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JMMA Updates (3/11)

Our thoughts go out to all those in Japan who are affect by the Earthquake/Tsunami

As previously reported here at LiverKick, Japanese discount chain Don Quijote ended their sponsorship of Sengoku. This could very well mark the end of Japan's second largest MMA promotion. They may still run scaled-down shows but the future doesn't look good. However, Don Quijote will continue to support Pancrase (as they are a controlling partner) and Shooto.

Former Pride Fighting Championship Execs Nobuyuki Sakakibara and Hiroyuki Kato's Japan Cup Bantamweight Grand Prix is rumored to begin April 18th. The winner will reportedly move on to compete in DREAM’s world bantamweight tournament.

Popular Japanese MMA and Pro-Wrestling magazine Kamipro will cease operations.

DEEP announced a bunch of additions to their 4/22 DEEP IMPACT 53 show. The big name added is Eiji Mitsuoka (16-7-2), who'll make his return to DEEP for the first time since July of 2003. Yoshido Dojo fighter Tatsumitsu Wada (4-6-1) will face Mach Dojo's Yoshiki Harada (4-0). Former DEEP Welterweight champ Hidehiko Hasegawa (18-14-6), Yasuaki Kishimoto (13-2-3), Seichi Ikemoto (19-17-5), Yasushi Kitazaki (11-7-1), and undefeated DEEP Future King Yutaka Ueda (6-0) will all participate.

Tony Loiseleur from Sherdog published a fascinating article on Shooto. A very interesting read. Inside Shooto’s Scandal, Legacy and Future.

Valkyrie Featherweight Champion Mei "V.V" Yamaguchi (6-2-1) vs. WINDY Tomomi (16-12-1) has been added to the Pancrase 4/3 show.

Of course, the Jewels, Pancrase and Shooto shows scheduled for this weekend have all been postponed due to the situation in Japan.

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Trailer for It's Showtime March 26

Who said that this month was over yet? It is just beginning. First, on the 19th we have the Ultimate Glory tournament second round, featuring Gokhan Saki vs. Wendell Roche, then on the 26th It's Showtime puts on not only their second show of the year, but their second show of the month. You can't joke about something like that.

This show doesn't feature as big of names as last week's show did, but the March 26th show is solid by any definition, featuring a lot of up and coming fighters that we'll all be talking about in a few years time in the same breath as the greats if everything pans out. As always, this show will be available on http://www.showtimefights.com for 10 Euro.

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Training Diary: March 10

As 2011 started, I embarked on a new personal mission - to train Muay Thai.  It's been a personal goal of mine for some time now, and with the site taking off and more of my time committed to writing about the world of kickboxing and Muay Thai, I figured there was no time like the present.  And so I've found my gym, signed up for classes, and I am on my way.  But I'm still a writer, so, as I train, I'll present some thoughts on my experiences here.  I don't mean this to be a definitive tale of Muay Thai training - far from it.  I know there are many regulars here who have far (FAR) more experience than me.  But I'm sure there are also some who have not yet taken that plunge.  So perhaps this little online diary will provide a glimpse into learning more about Muay Thai and kickboxing the best way you can - by getting out there and doing it.  And if you're on the fence about taking classes yourself, maybe I can help nudge you into that local gym.

As I prepared for classes the first step was obvious - I needed a gym.  On the plus side for me, I live in Chicago, and as a major metropolitan area, there's no shortage of gyms around.  After hunting around a bit online and in the city, I opted for Conviction Fitness - a newer gym with an ever expanding martial arts program and a friendly, locally owned kind of vibe.  It's the kind of place where, if you are trying to buy a drink but realize you're short a dollar (and I was) the owner just waves a hand and says "Get us back next time."  It's the little touches.

Of course, I'm not here for the drinks or the vibe - I'm here for the training.  And so far, that training is working.  One month in, and to date I've worked on kicks, punches and knees.  No elbows.  Yet.  A few random observations so far:

-Our instructor, Andre Madiz, is vigilant about keeping your hands tight to your chin and your elbows tucked to protect your ribs.  This is a constant point for him. As a result, I've noticed that, quite frankly, a lot of professional fighters suck at this.  It's amazing how often fighters fail to get their guard up, and how often they pay for it.  You see this more in K-1 style kickboxing than in Muay Thai, but there is a trend to give up on your defensive posture when you start throwing more punches - a move that often costs you the fight.

-The front kick is a criminally underutilized technique.  Particularly in MMA, I can't think of more than a handful of fighters who consistently use this strike effectively (Josh Thomson comes to mind as an excellent front kick practitioner).  MMA enthusiasts - any thoughts on why this is?

-While checking out the front kick online I came across this gem on Wikipedia: "The modern incarnation of the front kick was perfected by Steven Seagal, who was taught a primitive version circa 1970 in Japan. The exact date is unknown. He secretly developed the technique over several decades before teaching it to UFC Middleweight champion Anderson 'The Spider' Silva".  Wow.

-My conditioning is not bad (which is a surprise to me) but my technique so far is... lacking.  If I could have a fight with nothing but right front kicks and superman punches, I'd be fine.  But until I can get someone to agree to these rules, I'm in trouble.

-Things to work on: left kicks, inside kicks, throwing multiple knees.

Next time, the hunt is on for some quality, but affordable gear.  Until then, I'd love to hear any experiences you have in training.  Let's share and get the discussion going.

 

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Akihiro Gono; The Kickboxer

gonokickAkihiro Gono held a public practice today as he trains at the Saenchai Muay-Thai Gym in preparation for his upcoming March 19th Krush match against K-1's Yuya Yamamoto.

Don't think that the longtime staple of Japanese MMA is totally out of his element when it comes to kickboxing, he is a former All-Japan Kickboxing Heavyweight champion.

Last year in MMA, Gono defeated Sweden's Diego Gonzalez at Sengoku 12 and and then dropped down to Lightweight for Sengoku 14 only to lose to former K-1 veteran and SRC training player Jadamba Narantungalag.

It'll be fun to see Gono return to kickboxing, the question is can he hang in with the much more experienced Yamamoto? Either way this is great exposure for the Krush promotion as they continue to roll out quality events.

 

Here's the video of Akihiro Gono's AJKF Heavyweight title fight against Kazushi Nishida.

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