KAZUO MISAKI INTERVIEW
03/27/2006

Kazuo Misaki held a public training session at the GRABAKA gym on March 23rd. Misaki will take on PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Champion Dan Henderson on April 2nd at PRIDE BUSHIDO 10, to be held at Tokyo's Ariake Coliseum.

"I'm the same as always; not good and not bad," Misaki answered when asked about his conditioning the upcoming fight. Describing yourself as "not good and not bad" before a fight with Henderson, the Grand Prix Champion, leaves a feeling of uneasiness. "If my condition is like it always is, I will be fine. If I just live my normal life and fight like normal, it will be fine," Misaki said. "I live naturally so I never really feel that I'm about to have a fight. It feels like always." Although Misaki's words don't seem like something that would come from someone with an upcoming fight, it's not an issue of motivation. Why does Misaki continue to create uneasiness in those around him, though?

"For me, my entire life was about martial arts," Misaki explained his past. "I couldn't think about anything except martial arts. I trained morning, noon and night. My life was waking up in the morning at 8:00, training and coming home around midnight. Before my fights, I would have my blood checked, in addition to the pre-fight blood tests. I was eating well and taking supplements but looking at the numbers from my blood work, it was clear that I wasn't getting enough nutrition. In fact, I was over-working myself before the fights. I would also make myself nervous. When a fight was confirmed, I'd begin training for the fight. My life and my food was stoic. I was creating this nervousness in my mind and when I climbed into the ring, I couldn't fight like usual."

Misaki said that he felt like he couldn't continue to train in the same way. Misaki was in the worst possible condition for his fight against Daniel Acacio in July 2005, both overworked and suffering from a cold. "I thought that I had to keep training and never rest, even if I caught a cold. So, I continued training and as a result, my body was in horrible condition. Of course, I don't think the results would have been any different even if I had been in perfect condition. I just thought that what I need to do is start being my normal self."

According to Misaki, his way of thinking and his fighting style have changed since he began approaching 30. "Martial arts is just one thing in life," Misaki now says. "Now I'm able to see the big picture, with things other than martial arts." Misaki said that he's now able to switch into an intensive training mentality when needs to, and then switch it back off when he doesn't. The results of his new attitude showed in his fight against Akira Shoji in DEEP in February of this year. "I was in great mental and physical condition, better than ever before," Misaki said of his bout with Shoji, which he won by front-choke at 2 minutes and 32 seconds of the 1st round.


 

 

"I will just make sure I'm in good condition and when I look across the ring at my opponent, my body will move on it's own. If I can stay in good condition and be calm when get into the ring, I will be fine," Misaki continued, emphasizing his theme of "being his ordinary self." He's confident that if he can accomplish that, he can beat Henderson.

In today's training session, Eiji Ishikawa served as Misaki's training partner as Misaki gave an unusual display of submissions from the bottom position. Beginning with an arm-bar from the guard, Misaki also performed omo-platas, sweeps, reverses from the half-guard and several attacks. "Henderson is mainly a striker and he was bested by ground techniques in the fights that he lost, so I want to make a good combination of striking and grappling. Henderson's also good at wrestling. If we fight standing and then he decides to take me down when we get tired, I'll be in trouble. So, I've been training fully expecting to be on the bottom. That's fine. I don't usually show them in my fights but I always train to attack from the bottom and I get a lot of submissions. I believe I have a chance, even if I'm on the bottom. I'd like to submit him." Misaki continued, revealing that he already has a game plan, "I know he's got a strong right (punch) so how can I stop his right? I've watched his videos and I've come up with a strategy."

"No one is guaranteed a win, even if you're a Champion. It'll be a fight between 2 humans so no one knows what will happen. Some fights end with surprise endings in the last few seconds. Either of us can win. I think that if I fight naturally, I will win and I believe it will be a great fight."