Having recently been invited to train at the RJW (Real Japan Wrestling) branch of Wajutsu Keishukai (WK) where there are some notable fighters, including Yushin Okami who has been fighting in the UFC, it was too good an offer to miss. I had trained at the Wajutsu Keishukai main gym in Ochanomizu back in 2002 but the lack of large (light heavyweight or heavyweight) training partners put me off. Now there are quite a few taller, heavier, and stronger fighters there.
WK has always been known to produce top quality fighters, including Caol Uno, and has a sturdy reputation for its high class grappling/submission emphasis. Although Caol Uno has left the camp, this is still the case, and that combined with a strong training ethic and increased striking training, the sessions there are great for MMA.
The pro training sessions vary slightly from week to week but so far the average format is something like this:
- Warm up – a run around the gym with side steps, sprints, double legs shoots etc.
- 1X5-minute round of shadow (kick)boxing
- 1X5-minute round of tackle drills (打ち込み)
- 6X5-minute rounds of MMA sparring with headgear, shin pads and full-size boxing/kickboxing gloves. Emphasis on striking but takedowns/ground£ allowed
- 4X5-minute rounds of sparring with open-finger gloves from the double and single-leg takedown positions against the wall, switching roles at the 2:30 mark
- 2X5minute rounds of sparring from the Greco-Roman clinch position
- 3X5-minute rounds of submission wrestling/ne waza sparring from the guard, side, and mount position start, switching roles at the 2:30 mark
Okami keeps the flow of the session moving and encourages everyone. There are bloody noses and the occasional injury, as to be expected, but the fighters are very respectful of one another. After such a heavy training session I was most pleased to sit down with the guys and eat a platter of pre-cut fruit!
MMA-in Japan.com will be bringing some video, photos and interviews straight from the gym very soon. In the meanwhile, we would like to wish Yushin Okami, along with Takanori Gomi and Caol Uno, good luck in UFC Fight Night on March 31st, 2010.