On December 13, at a batting center in Shibuya, Tokyo, Ikuhisa Minowa went wild once again, showing off more of his unprecedented training methods! Minowa said that he would set off an explosion at the December 31 st PRIDE 2005 SHOCKWAVE, to be held at Saitama Super Arena.
Minowa quickly entered the batter's box as soon as he arrived at the batting center. Minowa was in his own world as he swung at the oncoming balls, sometimes hitting and sometimes missing. One might wonder what kind of training this could possibly be but after Minowa had his fill of batting practice, he threw away his bat, faced off against the pitching machine and struck a fighting pose.
Despite calls for him to stop from the gathered reporters, Minowa continued to twist his body, narrowly avoiding the oncoming baseballs. This is Minowa-style training! Once Minowa had dodged about 50 balls, he picked up a baseball at his feet and threw it back at the pitching machine. Minowa didn't end his training until he had thrown all of the balls back.
"I saw this in a comic book and I wanted to try it," Minowa explained that he recently began this special training. 'Once I tried it, it was really hard to wait until the last moment and then dodge the baseballs. I was nervous but I think it was good training."
"When I was just able to escape, I could hear the ball flying by my ear," Minowa said with a smile. "I'm still not good enough yet, though. I'm still nervous. Today I just did it at the slowest speed, 80 km/hr, but I want to be able to easily dodge them at 130 km/hr."
In truth, Minowa has never really even played catch with a baseball. The reason is, Minowa explained, "I've never thrown a baseball or hit one so I wanted to try it. I'm not good at ball-sports, so I didn't like baseball and soccer. I wasn't really interested in those sports. Since I was an elementary student I've always wondered why you have to hit the ball and then run to first base."
"I just wanted to try to hit the ball," Minowa said about starting this kind of special training. "It really hurt when I was hit in the chest. Today I caught some with my hand and that hurt... I thought about quitting after a few balls."
Of course, the batting center hadn't given him permission, Minowa explained; "I did it (in the beginning) when the employees weren't looking. I would pretend to swing the bat. It only costs 500 yen for 50 balls." Normally, Minowa goes to the local batting center to do his "Supplemental training" after he finishes training near the Tamagawa River.
According to Minowa, this unique training method improves his concentration. "You learn to concentrate and see your opponent's movements. It looks like I'm just goofing off but the balls fly in at different heights and if you don't concentrate, it's dangerous. So, my concentration when I face off against an opponent in the dojo has improved since I started this training."
He looks like he was ripped directly from a comic book but Minowa is dead serious. "I'm going to continue this even after the New Year's Eve event is over. There is only one thing I want to do and this will help me do it. I do a lot of mysterious training, like jabbing with sticks, but everything I'm doing now is to help me (achieve that goal)," Minowa explained, further deepening the mystery surrounding his 'goal'. "Just wait a little more. When I've completed it, I should be able to show you something fantastic. I want you to wait until then."
"It's the same every year so I'll just wait without getting nervous or surprised," Minowa replied casually when asked about his still undecided New Year's Eve opponent. "As for myself, I want to destroy the... not illusion... the standard? The standard! I want to destroy the weight-difference standard around me, so I want to fight a big guy with a weight difference. I've fought small guys and guys about the same as me until now. I think it's about time to show that weight differences don't matter because you can beat a bigger guy using skill and heart. I want to show everyone that Japanese fighters are strong, even against bigger opponents, on New Year's Eve."
Minowa requested to be in the 1 st match of the night, as he did last year. "If you're going to fight, the best spots are in the 1 st match and the main event. I'm not good enough for the main event yet so in the meantime, I want everyone to watch me in the 1 st match as I light the fuse on the New Year's Eve explosion."
Minowa's theme for this event is "Explosion~The Last Challenge of My Twenties." "I've been fighting with 'Spring Wind', 'Go to Summer', 'hot Wind' and 'Tailwind Dash' but this time I'm going to set off an explosion. It might be an explosive victory or it might be an explosion of laughter," Minowa explained. "I'm going to bring an explosive wind. At the peak of the fight, I want everyone to be explosively excited and afterwards, be explosively moved. I wrote about 10 more explosive words on a piece of paper but I forgot to bring it. I will turn 30 on January 12 th , so this is the last challenge of my twenties, because this will be my last fight while I'm in my twenties. The last challenge of my twenties goes on everyday inside of me but I want to set off an explosion on New Year's Eve in the last fight of my twenties."
"Dodging baseballs feels great. Your body and the ball become one. It feels like I'm controlling the ball. For a second, I think it's heaven but it's not really heaven. New Year's Even will be heaven."
Finally, Minowa gave a message to the fans, "I want you to feel heaven from my fight. You'll understand when you watch but I want it to be so real that it's dangerous. I want you to feel like you are in the fight. Everyone is the star. As an angle, my opponent and I will be facing off, but I want everyone to watch as if they are watching themselves. If you watch like that, you'll see heaven. The fight is super heaven. I think if I win, you will feel like Ultra-Man. I've only felt it for short moments but I want the fans to feel it, too."