Here is the continuation of my annual "Gym Sneak Peek" series. This time, the personal trainer is Katsunori Kikuno, an Okinawan Kenpo Karate fighter who currently competes for the UFC.
Of course, some of his fans might ask, "Isn't he a Kyokushin Karate fighter?" Kikuno tries to maximize his striking damage like the "Ichigeki" philosophy does now, which involves new karate, but Okinawa is where karate evolved and he learned from the oldest karate style.
Yamashiro teaching his karate with Kikuno
Kikuno was taught new tsuki (strikes) by Yoshitomo Yamashiro, who is an Okinawan Kenpo Karate master. Kikuno's KO victories against Luiz Andrade I and Takafumi Ito were both created by his new tsuki.
Kikuno taught my customer in a very friendly manner and he explained the details of his strikes. He demonstrated what he has done recently, but also taught his trademark crescent kick as well.
If you're a traditional martial arts fan, nothing is more fun than learning from Kikuno, who tries to adapt ancient skills to modern combat sports. He has not shown his tsuki KOs in the UFC yet, but I am one who enjoys something different in MMA and I'm waiting for that moment.
Learning from Kikuno costs 10,000 yen per hour. He requires a translator for teaching since explaining karate techniques in English can be quite difficult.
Big thanks to Katsunori Kikuno and my anonymous customer. Also big thanks to Robert Sargent (MMA Rising) for English editing.