On December 26th, Ken Kaneko held a public training session at the Takeshiba PRIDE Dojo, in Tokyo, just 5 days before his debut fight. His opponent will be Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett at the December 31st PRIDE SHOCKWAVE 2005, to be held at Saitama Super Arena. Masakazu Imanari, nicknamed " 0th degree in leg locks" was on hand to teach Kaneko his secret techniques.
The public training session started with one minute of shadow boxing. Kaneko, a southpaw, started with one-twos, then added right hooks and knee kicks with his long legs. Then Kaneko sparred with his special coach for the day, the " 0th degree in leg locks" Masakazu Imanari.
Kaneko went for a tackle but fell back into a closed guard. When Imanari tried to get a leg-lock, Kaneko was able to get the top position again but he was reversed with an omo-plata. After giving up back and side position and several near misses with leg locks from Imanari, the session ended. Kaneko was able to continuously move for the full 5 minutes, defending himself against Imanari, a master grappler. Next, Kaneko practiced jabs, straights and knees for one minute on a kicking pad.
Finally, Imanari taught Kaneko a "Secret strategy." The technique is to be used when someone has gained mount position over you. Using your legs like scissors, you wrap your legs around your opponent's body, then pulling yourself through your opponent's legs. From there you can apply an achilles ankle lock. "If you can do this, you're about a 3rd degree in leg locks, so do your best," Imanari explained. " Bennett) is a physically strong fighter, so I expect that I may be in that position," Kaneko replied, apparently training with the worst in mind. "That's what I'm focusing on the most."
As defense against a striker, Kaneko said that he plans on bringing Bennett to the ground, "I want to make him grapple, which is my base. That's what I'm training for. I'm training as hard as possible, and I hope to see results from that training." Public Relations Director, Shigeru Saeki, explained that he asked for Imanari to help today because he is physically similar to Bennett.
"I'm very nervous (about the public training session). I'm much more tired than normal," Kaneko said. "Even if just by 1%, I want to increase my chances of winning the fight. I've still got 5 days so I will aim for that 1%. I'm more nervous than anything right now. It's not good to be nervous all the time though, so I will take care of my mental side in preparation for the fight. I want to make today the last day that I worried. I will motivate myself."
"I don't know what his weak points are but there are holes. I can't say what they are," Kaneko said after watching a video of Bennett. "I'm doing everything that I can, just as my teacher has instructed me from the beginning. The only thing left is to see how far I can go in the fight."
"There's no way to know until you fight. Some fighters are stronger in the fight (than in training). If he can use what he's learned in training, we can expect good things from him," Saeki said of Kaneko.
"He's got long legs and I think his body shape is suited for grappling. That achilles ankle lock will be effective on Bennett," Imanari added. "You can't tell his real strength just by today's practice. Maybe he should just lay down from the start." Asked if he had taught any other techniques, Imanari replied, "It's a secret. If he can get it, he can win, though."
Yoshinori Oniki, Imanari's sparring partner and today's mitt holder, added, "If you give it everything you've got, you'll get good results. Don't get caught up in the atmosphere of the arena." At the end of the session, Kaneko laughed and swore to do his best.