(NOAH) Kaito Kiyomiya's practice with Kazushi Sakuraba for Yokohama

6th March 2019

On the 6th March, GHC Heavyweight champion, Kaito Kiyomiya at the Tokyo gym "Natural Nine" did a public practice with Kazushi Sakuraba, "the Legend of the Fighting Arts World".
Kiyomiya, who is struggling with the thorough arm and foot attacks by Naomichi Marufuji in the pre-matches, gained a big plus in the public practice by getting advice on Sakuraba on the face lock, and how to raise it to a technique resembling a special move.

The comments of both athletes who did the joint exercise are as follows.

(Q&A after public practice)

SAKURABA: Well, I heard an athlete called Kiyomiya is coming to practice (*professional baseball player, Kotaro Kiyomiya, of the Nippon Hams); you just fractured your finger, is it all right? (laugh)
KIYOMIYA:.... ha ha

(Note, Kotaro Kiyomiya has fractured his finger, there is a big thing going on at the moment asking just who knew about this injury)

Q: What made you think of asking Sakuraba to teach you?
KIYOMIYA: There are many things that are extremely important, and the joint skills in the pre-fights was my weak points. I felt that Sakuraba, a joint specialist, would help me overcome that and today I had some practice and gained some experience.

Q: What did you learn?
KIYOMIYA: I can do it now in the actual match format, and able to feel the vibrations in my body will be a development in the match. I want to do use what I learned today in the ring.

Q: Sakuraba, how was practicing with Kiyomiya?
SAKURABA: He's big (laughs) Well, there are points to be remembered with the locking technique. Do not just take the arms and legs, take it with the force of the back and the whole body. Even with an arm cross, its not just taking it by force; use all the muscles in the back and the body, try and use the power of the whole body, and I think it can be done, even if there is a difference in weight.

Q: What are your points on the Face Lock today?
SAKURABA: The Face Lock is painful, as it hurts when stuck in vital human points. I can endure it here (forehead), but I might not be able to stand it here (under the nose and the jaw); here I cannot adbide it. I wonder if you should hold down on that point...

Q: Rather than being wrapped around the arms, Kiyomiya's variant face lock looks like its more of being held in the arms?
SAKURABA: When the opponent has a big body and thick arms, my arm might not be able to get round, I thought therefore, "I wish to visit this theory".

Q: How did you improve on the facelock in this exercise?
KIYOMIYA: I don't want to go into the details, but I was able to say about the chicken wing face lock, "no escape from this form". After that there is sheer strength, I will constrict and firmly press down on points...I will be able to tell you that much today.

Q: Did you use your feet in the updated version to deprive both arms of freedom?
KIYOMIYA: That's right. It is not just the power of the upper body, he taught me how to tighten, using the power of the whole body...

Q: Have you ever seen a Kiyomiya match?
SAKURABA: I haven't seen that many matches...(laughs) I only saw the old K-1 (laughs) I have seen a little though, I watched a short video as we were having the practice today, and I think that this chicken wing facelock makes sense.

Q: Sakuraba is yet to come to the promotion, but what is your impression of Noah?
SAKURABA: Impression...Takashi Sugiura! That's my feeling. Sugiura and I practice together. "Stop with the white pants"* (laugh)

Q: How would you feel about trying to compete in Noah?
SAKURABA: I have "QUINTET" at the moment, but if I can balance them at the time...just a bit, just a bit by all means.

Q: Kiyomiya is 22 years old, do you have advice on keeping active for a long time?
SAKURABA: It is body care, isn't it? Even though I practice with the young athletes now, when practice is finished everyone properly stretches and has a shower. If you care about doing it, you can keep on doing it I think...in addition, to going to physical therapy, warm up before the match and cool down afterwards.

Q: Kiyomiya, what impression did Sakuraba make on you?
KIYOMIYA: Well...the image of the IQ wrestler is amazing, and I have had lots of ideas that ordinary people could not think of...I have an idea after practicing for a while. I think that being able to receive advice itself is unusual, and I think I would like to take care of what I received today.

Q: Have you ever been to a MMA dojo?
KIYOMIYA: No, since I entered Noah, I have been sparring in the dojo...is there practice classes like this? If so, yes! I'd like to get stimulation for new things.
SAKURABA: The locking technique is interesting. Please come out to "QUINTET" with a Noah team (lol) Body weight is useless though...

Q: What is the countermeasure to Marufuji's "Perfect Key Lock"?
KIYOMIYA: It was taught before everyone came. The inescapable technique is said to be extremely perfect, so I am telling you that the technique has to be completed to the extreme for it to be completely unable to escape from, so he told me that there is no choice but to tamper with the move.

Link to original article from Noah.co.jp (in Japanese)
Picture credit: Noah.co.jp

* Basically means that whoever was wearing white pants, it didn't suit them.