful in MMA, they have to focus on their ground game and transition from standing to ground. If you want to succeed in MMA with a grappling style, like judo, you have to be completely well-rounded and be able to finish fights on the ground.

- How have you fused and balanced your judo skills with the other skills that you need in MMA? Have you added bits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to your judo or do you find that you are using BJJ most often now?

I see no big difference between BJJ and judo. When people compliment me on my BJJ, I tell them I am a BJJ white belt, because it’s true. I believe BJJ and judo are the same sport with different emphasis. BJJ is 20% standing and 80% on the ground, whereas judo is 80% standing and 20% on the ground. It’s all the same to me.

- Which fighter’s style had the biggest influence on you when you moved from judo to MMA? Perhaps Karo Parisyan or Rick Hawn?

Actually, Fedor is the fighter I try to emulate the most. I study his videos and try to be just as explosive and just as smooth transitioning from standing to ground.

- How much of an effect does the discipline of judo have on you in life and in fighting?

Judo taught me that I am capable of anything. No matter how favored my opponent is to win, or how injured or sick I could be, I can mentally push past anything and be victorious. My mom used to always tell me, “No one has the right to beat you.” I never would have learned that if it wasn’t for judo.

- You will face Julia Budd for Strikeforce on November 18. She is a good striker. Please provide your thoughts on the fight and list what you think is key to victory.

I think the key to victory will be to force her to play my game, which is in the clinch and on the ground. I am used to fighting people who try to keep me at a distance and only strike with me, whereas she has never faced anyone like me before. One advantage to having so little cage time is that my opponents don’t really know that much about me. I am sure I will be much more prepared than she will.

- How much longer do you think you will compete until you are ready to fight for a championship?

I would like to have 6 or so pro fights before I make a run for the 145lbs title. The thing is, a fight against Cris would be the most important of my career, and though I know I am capable of winning that fight today, I want to be at my absolute peak, as I would for an Olympic Games, when that fight happens.

People forget I have only been doing MMA for one year and have only a little over 3 minutes of experience in the cage. I am improving every day and still feel like I can keep getting better. When my management and coaches say it’s time, we’ll take the fight.

- Please leave a message for the fans, both the English-speaking and in Japan, about your fighting career and future.

Well…here’s a quote from Will Rogers: “Women are not the weak, frail little flowers that they are advertised. There has never been anything invented yet, including war, that a man would enter into, that a woman wouldn’t, too."

And here’s a quote from me: DEMAND WOMEN’S MMA!

Big thanks to Robert Sargent  (MMA Rising) for interview arrangement and English editing.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Marloes Coenen interview

I interview former Strikeforce women's bantam weight champion Marloes Coenen .Who will be fighting for BlackEye promotion.I interview about a history and future of female MMA, how she thinks about a being a pro with getting money and how to make recognition for female MMA.

Marloes Coenen

- I was reminded of the ReMix World Cup from 2000 when you won your Strikeforce title last year. It was the first big tournament in women’s MMA history, and after ten years of ups and downs in your career, you won the Strikeforce belt. Women’s MMA began as a niche interest, but it has come a long way. What are your thoughts on that? Is it nostalgic to think back to the ReMix tournament?

Yes! It definitely is. About a week prior to the tournament, I visited Japan for the first time in my life and had my first professional fight (after only two amateur Shooto fights). It was unexpected. I was busy with a different life and just started University in Rotterdam. Looking back at it, it feels to me that the universe was telling me something. Showing me a different life path.

I never thought of myself as a fighter. That was not how I was brought up. My mom is a strong person and the mother of my father is an truly brave and unique woman…but fighting? That  was sooooo not an option for a girl like me! And now 10 years later I'm a professional cage fighter…

- You were released from Strikeforce this year and could not get a new contract. My understanding is that you could not agree on financial terms. Strikeforce paid some female fighters better than Zuffa pays some of its male champions. As someone who is seen as a leader in women’s MMA, what is your opinion of the current situation for women who are trying to make a living as professional fighters? What can be done to make things better?

We need good role models to attract a big audience. I firmly believe we can empower, intrigue and entertain so many women. And if they tune in to watch us fight, the big sponsors will follow. Maybe we need a female-only organisation and broadcast that on TV. L'Oreal would more likely sponsor that than a UFC-only show with heavy metal music and a rough and tough male vibe.

- Female fighters in MMA do not receive the same amount of recognition that male fighters do. What needs to change in order to increase the popularity of women’s MMA? Better athletes or more advertising? Is it better to have recognition for the sport (of MMA) or as an individual?

Gina Carano proved that a single woman can do a lot for the sport. Like I said above, good role models are needed. A variety of girls. What I see now is that a lot of girls are trying to be the pin-up girl. Some take it, in my opinion, too far, though it does work with the male audience. Then on the other end, others don't understand at all that they are not just an athlete. It's hard to find the right mixture.

A second thing that can enhance our recognition is when famous male fighters publicly endorse females in MMA. Because their fans will listen to them, and in that way the audience can be educated. If a Nick Diaz commentates on a female fight for instance, and tells why it's a good fight, a lot of people will be influenced positively. I know, from talking with a lot of famous male fighters, that they are positive about women in the sport. They respect us big time because they know what it takes. Only be a bit more vocal about it, please. ;)

- Until recently, women often did not compete with the same rules as male fighters do and it was difficult to fight the best opponents without changing weight classes. Now the talent pool is growing and the rules are usually the same. You have fought under many different rules in your career. What is your opinion on the current rule set in MMA? What improvements could be made?

Keep it the same. We need to get the same amount of respect as the guys so we should fight under the same rules.  The term 'WMMA' annoys the hell out of me. When I started fighting it was called MMA, and now since a year or two I'm doing WMMA? Nothing has changed on my side. I use the same techniques, the same round times and fight under the same rules. The added 'W' is only there to separate…but why? It has no function whatsoever.

- You are known for finishing fights with submissions from the bottom. This can sometimes be risky, though, depending on the rules and if fighters can strike to the face on the ground. Especially with elbows. Do you have particular strategies when trying for submissions from the bottom? Also, do you think that the Unified Rules make it so that you need to try to have top position more often?

It's quite simple…there are a lot of techniques that you can do from the bottom. Of course I prefer the top position, but you should be able to finish a fight from every position.

- You recently appeared on a sports variety show on Japanese TV and also attended a Shooto event as well. How was your latest trip to Japan? What else did you do besides the TV appearance and Shooto?

I LOOOOOOOOOOVE Japan! I missed it so much!! We went to DREAM & Shooto and ate at my Japanese brother Taro Obata’s. His wife Chica made Okonomiyaki for me and Kawasaki-san joined us for dinner, too. I was lucky to meet Takashima-san, who's my Japanese father, at the Shooto show. And Shinobu was there, too. She's my Japanese sister. Believe it or not!

Of course I did some shopping! Gifts…I was lucky to buy my Shu Uemura makeup at the airport. And I ate all my favourite Japanese food: sushi (I tried whale, too), tako yaki, Imagawayaki and Okonomiyaki. My trainer Martijn wants to eat Korean BBQ all the time so we eat that a lot, too! Then I had to fly back to Kansas, where I was staying.

- This summer, you announced that you would be fighting for BlackEye Promotions. Who are some fighters that you hope to face in the United States in 2012?

There are a lot of great female athletes in the States that I am interested in facing in 2012. Two rematches are on my list: Tate and Cyborg!

- Please leave a message for the fans, both the English-speaking and in Japan, about your fighting career and future.

I would like to thank the Japanese people for the life-changing experience that your country gave me. I look forward to training hard and getting into the cage soon! If you are interested in my journey, please follow me on Twitter @marloescoenen. And don't forget to vote for me in the Fighters Only Awards (I'm nominated 2x!)! The voting will end soon! Stay strong! :)

Marloes Coenen Official Facebook

Big thanks to Robert Sargent  (MMA Rising) for interview arrangement and English editing.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Bruce Lee fan bring Shooto to America

The early UFC era's unsporting, duel-type fights bred animosity between MMA and many country's political structure. Many states banned MMA, beginning the early struggles and the Dark Ages of MMA in North America.

In the same era, Japanese MMA organization Shooto started MMA with idealized goals. They defined international and regional commissions, and an amateur system which is still very ahead of its time. American promoters such as Jeff Osborne started promoting Shooto stateside, largely because they felt they needed to change the American public view of MMA.

Yorinaga Nakamura was charmed by the trailer for Bruce Lee's Game of Death, when he went to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind in the theatre. Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do said that any and all offense which is effective is encouraged in combat. Therefore, he very much liked the idea of Shooto founder Satoru Sayama, which offered this same structure.

Yorinaga Nakamura

Nakamura joined Sayama's Super Tiger Gym in the pre-Shooting era, and won a championship at 145 pounds. But, Nakamura badly wanted to be Bruce Lee, so like his idol, he went to America. He bulked up to around 200 pounds, so he could deal with larger American foes, and then moved to the United States.

Lee had a heritage in America by this time, through his student Dan Inosanto. Inosanto continued to teach Lee's Jeet Kune Do at his academy in Los Angeles, so Nakamura joined and studied under Inosanto. However, the teacher was also interested in his student's experience with Shooto, as Jeet Kune Do stresses a philosophy of accepting any and all effective martial arts.

One of Nakamura's student was Erik Paulson, who learned many martial arts, including Shooto, where he would go on to become a world champion. His gym, CSW, continues to teach Shooto techniques that many are unaware of.

Erik Paulson talks about his mixture of training experiences.

Paulson is the head trainer of Brock Lesnar and Josh Barnett. So his Shooto, Japanese and English submmision wrestling knowledge remain relevant in elite fighter's skillsets in current MMA.

Trainer Greg Nelson talks about Dan Inosanto, Yorinaga Nakamura and Erik Paulson.

Erik Paulson had student named Greg Nelson, who experienced many martial arts too. Nelson would go on to found The Academy in Minnesota, a gym including Sean Sherk, Nik Lentz, Jacob Volkmann, Cole Konrad and others.

Satoru Sayama's Shooto and Japanese submmision wrestling exported United States by Yorinaga Nakamura has conciously and unconciously impacted many fighters, right through to the contemporary era of MMA.

So, a Japanese child, charmed by Hong Kong martial arts movies was the bridge for Shooto to move to the United States, all reinforced by the Jeet Kune Do (and MMA) mentality to accept any martial arts.

Yorinaga Nakamura is still teaching Jeet Kune Do in the United States, while Dan Inosanto is still interested in adding new skills to his own, which has led to him learning jiu-jitsu under the Machado brothers.

We can find Jeet Kune Do fighters, sometimes even in major MMA organizations. UFC veteran and Bellator welterweight Ben Saunders, for instance, still proclaims himself to be a Jeet Kune Do fighter.

If we judge from Lee's movies, it's a little too far from MMA, so people might be quick to laugh or mock the idea. However, it is Lee's philosophy that helped pave the way for so many new skills and techniques to make their way to America.

Yorinaga "Yori" Nakamura show his Shooto skill.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (Sherdog) for English editing.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fetish in MMA

There are people out there who are obsessed with the martial arts. For those who practice MMA, they of course train in several different martial arts disciplines. Therefore, it is the tendency of onlookers to find the "backbone" discipline of MMA fighters, which leads them to favor particular techniques and fighters, based upon that discipline.

This practice disrupts proper discussion in analyzing MMA, as people often develop unbalanced opinions when discussing a fighter's backbone. MMA has absorbed many different martial arts, but you can discern which techniques are more appropriate for MMA.

For example, in the beginning, Muay Thai and judo's effectiveness was not fully understood and evaluated for MMA, but now many people have come to realize the effectiveness of neck clinches and trips from those disciplines.

MMA isn't only a mix of martial arts, it's also a mixed culture. To fully understand it, one must study up on how it became "mixed" and what that mixing it implies. A prime example is Fedor Emelianenko, who has recently lost three straight fights. Like many other countries, Russia has a strong sporting culture which is supported by the Russian state, but other than Fedor, there aren't many top talents from Russia in major-level MMA. Critics have often pointed to the fact that Russian fighters have difficulty catching up in the grappling department because grappling training isn't stressed outside of Russian sambo. Fedor's recent losses and the fact that there weren't freakishly big fighters at heavyweight who are as skilled as they are today ten years ago speak to this notion. Today's heavyweights now understand how to counter Fedor's wild hook game and have the footwork and cage savvy to defend against it.

Information is the key to obtaining such results. I won't say that all MMA can be boiled down to just strategy, but given how much knowledge is needed to properly perform in MMA, acquiring that knowledge is critical, whether it's through reading, watching videos, or traveling to different places to train.

In 2005, the UFC had Andrei Arlovski, Chuck Liddell, Rich Franklin, and Matt Hughes as champs. While I do believe they all rightfully earned their titles, they do point to one thing in particular about the UFC at that time; its roster was not as culturally diverse as it is today, let alone as diverse as Pride's roster, at the time.

Thus, I believed that a more diverse selection of fighters would deliver for the UFC when Zuffa bought DreamStage Entertainment in 2007. As we've seen since however, the UFC's ability to thrive wasn't only delivered on the part of former Pride fighters, but also on the part of ethnically diverse American and Brazilian fighters.

In the past, I've sometimes said that former Pride fighters from America and Brazil have had better results than former Pride fighters from other countries. I am not saying that information is the only factor, but in actuality, fighters from countries where knowledge and technique relevant to cage survival is more readily accessible have clearly benefitted from it.

As a point of reference, look at the growth of talent from the United Kingdom. There were regular MMA events in the UK in the past, but not many talents rose to the upper levels of the sport until recently. Given the fact that UK-based fighters speak English, they have benefitted from the many sources of information out there in the MMA world, most of which is in English. Whether it's gathering information through written texts or exchanging information with fighters and trainers across the Atlantic in the US for example, the benefit of language that UK fighters have is a huge advantage to their overall MMA game.

I've already talked about the fusion of skills in the sport, and how hybridized knowledge is born day by day, year by year. Without that evolution of skills and knowledge, catching up to and staying current in today's MMA game is impossible. In the current state of MMA, learning how to chain skills is critical, but I want to see a twist for the future. I don't just want MMA to mature, I want it to become a cultural amoeba, consuming and absorbing all martial arts and adding their unique skills and repertoires to its own vast pool of knowledge. I want to see new challengers from martial arts that MMA fans have never heard of before. I want to encourage traditional martial artists to continue to try their hands at MMA.

For that matter, MMA already has incorporated traditional martial arts skills, whether fans realize it or not. Who wasn't excited to see Lyoto Machida's karate crane kick on Randy Couture, for example? How many fighters now use the spinning back fist, as innovated by the little-known Japanese martial art, Koppo? Skills like these show that MMA has room for the more radical techniques found in the traditional martial arts, right alongside better athletes and better informed fighters. While I don't deny the effectiveness of athleticism and the fundamental knowledge that MMA lays claim to now, I can also buy into the fetishization of traditional martial arts. Many watch and become fans of exotic techniques as displayed on sites like YouTube, and they too are a huge part of how our sport will gain its audience. 

Big thanks to Tony Loiseleur (Sherdog) for English editing.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Local prospects are in Bantam weight

Who are next generation of Japanese Mixed Martial Artist?At local Japanese organization,I can find Bantam weight prospect. Dream doing Bantam weight grandprix now..There are usual Japanese member who are former feather weight.But we will see new talent of clops in that division.I will list who is worth attention.


Kyoji Horiguchi 20 years old

Krazy Bee's most promising prospect.At first heard about there is rookie fighter sparring partner for "Kid".It's sound wired when heard Major level fighter sparring with 2 to 3 fight rookie.Horiguchi show improve with fit his Karate skill to MMA.Currently have 4 KO streak. "Kid" says he should get Shooto title in one year.Horiguchi had only 4 armature shooto fight experience because too strong at categoy.

Kyoji Horiguchi

 He will face Naohiro "Chokugekigamon" Mizuno at September 23, Shootor's Legacy 04.

This year's Shooto rookie tournament have high level competition too.So we will see. Shooto's  Feather weight division (same as international Bantam weight division) will stacked.


Tatsumitsu Wada 22 years old

Yoshida Dojo's prospect have experience karate and judo at childhood.He won 2007's future king tournament.He already have major win against Dream veteran Daiki "DJ Taiki" Hata.Hata can't handle Wada's punch speed.He will fight for DEEP title soon against Takafumi Otsuka. He can drop to Flyweight.

Tatsumitsu Wada

Yusaku Nakamura 25 years old

From Seiichi Ikemoto's style gym,Nakamura have Nihon Kenpo background.He stepped up as a late replacement of Darren Uenoyama at Dream. He had only 3 pro fight before he step up for Dream.This is shortest record of fight amount to fight Dream. His condition is not good since his injury didn't heal yet.But he shock people with knock down Atsushi Yamamoto.He lose but his reputation rise.

Yusaku Nakamura

He will face Seiji Akao at Septemvber 4 DEEP Osaka Impact.


Shunichi Shimizu 26 years old

From Uruno Dojo, Shimizu evaluated win against Manabu Inoue at SRC Asia Bantam weight tourny.He succeed to chain grapple against Inoue. He fought at feather weight recently.But he should fight for higher tier Bantam weight.


Motonobu Tezuka 24 years old

It's hard to choice Bantam weight prospect from Pancrase since their champ lose to ZST's Shimizu.But if I choice,Tezuka.From Dokonjonosuke Mishima's Cobra Kai.Tezuka show variety of takedown and lose split decision against Shintaro Ishiwatari.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Human behavior at MMA

Regardless of body type, human beings have many common physiological features.
 For example, all people can run faster forward than they can backwards. All people have eyes designed to see a horizontal panorama instead of a large vertical one, making the uppercut the most difficult punch to see.

When a fighter throws a punch, there is a moment when they must bring their hands back to throw another punch. It is at that moment an opponent can take occasion to counter and attack. In this way, basic human behavior defines how to move to attack your opponent, and how you should decide to counter them.

 This is why fighters watch one another and feint, without committing to strikes, to simply gauge their opponent's movements and reactions.

 If you understand that intention, you can watch fights differently. It allows you to understand how fighters use footwork to make an angle to attack, for instance. Certain angles of attack make certain punches easier to throw and land, and you begin to develop a sense of how to track and locate punches.

 Also, in MMA, situations change rapidly. If a circumstance changes -- a fighter gets rocked, or time is running out -- fighters know they need to change their gameplan. That is one of the true joys of MMA. You can see fighters who are competitive, adjusting their gameplans to take the foe out, or, a fighter whose gameplan completely crushed and overwhelms his opponent's.

 MMA gives more freedom than other martial arts, but its governed not just by rules, but how humans move and react to the techniques. Knowing these human behaviors and fighting behaviors shed a new light on combat.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (Sherdog) for English editing.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Supplement to Sherdog's "In Search of the Real Tiger Mask"

I helped's Tony Loiseleur to research the aforementioned feature article on Shuichiro Katsumura.

After the catastrophic disasters of March 11, I penned an article on SKILL MMA that touched on how certain media outlets irresponsibly reported the event and its fallout. Today, however, I want to talk more about someone who actually lives in Japan that has put forth great effort to support the earthquake and tsunami victims.

Hayato "Mach" Sakurai, Enson Inoue, Ryo Chonan and many other fighters in the MMA community have done much to contribute to the aid effort for Japan's Tohoku region. In discussing with Tony a potential feature for Sherdog on fighters taking part in disaster relief, all these names came up as suggestions to whom I thought were suited for his article.

At the time, the various names above had already received some amount of press in the English MMA media. However, one person who had not received attention was Katsumura, whom I suggested to Tony because of his active and ongoing mission to make regular relief trips to Tohoku despite the closeness of his first Shooto featherweight title defense. The relief missions admittedly went on throughout Katsumura's fight camp, making his story an intriguing and unique one. Tony and I came to the conclusion then that, rather than other fighters in the news, Katsumura would be the best choice to focus on because his desire to help his fellow countrymen outstripped his professional desire to preserve his Shooto title and few people in the Western MMA community knew about him and his situation.

Katsumura is not a well-known fighter to Western MMA fans, but he has a unique career that is worth sharing. He started in Shooto where he struggled. Then, after losing to Marcos "Louro" Galvao in 2004, Katsumura was suggested and offered a move to the ZST promotion by Sustain promoter Kazuhiro Sakamoto, which he took. While Galvao went on to become a highly-touted prospect after that win, Katsumura left the Shooto circuit with a promise to the fans that he would be back.

He was later brought in to K-1 Hero's, thanks to FEG's discovery of his day job at a local orphanage. Naturally, FEG liked the image of Katsumura being a fighter who also worked for the public good. While the exposure made him famous among the casual television-watching audience of Japan, he fought opponents well above his weight in K-1 Hero's and lost, leading him to feel self-conscious about his position in the promotion.

"Why should I be getting famous in K-1 by losing and working in an orphanage?"

He withdrew from fighting after the losses in Hero's, though he continued working for the public good by becoming a school teacher. Soon after, through the encouragement of his friends and the support of ZST, he started his own gym with the intent of resetting his career after two years of absence. He made his comeback in Shooto in 2009 by beating So Tazawa. He unexpectedly submitted the young Shooto title contender with a Brabo choke, making it look easy. With that surprising submission victory, Katsumura himself was vaulted into the Shooto title picture.

Masakatsu Ueda was Shooto's 132-pound champion at the time and was thus considered a top-10 bantamweight, naturally making the returning Katsumura a huge underdog. No matter how stacked the odds or widespread the belief that Ueda would crush him, however, Katsumura pulled off a shocking upset by catching Ueda in his "Ninja choke"; a signature move that Katsumura developed on his own over the course of two years extensively studying Eddie Bravo's rubber guard system.

Though the story of his returning to Shooto after so long to win the championship was an inspiring one, it was not a story without turbulence. After the Ueda victory, he lost by TKO to Darren Uyenoyama in a non-title bout several months later. Recently, he lost by knockout to Koetsu Okazaki; thus relinquishing the belt to him.

Though Katsumura is no longer a Shooto champion, he is still an active and integral part of the Japanese MMA community. As a teacher, Katsumura has many students in the local promotions of Japan, helping them make their way up their own competitive ladders. It is this social aspect of Katsumura--of him being a teacher, and consequently, his deep desire to help people--that I believe makes him unique, and also what I would like to focus on.

One particular example that is interesting and telling about Katsumura relates to his gym, Reversal Gym Yokohama Groundslam, which does not take children as students. This is surprising given his history of helping and educating children as both an orphanage worker and school teacher. The reason for this, however, is due to Katsumura's childhood goal to become a teacher himself. The desire was reportedly born out of his resentment of his own teachers at the time.

As a youth, he took particular dislike to his teachers' philosophy of "I know the key to success. You must work hard like I did, and that is how you will succeed." As a result, students who stuck to these philosophies of discipline tended in theory to be favored by teachers. Katsumura's primary objection lies in the notion that while this philosophy might work for dedicated and obedient children like the type that might become "honor students," not all children are, in fact, honor students. There exists a whole range of personalities; good, bad, and in the middle. His concern lies with the care and welfare of children considered "bad" or "in the middle," who may not receive the kind of care and attention that honor students would.

He also finds an uncomfortable similarity with MMA fighters who teach children and trumpet similar ideas about "discipline for children."  "Only a good-for-nothing can understand a good-for-nothing," Katsumura is quoted as saying. While he agrees that it is important to give children virtues such as "consideration for others," and for them to benefit from the physical conditioning that martial arts can provide, teaching martial arts to children can be dangerous, given its nature. Katsumura does not believe that he is a good candidate to be promoting similar lessons however, given his own past and understanding of children.

Katsumura claims that he wouldn't be able to continue running his gym if he started teaching children, primarily due to the fear that those he teaches could potentially use MMA techniques in brawls with their peers; the worst would be if he inadvertently taught a bully how to use MMA techniques. While he generally thinks that children are good, he understands that he cannot make that guarantee for every child, and that despite what problems a child may have, there is a possibility that Katsumura may never find out about them even if they are his students. Will his young students still be trustworthy once they are outside of the gym, beyond his guidance and supervision?

I acknowledge the fact that the teaching of martial arts is fraught with problems; it is understandably never an easy situation. The case of children in martial arts makes things much more difficult, as not every child can be expected to choose the moral and just way to act with such knowledge, nor can there be assurances that all children will learn these things from their teachers.

I imagine that most teachers watch their children in the hopes that they will improve their skills and that like school teachers, the ones that excel will receive the most attention. However, it must be remembered that teaching a child to know the difference between right and wrong and impressing upon them a sense of responsibility is just as important as learning martial arts techniques. Further, it is just as important to focus on children that are considered "underachievers"; overstressing "success" and "achievement" in martial arts is unimportant to Katsumura since he believes people should be able to make and learn from mistakes. He has those children in mind because they need equal attention.

This kind of education is also a long and difficult process, and martial arts teachers will have more difficulty teaching young students about responsibility over technique. This is how I feel in dealing with children even outside of the martial arts realm.

Katsumura does, however, teach wrestling to the children he has known during his time at the orphanage; all of whom he claims he can take better care of and responsibility for beyond the wrestling mat. However, he still refuses to teach them striking or grappling techniques. Of course, the children he teaches still have their problems, and admittedly, they still get into fights. Whenever problems arise, however, he meets with the parents and tries to resolve the troubles with these former orphans through discussion.

While I acknowledge that the most important thing in sports is determining who is the best, I'm often surprised by how many charming and wonderful people I meet in the fight scene despite how competitive that goal is. What troubles me is that fans tend to forget about these people when they lose, as if they are no longer relevant. This is the reason why I wanted to write and remind fans about someone like Katsumura. He is not only a talented fighter with a unique story, but he is also a socially responsible and charitable person that people should know about and never forget. He is an example that I think we should all strive to emulate.

I think that Tony did a great job in writing about these things that make Katsumura the person and athlete that he is. At the time, I even suggested to him that he should write about the idea that Katsumura "had become the real Tiger Mask," because of how his good works outside of the ring reflected those of the famous cartoon character. Tony smiled and said, "I know, and I already will."

In researching Katsumura, I was pleasantly surprised that Tony had the same ideas as I had, and that he came to the same conclusions. It is my hope that people read that article and not only enjoy it, but also understand what kind of person Katsumura is and why he is so important to our MMA community.

Further, if the story resonates with you and you can spare the expense, please continue to support the victims of the Tohoku quake and tsunami by donating to the Japanese Red Cross link below. Of course, it is what "the Real Tiger Mask" would do.

Japan/Earthquake Donation by Japanese Red Cross Society

Quotation Shuichiro Katsumura's official blog

Big thanks to Robert Sargent of and Chris Nelson and Tony Loiseleur of for their help in editing this piece.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Jessica "Jag" Aguilar interview

I recently got the opportunity to interview Jessica "Jag" Aguilar, who will be fighting Carla Esparza at Bellator 46. Here are my questions for her regarding her upcoming fight, her earthquake experience in Japan last March, and get some details on her lucky teddy bear, Forest.

- With your loss to Zoila, do you feel more apprehensive to let fights go to a decision? Tell me what you think about the current hot topic that "judges obviously fail sometimes."

Jessica: Of course--I never want to experience that type of judging situation again. Something is amiss when two judges watching the same fight score it 30-27 in opposite directions. In my case, I know I had a far greater strike count, delivered an extreme greater amount of physical damage, and literally had to chase her for 3 straight rounds as her game plan after getting hit hard repeatedly was to just backpedal all night. So yes, the end results were a major disappointment in the scoring system.

- Also, how did you score Zoila vs Megumi Fujii?

Jessica: I obviously watched this fight with great interest, and personally scored it 29 to 28 in favor of Megumi.

- Marcos “Parrumpinha” DaMatta is your trainer and I think he's helped you develop a fight style that values strong positions. Do you see yourself as part of a Gracie style of Jiujitsu that values dominant positions? Are there any particular positions you aim to use in fights?

Jessica: My ground game style is a bit different as it is a combination of Grappling and BJJ. I really do not aim for particular positions as much as I come in [to fights] well-prepared and always have solid game plans, then by way of executing [them] and reacting to any mistakes or opportunities my opponent gives me, I try to explode on it. My sole goal is to take care of business as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

- How has your striking game improved under Howard Davis Jr? People tend to view you more as grappler, but you outstruck Zoila.

Jessica: Yes - earning 4 gold medals in international competition for Team USA has earned me a strong grappling reputation. But to truly excel in MMA you need a well-rounded skill set. Hence starting a few years back I took advantage of every training and coaching opportunity I could with Howard Davis Jr, and in return earned his respect. He has invested a lot of time with me and truly took my standup game to new, incredible heights. Knowing that Zoila would want to avoid having me take her to the ground given that her main strength is her standup game, we decided that this is where I would take the fight to her as I am sure she would underestimate my boxing skills. One of my goals going into the Zoila fight was to clearly demonstrate that I have a stronger standup skill set than Zoila, given that she is regarded as one of the best standup fighters in the game today. I have heard your same comment from many MMA experts that my stand up skills were clearly superior that night. The good news is that since then, I have continued to work very hard at both my submissions and standup skills and they are vastly improved from just 1 year ago.

- You come to Japan for Jewels 12th Ring, but it was canceled due to the Earthquake. You were expected to face Ayaka Hamasaki, who has had a short career but has become Jewels' champ in that time. Is she still an opponent you'd like to face if there's another opportunity in the future? What are your thoughts on her? (Hamasaki said "I can't lose to a Valkyrie fighter because I want to fight you.")

Jessica: While Ayaka does not have the vast experience of, let's say a Megumi (as no one has that much experience), she clearly earned her Jewels championship, so I was incredibly excited about facing her. It is so hard to get quality fights, so when you have an opportunity like this, you jump on it. I was asked to come to Japan to fight her as a last-minute replacement and accepted without hesitation as I was just coming off 2 scheduled fights where [both] scheduled opponents decided near fight time that they did not want to face me for various reasons. So, I was in fighting shape, on-weight (as I am always) and jumped at the opportunity.

- You've had the unique and unforgettable experience of being in Japan during its March 11 earthquake.Tell me about your experiences in Japan. (Also, thank you for asking for tsunami relief donations at your official website.)

Jessica: The earthquake experience was just unreal, as no one can image that level of tragedy, of human loss, personal pain and suffering short of witnessing what was happening. And I was just a visitor, I cannot come close to imagining the pain those who personally suffered family losses must have experienced. I was also very impressed with how I was treated after the earthquake stuck, as total strangers on the streets helped me. Locals I met went to extraordinary lengths to help me a visitor return home. I was just so moved, and so emotionally touched. My heart still goes out to everyone that experienced loss due to this tragedy.

- You met Dream champ Shinya Aoki in Japan. Did you roll with him or watch him roll? If so, what's your impression of him?

Jessica: No such opportunity to roll with him, but my impression is that he has earned tremendous respect in Japan, and not just because of his fighting success, but because of the professional way he carries himself.

- I heard you have a teddy bear named Forest and that you bring him (or her) everywhere. Tell me about Forest and why he (or she) is your constant companion.

Jessica: I do not want to admit or sound superstitious, but when you have been through a lot of extremely tragic and just very difficult periods, it is important to seek out positive energy sources, just because they are positive and as such represent good feelings. I am sure that I have invested a lot of positive attributes and feelings into Forest over the years and when I want some extra positive private energy, I look to Forest; as the bank account of positive energies I have invested into over the years, and now want some of that back from time to time. Sort of like a sentimental photo or feelings that we all have some place in our lives, mine just happens to be a teddy bear named Forest!

- You will meet Carla Esparza at Bellator 46. You're both known for your grappling abilities, but you have striking finishes.What should we expect from this fight?

Jessica: I have a tremendous amount of respect for Carla, as she always shows up very well prepared and is an incredible fighter. You may think she does not have striking skills as good as her wrestling, but I have paid closer attention, and clearly remember her opening round against Megumi. She delivered more than a few very impressive strikes. I think this is going to be a great fight as MMA fans will get to see two very skilled fighters at their best, and I am sure we will both be extremely well prepared for each other.

- Give me a message for the fans, both the English speaking and in Japan, about your next fight.

Jessica: I cannot wait to be part of something special, to show how much women's MMA has progressed, an opportunity to show how much I have progressed, and hopefully to fuel more positive feelings for all those in Japan that look forward to the day we can have more mixed international completion at the highest levels. I promise to do right for women's MMA!!!!

Bellator 46 Jessica "Jag" Aguilar vs Carla Esparza

Jessica Aguilar Official Web

Big thanks to Tony Loiseleur (Sherdog) for English editing.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

BEST fight style at lighter weight?

MMA looks differ when weight class isn't same.But how?

MMA always looks different when the smaller weight classes are involved. But why?

Speed? Yes, but it's not only that.

This past New Year's Eve, there was an upset on the local Japanese scene. Pancrase bantamweight champion Manabu Inoue, one of the SRC Asia tournament favorites, lost to ZST's Shunichi Shimizu.

Manabu Inoue is known for his takedowns and immobilizing opponents, but Shimizu succeeded in sweeping, changing position and continuously attacking Inoue.

ZST, as an organization, has strongly and silently recommended and preached an aggressive style of chain-grappling to its fighters. Because it has rules that mostly prohibit ground-and-pound, ZST has developed a different type of fighters from other Japanese organizations. It doesn't work well for the upper weight classes, but think about Masanori Kanehara's run in Sengoku, or some of Masakazu Imanari's big wins; it's beneficial for lighter-weight fighters.

I'm not saying diversity of rules is always a good thing, but I can say that I enjoy fighters who developed under different rulesets.

In heavier-weight fights, position changes and sweeps are rare, because opponents are heavier, but also because there is less space to move arms, legs and bodies, which are more thickly muscles.

In this way, weight classes and body frames greatly impact fights. Sadly, there's less talk about these difference. People always talk about reach advantages, but how about the benefit of muscularity? We need to consider this kind of thing, too.

Recently, the smaller weights like featherweight and bantamweight have had two strong teams: one is Nova Uniao, the other is Team Alpha Male. The latter is known for scrambling and positional changes. Whether east or west, weight classes and rulesets continue to impact fights, and in many ways we often don't consider.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (write for Sherdog) for English and editing.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Breakdown of Morango vs Escudero at Tachi Palace Fights 9

I wrote about Efrain Escudero's knockout of Cole Miller on this blog. Read it if you haven't yet.

Breakdown of Escudero vs Miller at UFC 103

I recommend you watch Escudero-Miller, then watch Camoes-Escudero.

Fight Video of "Morango" Cameos vs Escudero by Sherdog

Escudero is waiting to counter Morango, and Morango notices it. So, he uses different strikes than Miller did. He uses hooks, compared to Miller's mostly straight punches. Why? It's harder to counter. It is harder to track the course of a hook. A cross is easier to watch and recognize once you recognize the distance.

Morango notices that when he strikes, Escudero aims to counter, so he went with hook combinations, clinched up, or stepped back after his strikes to end the exchange.

Morango was very aware of Escudero's game in other ways. He also forced clinches and went for takedowns early on, having success with both, as Escudero was so focused on counterpunching he couldn't respond. Escudero was always looking to counter, whereas Morango used punches to set up his takedowns. That made Escudero think about what Morango was doing, and slowed down his own attack.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (write for Sherdog) for English and editing.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Sneak Peek into the Kick Boxing gym with Mr Luis Giraldo

I got many mail for my SKILL MMA's mail address.I basically return mail if it's decent mail and not advertise.

I got mail from Mr Luis Giraldo who is Colombian American.He said he want train at Japanese Kick Boxing gym and want help to book it.

I book gym for him and guide him.(Of course I get paid from him for works)

He really get treat well at Silver Wolf and Shooto Boxing headquarter, Caesar Gym.

Let's watch interior of those gym and how he get teach personal from professional fighter.

Silver Wolf

Silver Wolf

K-1 fighter Yasuhito Shirasu and Luis Giraldo

Shooto Boxing Head Quarter "Caesar Gym"

Shooto Boxing Head Quarter "Caesar Gym"

Shooto Boxing Head Quarter "Caesar Gym"

Shooto Boxer Hiroki Shishido and Luis Giraldo

Shooto Boxer Hiroki Shishido and Luis Giraldo

Shooto Boxer Hiroki Shishido and Luis Giraldo

Shooto Boxer Hiroki Shishido and Luis Giraldo

For reference.

Luis paid 6000 yen for 1 hour personal training at Silver Wolf also he paid 2000 yen for 1day train at Shooto Boxing headquarter.Also he bought some merchandise.

Japan had hard time now.But I think it will be safer and foreign people will come back as sightseeing in near future.If you really interest at train at Japan.You can mail me.I can't guide by free but I research all kind of gyms and event at Japan.So I think I'm best person for it.

Big Thanks to Luis Giraldo, his Diana, Hiroki Shishido and Yasuhito Shirasu for cooperate.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Supplement to the Shooto Article "Inside Shooto's Scandal, Legacy and Future"

"Inside Shooto's Scandal, Legacy and Future"

I helped Tony Loiseleur put this article together. It was praised by one of its sources, Noboru Asahi himself, on his blog.

I believe it is the best Japanese MMA article by a non-Japanese writer so far. It was detailed, timely, and had multi-dimensional perspective on Shooto's current situation and the Shooto community's fight for transparency.

Personally, I support transparency in organizations like Shooto, but before explaining why, I would first like to share the perspective of people on Taro Wakabayashi's side of the situation as a supplement to the article.

His brother, jiu-jitsu competitor Jiro Wakabayashi, said, "At least my brother has no cause to receive blame, but rather only suspicion. He worked so hard [for Shooto] and got a stroke because of it, but he doesn't seem any richer for it. 'What are the Shooto Association people doing?' I thought.

"Given [Taro's] personality, I think that he is someone who cannot work less, even if there's a chance it will make him ill. In a way, it's nice to have this type of problem.

"But I say to those who speak critically of him that you must acknowledge how strong my brother's work ethic is."

I read what many of Wakayabayashi's relatives thought on the Web, but this much aggression only seems to come from his brother Jiro. There is also support for him within the Paraestra group, of course, where Wakabayashi has a long history with the gyms and his gym mates.

Returning to the Shooto situation, however, it isn't good when one person receives absolute responsibility and power, according to Asahi. Asahi wants a more systematic approach to Shooto as well as an even distribution of responsibility and work amongst its community.

I personally believe this is the right step, but now is the time where he must back up his critiques. For example, amateur Shooto in Kyushu has recently received a bad reputation when it comes to organizing and running events. Given Asahi's proposals, however, even if the work is redistributed amongst the community there, poorly managed events can still happen. With Wakabayashi now removed, though, the structure of the system itself can be changed. An example of a viable plan would be to widen the lines of communication between the Shooto Association and local Shooto communities in regions like Kyushu; allowing the Association the ability to observe and offer suggestions and assistance in executing events. Since amateur Shooto in Kyushu has already failed when only one person controlled things, the Shooto community needs to think of new ways to manage regional operations beyond just redistributing the work amongst separate people.

On a related note, the media cannot run a promotion, so they sometimes feel unfairly ridiculed when they receive blame from promotions for reporting bad news. Sometimes, the media is responsible for unreasonable hysteria, however. Take the sensationalized international coverage of the Fukushima Nuclear reactors, for example. However, this does not mean that promoters and fighters can or should refuse to talk to the media.

Being transparent has more value than just doing publicity with the MMA media. I don't think every single figure and organization needs to be 100-percent open, but answering questions from relatives and the general public is critical.

For the sake of fairness, the media needs to improve their approach to covering and reporting, too; particularly in the MMA media. Rather than simply focusing on the reporting of bad news, the media should be active in covering events and people in MMA that elevate the sport and its community, as well as proposing and promoting ideas to that same end. In the past, the focus of the media on reporting "the sky is falling"-type news has generated tension between them and many MMA organizations. In Japan, it is difficult to maintain steady and open relationships with this kind of tension between parties, but openness is absolutely necessary if our society is to be elevated to a new level of understanding and cooperation.

Articles on SKILL MMA use a lot of book research, many of which you can see via my LibraryThing link. This kind of research is integral when you can't draw conclusions or make a sound judgment in a particular situation. In these instances, you need to examine and judge the sources of information behind the situation. There is no need to feel shame by having no knowledge. Nobody can come up with competent conclusions if they are not adequately informed first. After forming a conclusion or judgment, you will be tested and evaluated based on what source of information you have chosen. The most important determining factor in what you believe should depend on science or fact. You know that water will boil at 100-degrees centigrade. That's something that cannot be changed by emotion, blind faith, or superstition.

I believe that you can get the same kind of information from what official organizations can provide as information as well, but only if they believe in ideals such as cooperation and transparency.

Full disclosure of information along with transparency will elevate all of us, and bring us to a point where we can have a fresh start.

Big thanks to Robert Sargent (editor of and Tony Loiseleur (Sherdog) for English editing.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Let's get physical

Top Japanese talent continues to struggle fighting in the United States, except one.

Yushin Okami: why has he succeeded where others have not?

I think there are several reasons that Okami has had this kind of success, but I want to focus on one thing: quite simply, too many Japanese fighters overlook the physical aspect of the game.

I think there's a cultural difference between Japanese and western athletes, but there's also genetic differences. Take for example, Jon Entine's "Taboo: Why Black Athletes Dominate Sports and Why We're Afraid to Talk About It" as just one work that explains the difference across race when it comes to sports and potential success.

Okami is known for his power. When you watch his fights, you can hear his opponents tell their corners between rounds that he's too strong to handle. It's not surprising that Okami has focused on his physical strength, employing strength coach Yuya Igarashi since he was 26. It's rare for a young Japanese fighter to start emphasizing physical training so early on.

Okami doesn't believe Japanese are genetically weak, saying that the Japanese can compete in sports like powerlifting at the world level. However, there are many fighters who feel that way. I don't want to say that Okami is winning only because of strength and conditioning -- that's not it -- but I want to get rid of Japanese fighters making excuses about not being able to physically excel.

"Japanese fighters should try to evolve their skills; we don't have the genetics to get better physically." These thoughts are rampant in Japanese MMA. Many fighters try to compensate by overtraining. For example, former Deep champion and Pride veteran Nobuhiro Obiya took a year off after losing to Kazunori Yokota. He'd essentially overtraining and hurt his back. He needed the time off to heal his cervical vertebrae.

There are physical trainers for MMA purposes in Japan, but compared to the U.S., they're still far behind in terms of knowledge. MMA fighters need to physically experiment with their bodies and learn what works best, but they lack the knowledge. For example, many fighters still feel it's a risk to try to cut weight, fearing adverse effects or injury. As a result, there are still tons of Japanese fighters fighting in the wrong weight class even at the highest level.

This is the severe truth. If Japanese MMA doesn't correct it, fighters will face the savage results. However, there is hope. If somehow, Yushin Okami could earn a major title, it would be a huge statement about what's possible for Japanese fighters and how to achieve it.

Big thanks to Jordan Breen (write for Sherdog) for English and editing.