CHONAN TRAINS WITH DAN HENDERSON
06/04/2006

Ryo Chonan ventured to America to train under Dan Henderson at the end of last year before the Welterweight Grand Prix. This time, Chonan went back to Henderson's gym to train for about a month, and also trained with Bas Rutten and Eddie Bravo, making the most of the days leading up to the Grand Prix.

Dan Henderson's gym hadn't been completed during Chonan's previous trip, leading them to borrow a local High School gym for most of their training. This time though, Henderson's gym was open and Chonan had a better environment to train in. While primarily training at Dan Henderson's gym in California, Chonan also traveled to train at the Oregon branch of Team Quest, represented by Matt Lindland, and Bass Rutten's gym.
Chonan also worked on his ground skills with PRIDE veteran and 2003 ADCC Champion Dean Lister, and with the man who caused a revolution in the grappling world with his rubber guard and the "twister", Eddie Bravo. Chonan's training included a well-balanced mix of MMA, striking and grappling, including learning kickboxing from a former World Champion.
A distinctive feature of training at Team Quest is for the member with an upcoming fight to spar consecutively with several other members. "Each sparring session lasts about 20 minutes and they carry on without any breaks," Chonan said of their extremely hard training. "Even in Japan we have short intervals and concentrate the sparring on one person but there training style (at Team Quest) is much more difficult." Chonan's training partner, Brian Foster, has fought Chonan's Opening Round opponent, Joey Villasenor, before and helped Chonan create a strategy for Villasenor.
Between training sessions, Chonan was able to ride a horse for the first time in his life at Dan Henderson's house and went to watch a major league baseball game with Henderson. On their off days, they went rock climbing in the Joshua Tree National Park and Chonan was able to safely complete some of the advanced climbing courses. According to Chonan, that "day off" turned into a hard day and an intensive work out. Even outside of training, Chonan was apparently using his time effectively.
"Before I came to America, all I thought of from morning until night was the fight and was just barely living my life," Chonan said of his first trip to train in America. "Even just before a fight, Dan leads his normal life, training hard but calmly. I learned the difference between hard training and wasteful training, and that even if you are training hard, you still have to take time off for other things." The greatest thing that Chonan learned was not just about training, but an entire approach to competitive martial arts. Apparently, Chonan grew not only technically, but also mentally in his trip to train in America.