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Karate blackbelts in MMA

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Hotora86, May 30, 2016.

  1. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Thanks man, didn't know him.

    NEW FIGHTER ADDED !!!

    NAME: Shohei Yamamoto
    AKA: Keji Tora
    COUNTRY: Japan / USA
    STYLE: Kyokushin Karate
    RANK: Black belt (1st dan?)
    RECORD: 5-3
    Tapology: https://www.tapology.com/fightcenter/fighters/61672-shohei-yamamoto
    SD: http://www.sherdog.com/fighter/Shohei-Yamamoto-156947
    Bio: http://uofmma.com/2014/fighter-of-the-month/fighter-of-the-month-shohei-yamamoto/



    Dude just loves to bang. :D But his defense (standing and ground) is virtually non-existent. :p
     
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  2. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Yeah Kikuno was awesome, shame he never accomplished much in the UFC.

    I just looked him up on Tapology and found something interesting:
    https://www.tapology.com/fightcenter/fighters/katsunori-kikuno

    Apparently in 2016 he signed with a new promotion called Ganryujima. He's 7-0 in the org since then but the bouts aren't officially listed as MMA due to Ganryujima's "custom rules". And those are custom as fuck, I'll tell you that!

    https://www.mma-japan.net/2017/09/03/ganryujima-adauchi-2017-whats-it-all-about/

    "In Ganryujima, fighters fight on a level platform over a moat filled with dry ice smoke! You read that correctly, a moat filled with smoke." <Eek2.0>



    Ganryujima really wants this to look like Street Fighter or JCVD's "The Quest"! :D

    Kikuno's HL in Ganryujima and his revenge on Souza!

     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2018
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  3. dsdoubled

    dsdoubled Brown Belt

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    Yeah man, it will be interesting to see how his grappling develops from training with Barnett and Erik Paulson and them. CSW should be producing some stellar grapplers with having those 2 guys and Rico Chiappareli at the helm.
     
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  4. dsdoubled

    dsdoubled Brown Belt

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    Dude, this is amazing. JZ Cavalcante is over there too? This is going to be huge in Japan. Its obviously not the extremely high level MMA you'll find in the UFC but it will be a much better fit for japan. I think they should allow more time for grappling but holy shit is this great. Start a thread about this!
     
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  5. j123

    j123 Pro Sherdogger 500-0-1

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    Let me bang mang
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  6. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Isn't that Kyokushin?
    [​IMG]
     
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  7. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Took some searching but looks like other ppl have already made quite a few threads about Ganryujima:

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/new-japanese-fighting-event-ganryujima.2869593/

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/ganryujima-gifs-crazy-fight-league.3030427/

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/ganryujima-3-starting-over-all-fight-videos.3209915/

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/so-ganryujima-5-happened.3375617/

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/ganryujima-6-3jan-2017.3414803/

    http://forums.sherdog.com/threads/ganryujima-results-01-03-18.3686927/
     
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  8. j123

    j123 Pro Sherdogger 500-0-1

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    Kyokushin is now re-branded as "I do let you bang bro..."
     
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  9. Tayski

    Tayski Stand-up Fighting

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    1st Dan of an unknown style of Karate?

    Is it really worth including it in here if we don't even know what kind of Karate background he has?

    I mean he could have had a black belt from a mcdojo for all we know.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2018
  10. Tayski

    Tayski Stand-up Fighting

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    Thanks for the find, I'm loving watching this.
     
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  11. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    @Tayski, you might not be aware but it is *fucking hard* to find out what Karate styles people trained before they got into MMA. They don't all march into the cage in a Karate gi with their favorite martial arts stitched all over it (like GSP) or tatoo them on their skull and/or arm (like Chuck Liddell). :p

    Most Karate practiced in the US is either branded as "generic" Karate (no style specified) or some kind of micro-offshoot that the dojo owner registered as his own unique "Flying Tiger Shitting Rainbows out of his Ass Style". While the majority of the above are probably simply Shoto-clones (5 points if you get the reference ;)) I can't make a sweeping generalization and brand them as such.

    I used to go as far as to nag these fighters on facebook to find out what style they had practiced but I don't recall ever getting a response so I quit it.

    Note that I do have a separate "style" (if you can call it that) for point-fighting / light contact / freestyle "sport" Karate styles that are equally popular and don't affiliate themselves with any particular Karate style.
    If you have any better ideas for categorizing these I am all ears.
     
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  12. Tayski

    Tayski Stand-up Fighting

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    Those are not real Karate though, that's my point.

    A dojo owner registering whatever they're teaching as "Karate" because the term is popular doesn't make it Karate, just like I wouldn't consider "sport Karate" as they call it in the US as Karate really.

    If that's how it worked I could punch my little brother in our backyard and call myself a boxer.

    Next thing we know someone will say they're from Ameri-do-te and you'll list them in this thread, discrediting the real Karatekas in your list.

    How about Fake Karate, McKarate, or Wannabe Karate?
     
  13. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    I don't think any pro MMA fighter would pride themselves on having a crappy McDojo black belt, mention it in interviews and have it on their UFC profiles.

    I don't intend to list "fake karate" at all. The offshoot and sports styles aren't all "fake" and McDojos.

    Guy Mezger is 6th Dan and 2x world champ in some vague "Full Contact Karate", which I can't find any specific info on. Was he legit? Fuck yeah!

    Chuck Liddell has "Koei Kan Karate" tattooed on his scalp - that's his foundation style. It was founded by some relatively unknown Eizo Onishi guy who has no relation to any modern "mainstream" style. He was trained by students of Itosu and Higaonna though and that's pretty legit if you ask me. And if the style gave Chuck Liddell a solid base to build on then I guess it's not a bad Karate style at all.

    A personal example, I myself trained in Fudokan, a tiny Shotokan offshoot:
    http://www.fudokaninfo.com/

    Fudokan calls itself "a traditional Karate style", differentiates itself from all other styles and is not a member of JKA, ITKF, WKF etc. Sounds like a "fake style"? However, note that the founder, Ilija Jorga, is a legit Shotokan master and 3-time European champion (1986 in kumite, 1976/78 in kata) who received his Dan grades (up to 8th!) from Tetsuji Murakami, Taiji Kase and Hidetaka Nishiyama.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetsuji_Murakami
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taiji_Kase
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hidetaka_Nishiyama

    I consider that lineage legit as fuck. Fudokan is pretty much oldschool JKA Shotokan since all of Yorga's teachers were oldschool JKA masters. We've had a JKA 1st Dan from Japan visit our dojo a few years ago and he said the training that we do is identical to what they do in Japan.

    So, is Fudokan a "mainstream style"? No. It is a "fake style" and "wannabe karate"? I don't think so.

    I assume that most fighters who got their black belts in small offshoot styles such as Fudokan wouldn't usually be inclined to specify what exactly that style is called and would just refer to it as "Karate".
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2018
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  14. Tayski

    Tayski Stand-up Fighting

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    A lot of people are proud to brag about having earned black belts, some of them even got some honorary black belts which they didn't earn with blood sweat and tears. Hell even Michael Jacksson got some honorary Karate black belt when in Japan. So I don't see why some fighters would not mention having earned some "karate" black belts at some point from somewhere even if it's not a legit one or from a real Karate dojo.

    Not all karate offshoots are fake though that's not what I'm saying, some are very very legit. You're also right that lineage is important.

    If you look at the examples you gave though, Chuck Liddell for instance was indeed from Koei-Kan karate, just like you were from Fudokan Karate or what could be described as "a Shotokan Karate offshoot". That's different to listing someone's background as "some unknown karate style" AKA "no background or info found online so I take the person's word that they've earned some Karate blackbelt from somewhere".

    I really commend you for taking so much time gathering all this info and putting this list together. I just feel that maybe some of those fighters shouldn't be on the list so that it doesn't take away legit credit due to the real Karatekas from that same list.
     
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  15. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    I get what you're saying and of course relying on a man's words alone may not be enough. Unfortunately I'm not a certified sports journalist and can't conduct interviews or simply call up these fighters to verify if what they are saying is true or not. Like I said, I used to PM them on facebook but nobody ever responded.

    They are professional fighters and (in a way) public figures so I assume they aren't just talking out of their ass. Also, I can't hide the fact that I *like* having many fighters on my list so I take the approach that the info I found is "true until proven false". I've already limited the list as compared to my original idea by only including people who hold *black belts* and not just guys who trained a bit of Karate to improve their overall game (like Belfort, Diaz, Gomi etc). Earning a black belt in Karate takes 5-6 years minimum so that implies hard work and commitment and should have an impact on a fighters base.

    If time permits I will try to look through the fighters that have "unknown" as their style and do a thorough research on what that style may be, mainstream or offshoot. If you yourself (or anyone reading this post) notice a fighter whose black belt isn't legit according to your source (for example it is only honorary) OR find a source stating their actual style - please do inform me and I will make corrections. It's an open forum and this idea, list and thread has been growing thanks to the input of many wonderful people - including yourself - and I wouldn't want it any other way. :) Osu.
     
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  16. Tayski

    Tayski Stand-up Fighting

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    I'm of course not suggesting that you should get evidence that those fighters indeed have earned a blackbelt, it would be a long painful process and quite futile to be honest.

    My initial point wasn't so much about them having actually earned and "deserved" their blackbelt but more about knowing what style they've trained in, which is usually a good start. When they don't know themselves or the information cannot be found anywhere about the style or organisation I almost find it a bit fishy. The vast majority of the Karate fighters in your list have trained in a specific style or organisation (sometimes several). For example Machida in Shotokan, Nelson in Goju Ryu, GSP in Kyokushin, and so on.

    It's just when I see guys like Tanner Boser added to the list with "style = unknown" and a video of a fight where I didn't see anything I could relate to Karate, I wonder if it's really worth having them in the list.

    But it's your list and your project mate, you do as you please :)
     
  17. Jeffry

    Jeffry White Belt

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    I find so many McDojos that have karate Programs that do not spar or compete...

    If you can find a Karate program that does those thing then you will be set.

    Note: the gym I went to yesterday had a legit karate program which had guys sparring for the last bit of class.
     
  18. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Phew... so I sat down and spent half a day looking for the actual Karate styles of guys who have been so far "unknown". Went down from 17 to only 7!

    Finding Tanner Boser's style was fun detective work - he said he trained Karate because that was the only thing available in his hometown - and that town is Bonnyville, Canada. I googled Karate schools in Bonnyville and indeed there was only one measly dojo - affiliated with Genbukai Canana, which is a Shito-ruy org. Bingo.
    http://www.genbukai.ca/

    Robert Whittaker on the other hand, has been very vocal in interviews about his style being Goju-ryu and how it is still the foundation of his striking. Cool read:
    https://www.blitzmag.net/people/bjj-mma/501-robert-whittaker-karate-is-the-foundation-of-my-striking

    Rogent Lloret runs his own Shotokan dojo in Spain so that was easy.
    https://www.facebook.com/Dojo-Sant-Feliu-187202691360121/

    Many US-based fighters trained "freestyle" Karate and/or mentioned "point fighting" in interviews so I marked them down as "Sport".

    Alex Chambers keeps mentioning "traditional Karate" and there is even an "Australian Federation of Traditional Karate" but they list both Shotokan and Goju affiliates so I don't know which one she meant:
    http://aftk.org.au/members/

    Still can't find any style for the below:
    Alex Chambers unknown 3
    Cole Escovedo unknown 1
    Ken Hamamura unknown 2
    Rose Namajunas unknown 1
    Sam Hoger unknown 1
    Shannon Ritch unknown 1
    Wesley Johnson unknown 1

    Please let me know if You find anything.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2018
  19. Hotora86

    Hotora86 ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  20. Azam

    Azam Purple Belt

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    It's a shame because Kikuno could have been a real contender at 155 lbs in the lightweight division. Everyone forgets that he nearly finished off a prime Eddie Alvarez.

    I think the issue with Kikuno was that he was experimenting a lot with his style & incorporating new things - he strayed away from his bread & butter. He changed his guard, his stance & even switched up his techniques/strategy etc. Trying to incorporate new things properly can take years to achieve - even more years if you change everything.

    I think had he stuck with the way he was fighting before switching up his style - he'd probably still be in the UFC and he'd probably have had a lot more wins on his belt.

    I also watched him on the new MMA format show which he started a while back - it's definitely entertaining but he's not really facing top tier competition anymore. It's more like he's doing it because he enjoys fighting and it's a paycheck.
     
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