Global Training Report
no Puroresu No. 32
November 25, 2000
Translated by Yoko Kondo
Q: It is being rumored
lately that Ogawa might fight with Rickson. If it happens, that will
bother you, wonft it?
Sakuraba: No, not at
Sakuraba: Anyone who
wants to fight Rickson is welcome to do it. It doesn't matter to me at
Q: Rickson is
over 40 years old.
Sakuraba: I donft
know if I feel like fighting with a fighter in his thirties like Ogawa
when I get to be around forty years old. I always have the same
comment on this topic. I want to fight Rickson if I have a chance. It is
OK with me too not to fight with him, if there is no chance.
Q: Do you mean you have
no interest in fighting Rickson?
Sakuraba: No, I donft
mean that. But I want to fight with Renzo or Royce one more time. I
heard that Rickson will fight with me depending on the conditions. If
everything is arranged properly, I want to fight with him too.
Q: I see.
Sakuraba: But it is not
my compelling wish, because there are many fighters who I have never
fought with yet.
Q: Interviews and
articles regarding Rickson are everywhere, so I donft have to ask you
any questions about him, in fact (laughing). I donft want to ask you
the same questions, but I have to (laughing).
Sakuraba: Even general
magazines ask me about Rickson.
Q: Well, it is an easy
topic to write an article about.
Sakuraba: What I mean
is always the same, even if I express it differently. Enough is enough.
Q: And regarding a
fight with Ryan whose name was coming up as your opponent in Pride 11, I
heard that you said, gnot now, laterh.
Q: What did you really
mean by that?
continuously fighting the Gracies doesnft seem interesting. Spectators
will be tired of it. If the Gracies are finished, everything will be
finished. So it is better to prolong it a little further (laughing).
Q: I see. You said in
your comment that you donft want to fight with such a dangerous man
like him. But it is not a reason for it, isnft it?
Sakuraba: Yes, any
reason is OK to me (laughing).
Q: What is that?
Sakuraba: Whatever the
reason is, I donft want to fight with him now (laughing).
Q: I am sorry to ask
you about Rickson again, but I have one question I really wanted to ask
you. Takada said after the fight between Funaki and Rickson that he
wanted Funaki to win as an Japanese, but he felt partly relieved
that Funaki didn't win, because he wanted Sakuraba to defeat Rickson.
How do you think about it?
Sakuraba: I am glad to
hear that. I might do it if I can get 150,000,000 yen or
200,000,000 yen too (laughing) [translatorfs note: thatfs about $1.5
million or $2 million].
Q: But, I think it will
bother you if someone else defeats Rickson first.
Sakuraba: But I will
never say so. If I say that, it will cause trouble. I donft like such
a thing personally (smiling).
Q: You donft
want to get involved in any trouble (laughing).
Sakuraba: If it
happens, I will run away (laughing).
Q: Newspapers and
magazines make stories in their own way, and they connect one story with
another as long as we leave them to do it (laughing).
Sakuraba: I donft
remember which newspaper it was, but it quoted me as saying gCome on
Rickson!h I never said that (pouting). I am getting sick of it this
kind of thing. I really run away (laughing). If a reporter who I don't
like comes around, I immediately escape out the back door on my bicycle
(laughing). Donft get close to something you donft like!
Q: It is necessary to
react to your opponent just like you do in the ring (laughing). By the
way, Takada will fight with Vovchanchyn in Pride 11. What do you think
will be the outcome?
Sakuraba: I donf t
Q: Yes, but any wish
Sakuraba: I want him to
do his best, because we are training together.
Sakuraba: Now he is
training with Satake very hard, so he will do well.
Satake is a stand-up fighter with years of K-1 experience, similar in
style to Vovchanchyn, but less dangerous.]
Q: You fought with
Vovchanchyn one time before. Did Takada ask you for an advice against
Sakuraba: Yes, he did.
He asked me how I got a tackle. Now he is training tackles the way I
did. Besides, his training partner is Satake.
Q: Satake is an
imaginary Vovchanchyn, isnft he? What do you think is the most
fearful point of Vovchanchyn?
Sakuraba: Itfs that
punch. But itfs not invincible. There are many strong parts in him,
but I discovered his weak point too in the fight with him.
Q: What is it?
Sakuraba: He escaped
from the tackle of Kerr, but he couldnft get out of my tackle. Then I
thought that he might be weak at this kind of tackle.
Q: Do you mean a
Sakuraba: Yes. In
Kerrfs case, he takes tackles straight from the front by power.
the interviewer began the next question by remarking that Vovchanchyn
seems to be skillful at gaburi, which refers to an action of
picking something up and throwing it away to the side. Mr. Sakuraba had
Q: Well, letfs
go back to the original subject. It is common to say, gI want to
winh before a fight, but you always say, "I donft know
until itfs finished". I think, however, that I detect behind your
words the strong feeling that you donft want to lose (laughing).
Sakuraba: Of course.
But sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
Q: Every time I watch
your fight, I think you are very unyielding (laughing).
Sakuraba: If I am
attacked, I will retaliate by all means (laughing).
Q: I think you are the
most unyielding fighter in Japan with such a poker face (laughing). It
happens in general that emotionally expressive fighters are easily
withered by one attack.
Sakuraba: Yes, itfs
true. It is because of differences in capacity of patience. An
emotionally expressive fighter often loses his composure quickly and
blows up. But it takes a lot to make
a poker faced fighter like me to lose his patience, and blow up
Q: Looking back on your
words before the fight with Renzo, saying that you had no motivation for
the fight, I feel somehow deceived (laughing).
Sakuraba: No, it was
true (Sakuraba states firmly). I didnft feel like doing it much more
than I expressed in words.
Q: Tell me more clearly
Sakuraba: I had a
motivation for the fight, but the body didnft move. So I said I
didnft feel like doing it. It is difficult to explain that condition,
but itfs something like my body doesnft fit my mood.
Q: But you do it when
it comes (laughing).
regarding the fight with Renzo, it makes me feel good that it ended with
an arm lock like that.
Q: You are great in
that you made it happen, rather than it simply happened [somehow]. Most
fights end with nothing when the fightersf condition is not so good.
Sakuraba: I just used
my 20 minutes worth of stamina in the last one minute.
Q: Condensed stamina!
(laughing). OK, letfs move to the next subject, Pride 11. It seems
that your opponent is an American.....
Sakuraba: It looks like
Don Fryefs recommendation. When it is the time to lose, I will lose in
the fight even with him [translator's note: Mr. Sakuraba is referring to
the unnamed opponent, who everyone assumes will not be as capable as
most of his past opponents].
Q: You are fooling me
with such talk again (laughing).
Sakuraba: Believe me! I
started training just today because of an injury (smiling).
Q: Which part got hurt?
Sakuraba: The side of
the armpit. I donft know if it is a problem with a tendon or muscle.
Q: Is it OK to say that
before the fight?
Sakuraba: No problem.
Q: Is it recovered
completely though. What date is it today? October 10th? It
will be OK for 20 days before the fight.
Q: Cool! But
donft you think you always get hurt on some part of the body one month
before the fight?
Sakuraba: Yes, because
all my training partners are big.
Q: I get it! You
donft like working, donft you (laughing)? Maybe you donft want to
get into the working mode. I understand it, because I donft either.
Sakuraba: Maybe you're
Q: You always
mention that you feel pain in here and that, because you donft want to
put yourself into the working mode from an early time (laughing). My
profession is completely different from yours, but I will do the same
thing when I write my article (laughing). By the way, have you watched
the video of your opponent yet?
Sakuraba: No, not yet
(laughing). Donft you think it is too early to watch it now?
Q: You are not
the type of man who prepares for it in advance (laughing).
Sakuraba: I said it
many times before, but an important key to success is to take him into
my favorite pattern, I think. Conversely if I get into his favorite
pattern or position, I will lose.
Q: It seems that is the
way you do.
basically it is. But I am recently getting lazy in things around me.
Q: You are lazy from a
long time ago (laughing).
Sakuraba: No, I am
lazier than before (laughing).
Q: Any way, just tell
others that you want to fight with somebody. Thatfs all (laughing).
Sakuraba: Somebody? I
want to fight with someone who Ifve never fought with before.
Q: I read it in an
interview by somebody.
Sakuraba: I am looking
forward to the next fight in Pride 11. He is a new opponent for me.
Q: It takes you a long
time to get into the working mode. However, once you get in, you enjoy
Sakuraba: Yes, thatfs
right. It is dull even to come to the dojo here after getting up....I
feel dull on the way to the dojo, but I train hard once I get here.
Q: No matter whoever
your opponent is, you are inclined to enjoy the fight. But there is also
a possibility to fight the way you did in Pride 7 with Anthony "Mad
Dog" Macias, isnft it? People complained, ggive us a break,
Sakuraba: I donft
know whatfs going on there until it starts. I might be knocked down by
Q: Shannon gthe
Canonh Rich, your opponent, is a fighter who used to fight in vale
tudos abroad, like Super Brawl and IVC, isnft he?
Sakuraba: It might be
my turn to be caught with ghazukashigatameh (laughing).
Mr. Sakuraba uses the expression hazukashigatame. It
derives from the word hazukasii (which means
"embarrassing") and gatame ("pin",
"hold") . It refers to the act of holding the
opponent's legs wide apart while dropping your head and upper-body
weight down toward his crotch. It's an effective method for passing the
guard, but as Mr. Sakuraba says, maybe looks like a little
Sakuraba: Isnft it
Q: I feel there is your
confidence hidden behind that word. To be sure, you had hard opponents
one after another from Pride 8 last year. Didnft you have in your mind
that you want to do some easy job now?
Sakuraba: I still have
a feeling that I want to take a rest for about six months.
Q: Did it come up to
you after the fight with Renzo, or with Royce?
Sakuraba: It came up to
me after the fight with Royce. I have been thinking about taking a
vacation for half a year or one year since then. I fought with Royce for
90 minutes. It seems to be equal to one-year working.
Q: Is it mentally
getting hard to fight, being over 30 years old?
Sakuraba: Yes, it is.
Q: Looking at you, I
donft feel it at all.
Sakuraba: In fact, I
feel it in many ways. My training now is different from my training a
few years ago. I could get my energy back after an afternoon nap before.
But now I'm completely tired and have no guts left (laughing).
Q: You want to
sleep as long as possible.
Sakuraba: But I train
because I have to. I never initiate any attacks during my training [renshu
chu mo jibun kara mae ni ikunjanakute]. I simply sort of feint
randomly and take his joint when it's there [tekito na "feint"
kakete, kansetsu o torutte kanji].
Q: That's inside work,
isn't it? [translator's note: the interviewer uses the English phrase
"inside work", as in "sore ga 'inside work' desu
ne?". We don't know what he means by this, and Mr. Sakuraba
doesn't seem to reply directly to it, so maybe he doesn't know either]
Sakuraba: My view is
getting broader than before, which is a good point in being over thirty.
A broad view helps me feel less tired.
Q: You are doing a
physical work, so it must be getting difficult to switch on your body.
Sakuraba: Yes, that's
Q: Any way, I hope you
will do your best in Osaka Castle Hall. I am expecting a lot.
Sakuraba: What are you
Q: I am expecting
an interesting fight (laughing). Can I ask you the last question?
Someone who saw your entrance in the last fight said, "it's
ordinary (futsuu)" (laughing). How about this time?
Sakuraba: Ordinary is
best, isn't it?
Q: Yes, it can be true
Sakuraba: Not good, and
not bad, that is, middle is best (yoku mo naku, waruku mo naku,
futsuu ga ichiban)
Q: Middle is best
Sakuraba: I will think
about it too (smiling).
Q: Thank you!
Sakuraba: But I might
forget it soon (laughing).
Q: I am sure you will.
Vowel length is
phonemic in Japanese. In our transcriptions we have sometimes omitted notations of
vowel length to improve readability. If you don't read Japanese it won't
make any difference one way or the other and if you do, you'll easily be
able to infer whether it is a short or long vowel that is intended. This
applies as well to our transcriptions in general, which are merely
intended to be a rough guide for the average non-expert in Japanese
(c) 2000, Yoko Kondo, all rights