Ken Shamrock Podcast

Discussion in 'Worldwide MMA Discussion' started by JABMALASSIE, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    Gotch did train Ken Shamrock to an extent, he talks about it a few times. But certainly, Masakatsu Funaki was Ken's main instructor and mentor.
     
  2. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    I’ll get on this
     
  3. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    He's first and foremost a Masakatsu Funaki trained guy. He met Masakatsu Funaki in the UWF, so yeah, you could say that. He followed Funaki from the UWF to the PWFG and finally to Pancrase. But Ken has said many times that of all his instructors, Funaki was the foremost.
     
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  4. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    I’ve spoken to Ken few times on Facebook call and messages and I’ve asked him this

    uwf time and funaki was the guy he learnt from most in submissions he said fuijiwara suzuki didn’t give him time of day
    Don’t think he had much tutelage from vince
     
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  5. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    I think people underestimate the connection between Gotch and the second-generation UWF guys like Suzuki, Funaki, etc. He referred to Suzuki as his son at points, although he also rebuked him at times as well. Funaki used to show Gotch tapes of every Pancrase event to get Gotch's feedback and they remained close until they fell out over the use of foreign fighters in Pancrase, which I guess Gotch disagreed with. He also wanted Pancrase to be pure grappling, but Funaki didn't feel that was marketable.

    There is a recent interview where Suzuki goes pretty deep on his training with Gotch. I'll scare it up and post a link.
     
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  6. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    What Ken can be considered is the greatest American catch wrestler
     
  7. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    Yeah please do
     
  8. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    By all accounts Funaki was a great teacher. Not only Ken, but Guy Mezger, Frank Shamrock and many others say likewise. Although you have guys like Satoru Kitaoka that swear by Suzuki.
     
  9. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    Yeah I loved their match in Pancrase. Can tell Suzuki was bummed after he got choked out by funaki big rivalry but good friends

    who do you think was better prime for prime ? Funaki had good 20lb on Suzuki

    Suzuki was awesome great wrestler
     
  10. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    Here's the link: https://themmacommunity.com/threads/minoru-suzuki-interview-part-1-of-5.73439/

    They Stopped Showing Their Backs to Me: The Minoru Suzuki Interview


    Part One of Five: Training Gotch Style Wrestling

    By William Colosimo | [email protected]

    Minoru Suzuki is a highly respected mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneer. A decorated amateur wrestler who entered the professional wrestling world, Suzuki took to the hard style of wrestling in Japan and competed in several legitimate MMA matches before assisting Masakatsu Funaki in creating Pancrase- the second MMA organization in Japan, and the one that led to the sport’s widespread popularity there. Pancrase had already held three shows before the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debuted their first. Many great Pancrase fighters migrated to the UFC and secured their place in fight history. Suzuki was a top fighter through the early years of Pancrase, a time and place that produced many MMA legends.

    My translator for this interview- Taiki Yamamoto- was able to visit with Mr. Suzuki and ask my questions, presenting his own follow up questions to flesh out answers as needed.


    William Colosimo: Why did you originally begin training in amateur wrestling?

    Minoru Suzuki: Before I started fighting, before I started (amateur wrestling), when I was in middle school, when I was fifteen years old, I wanted to become a pro-wrestler so I went to Tokyo to submit applications to offices for that purpose, but I was turned down wherever I went. But then someone recommended to me to go into amateur wrestling and that’s when it all started. The idea was that if I became a champion in amateur wrestling, that I might get scouted.

    Taiki Yamamoto: So, you graduated middle school at the age of fifteen then…

    Suzuki: I went to the New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) office and submitted an application informing them that I wanted to enroll, but was told to go home. I didn’t know what I should do, but my teacher at the time told me that Riki Choshu, Masa Saito and Jumbo Tsuruta and others all got scouted due to their appearances in the Olympics. He told me that I should follow that same path. I then said “OK, I will go become a high school amateur wrestling champion,” and that’s how it started.

    Colosimo: Do you recall any titles or accomplishments from your amateur wrestling days?

    Suzuki: Yes, I do have some, but prefer not to talk about it. I lost in some finals, and I think anyone who isn’t the champion is a loser.

    Colosimo: Why did you decide to make the move to pro-wrestling with NJPW?

    Suzuki: When I was a kid, there was only NJPW and All Japan Pro-Wrestling (AJPW). I watched both of them, but I was a big fan of Antonio Inoki, and at the NJPW’s first IWGP (International Wrestling Grand Prix) Championship, that was where Inoki got knocked out and lost against Hulk Hogan. It was a true shock to my child’s mind and I declared that I’d avenge him. That was my first motivation to become a pro-wrestler. My determination to beat Hulk Hogan was the trigger for me to become a pro-wrestler. That was when I was fifteen years old.

    Colosimo: Was your debut in NJPW at nineteen years old on an April, 1988 Battle Royale that featured Yoshiaki Fujiwara and Masakatsu Funaki among others?

    Suzuki: My proper debut was June 23rd, 1988, in Yokohama. It was a single match against Takashi Iizuka. I think that Battle Royale was in 1987, the year before that. This was one of the fan appreciation events before my actual debut. I don’t know if that would be considered as a debut as it was only part of the fan appreciation event.

    Colosimo: In that era, before Pancrase, who taught you the most about submission holds?

    Suzuki: Yoshiaki Fujiwara taught me.

    Yamamoto: Was it only Fujiwara?

    Suzuki: Fujiwara and Masakatsu Funaki. Funaki and I were the same age but he was my senpai (Editor’s Note: A senior wrestler under the hierarchical system). We trained a lot with each other and he taught me a lot. I got better through training with Funaki and then I learned from Fujiwara after that. Then, Fujiwara introduced me to Karl Gotch. I then learned from Gotch as well.

    Yamamoto: So, you were learning from Funaki before learning from Fujiwara?

    Suzuki: It was actually at the same time.

    Colosimo: How extensively did you train with Karl Gotch? How much of what he taught was grappling technique versus conditioning training?

    Suzuki: It was fifty percent grappling and fifty percent conditioning. It consisted of six hours of training per day, half of each, about three hours each.

    Yamamoto: So, it was like a morning session and an afternoon session?

    Suzuki: No, there was no break in between. It started from ten in the morning and ended around four in the afternoon.

    Yamamoto: There was no lunch in between?

    Suzuki: Lunch was after training was over.

    Yamamoto: Did you train conditioning first then submissions?

    Suzuki: That’s right. We usually moved location and drank our water during that.

    Yamamoto: Then there was a grappling session?

    Suzuki: Yes, and Gotch assigned who would go against whom. But you have to understand that the structure and how to teach grappling techniques were not established like they are today.

    Yamamoto: So, it was like grappling or like a real match?

    Suzuki: Well, of course it was sparring, but we would spar and spar without Gotch saying a word and only when the sparring was over- he had a really good memory- so Gotch would say “You do it like this, and you do this like this,” one by one. Other times, he would have us pause the sparring if he saw a great set up or entry. He would explain the technique and position then restart the sparring. It all depended on what day it was.

    Yamamoto: It was like there was no set training plan.

    Suzuki: No, it was not and that’s why it was scary. Even in conditioning, he would suddenly say “Squats!” He would get us in a circle and start counting one, two… if there were ten people then you would start to think like “If one person does one hundred squats, then the total will be one thousand,” but then Gotch goes “One thousand one.” We’d get scared, you know, wondering when the hell it was going to end. If you thought it was up to one thousand five hundred, then he goes “One thousand five hundred one.” So, I never knew when it was going to actually end.

    Yamamoto: There was no way that you could pace yourself or predict what would happen that way!

    Suzuki: That is the teaching style of Gotch.

    Yamamoto: So, it was never like we will do this how many times? It would change depending on his mood.

    Suzuki: But he did explain the reasoning behind all of that. If you tell people “We will do one hundred” then people set their objective as one hundred. They won’t give it their all. They’ll save some of it.

    Yamamoto: Like not putting in all you can and save energy to meet the objective.

    Suzuki: That is right. If you hold back, it is useless for an actual fight. Without any notice, he would announce what we were doing on that day. The playing card training that has been done by pro-wrestlers for a long time is exactly that in a small scale version. You have to flip the card not knowing how many reps of the exercise you have to do. If you get a three in the cards, you have to do three pushups. If you get a five on the card, you have to do ten squats because it doubles. You keep adding on and keep going.

    Yamamoto: The purpose is to be able to adapt to the situation?

    Suzuki: Yes. Doing ten pushups for ten sets actually has meaning. That’s what you need to do to make your muscles bigger. But the training that I was doing was more for real combat application. Back then and even today, there is a certain group of anti-Gotch people, people who disliked his training style. They would say that Gotch’s training methods are worthless, that they don’t make you bigger, that you can’t use them. They rejected the training and so are missing the important aspects of it.

    Yamamoto: Not being able to predict is the core of the training concept.

    Suzuki: Of course, we already know how to build muscle scientifically. Everyone is looking for the most efficient way and to find shortcuts. You have to know that there is no such thing as a shortcut in martial arts and that’s true in life as well. It is about how to overcome what is happening right in front of you at the moment. That is the most important thing. That’s what I think.

    A real fight is not a video game. In a video game, the enemy attacks using a preset program, but we are facing a real human being. We might think he won’t kick and then he suddenly does. Or maybe he will break the rules.

    Yamamoto: So, it’s about how to react when things do not go as planned.

    Suzuki: Yes. Maybe this is going off track, but based on my pro-wrestling career of thirty-two years, I had many experiences like this. My senpai thinks that I don’t listen, so they decide to punish me. They might grab my finger and try to break it or try to put their fingers in my eyes. This experience and influence from Gotch made me who I am now. Yes, I received the punishment but my character has not changed.

    Colosimo: What kind of relationship did you have with Gotch?

    Suzuki: I can say that we were friends. That is the best way to describe it. I asked him to teach me and he taught me, so you could also call him my sensei. Yoshiaki Fujiwara told me something that has always stuck in my heart. He told me that he is not my sensei. I asked him what he meant. He told me that I can call him “sensei,” but that he is not a sensei. I did not understand this for a long time. What he actually meant is that there is no one who is above someone else and so can call himself a sensei. There are people who ask someone to teach them and they can call that person sensei, but it is only from their side. So, his position was that he would teach me if I wanted to learn, but he does not consider himself a sensei. This is the same principle Gotch had. Gotch called me a friend. Or sometimes he would call me his son. He would say that I was his youngest son. There were Fujiwara and others before me such as Osamu Kido. So I was considered to be the last one. So, we were friends.

    Colosimo: Was Yoshiaki Fujiwara your main instructor once you entered the pro-wrestling world?

    Suzuki: In what context? What he taught me?

    Yamamoto: How to do pro-wrestling.

    Suzuki: No, I didn’t learn how to do pro-wrestling.

    Yamamoto: Was Fujiwara your instructor for grappling and submission?

    Suzuki: Yes, that is right. There was a senpai who taught me the basics in pro-wrestling like the lock up and headlock, what to do when your opponent grabs a leg, the body slam and dropkick, but Fujiwara got angry when I tried to do those things in my debut. I felt great with my performance in my debut and was thinking I have a talent for this. I thought I did quite well and went to thank Fujiwara-san in his dressing room. I was told to go to the back area and he punched me. He said “What the hell were you doing? You have techniques that no one else has.” As I was training with Fujiwara every day, he was pushing me, saying, “You have techniques that no one else can do; why aren’t you using them? Use them or you’re going to lose out quickly. Why are you doing things the same as everyone else? A little guy like you is going to fall out of the limelight as soon as possible.” That is why I stopped doing what I learned in the ring from my second pro-wrestling match. But people were getting mad at me left and right. Everyone would come at me like “What the hell are you doing?” But I was fine with that. This is when I was around twenty years old. The funny thing was that the more the guys around me questioned what I was doing and told me I was no good, the more fans started cheering for me. That was funny. Everything was out of whack. I was told to even punch from behind if I get a chance. This I was taught by Fujiwara and Inoki. When I would get submitted in sparring, I’d be on all fours in pain and they would punch me from behind when I was looking down. They would ask me what I was doing facing away from them. They endlessly took my neck and arm. I had no choice but to face them. They kept questioning why I would show my back to an opponent. They would say I only tapped out, and that it was only training. They all told me to protect myself. So, I punched Inoki from behind when he was trying to wipe sweat with a towel and facing away from me. Of course, they would return the punishment, but both Inoki and Fujiwara took good care of me. They thought I was stupid.

    Yamamoto: Wow, amazing that that was allowed and accepted.

    Suzuki: In the Showa Era (Editor’s Note: The period of time in which Michinomiya Hirohito was Emperor of Japan) of NJPW, senpai were treated as gods and kouhai (Editor’s Note: A junior wrestler under the hierarchical system) were like slaves. That was the mindset of post-World War II Japan. Senpai could do anything they wanted from that upper position. They could justify anything. They would punch me and say I was bad because I was facing away. So, I used the same reasoning. But that’s not usual for a kouhai. When they would say “What do you think you are doing!?”, I would say “Sorry, but you were facing away.” Both Inoki and Fujiwara stopped showing their backs to me after this.

    Yamamoto: So, they were prepared in case they would be attacked in return. Wow.

    Suzuki: I was different from others, I guess you could say, and many senpai did not like me.
     
  11. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    Part 2

    https://themmacommunity.com/threads/minoru-suzuki-interview-part-2-of-5.73609/

    They Stopped Showing Their Backs to Me: The Minoru Suzuki Interview

    Part Two of Five: The Era of UWF

    By William Colosimo | [email protected]



    William Colosimo: How much live sparring did you do with Fujiwara?

    Minoru Suzuki: I couldn’t even count that as it was every day. It was always one-on-one. This was when we did the circuit and we had about two hundred matches a year. I went to Fujiwara’s everyday asking for training. I would get beat up for about an hour every day.

    Taiki Yamamoto: Was this in a training session with everybody?

    Suzuki: Yes, there was a training session with the whole group. We would do squats, pushups and count together for each workout. I didn’t want to do that. Because we did this at the dojo. If I were to march with everyone else, I would never be in first place. Fujiwara never got angry at me in training and I didn’t have to train with the others- no one complained like “Why isn’t he training with us?” I took that as an opportunity. I went to Fujiwara’s even before the group training. I told him that I would be waiting for him in the ring.

    Yamamoto: So, it was a sparring session?

    Suzuki: I guess not really as I was always on the losing end of a one sided beatdown.

    Yamamoto: I assume no time limit for this session?

    Suzuki: It would go on until Fujiwara said okay.

    Yamamoto: It was based on Fujiwara’s mood!

    Suzuki: But I attacked Fujiwara from behind after he said okay and showed me his back. Then I got beat up even more! At the end, it is for fighting, not martial arts or competition training. How could I put it? Maybe this is not the right way to put it, but it was Shooto training (Editor’s Note: Shooto is a MMA fighting sport developed by Satoru Sayama after he left the Universal Wrestling Federation in 1985). It’s to be prepared for the time when it becomes necessary. The basic philosophy for this was also in catch-as-catch-can from Europe. Gotch knows a lot about this. I once questioned Gotch about a situation in ground fighting where my opponent is lying down and I am pinning him from the top. I asked him what is the most effective move from here? What do you think he answered?

    Yamamoto: I guess it’s to take the neck.

    Suzuki: Gotch said to just hit him with my elbow.

    Yamamoto: Striking?

    Suzuki: No, my question was based on wrestling.

    Yamamoto: So, your wrestling question was answered that you should use an elbow strike.

    Suzuki: He told me that it will break my opponent’s nose and that is the right way. That meant that my comprehension of fighting was poor. I was considering it as competition but Gotch had no interest in that. He said that the most effective thing is to do it when you’re not supposed to.

    Yamamoto: Right, then no one can anticipate it.

    Suzuki: It’s like the difference between sport BJJ (Brazilian jiu-jitsu) and its techniques versus vale tudo in Brazil (Editor’s Note: Vale tudo- Portuguese for “anything goes” is a form of MMA that utilizes very limited rules and was popularized in Brazil). Gotch’s philosophy already included that type of fight style. It‘s really interesting. He said the elbow is the most effective and not to punch. That is because punching requires distance whereas the elbow does not.

    What Gotch and Fujiwara taught me is not sports competition. It is to address scenarios that may actually happen in the ring when fighting pro-wrestling. You will be okay in this scenario if you have this technique available. They emphasized pinning and did not take it lightly, so I share the same concept. Don’t let them escape and make them suffer.

    Colosimo: What kind of relationship did you have with Fujiwara up through Fujiwara-Gumi? (Professional Wrestling Fujiwara-Gumi)

    Suzuki: He was my teacher, mentor and like a father to me. I could always depend on him whenever something arose, but a father starts to get annoying to you when you start to get stronger. You start to think that you’re the tougher one, so why is he acting all bad? It’s like the rebellious period in the teenage years. Then, I finally decided to move away. I was thinking I am the one who’s right and I am better. By the way, this is okay to publish as I have already spoken to Fujiwara about this.

    Colosimo: Was Masami “Sammy” Soranaka also one of your early trainers?

    Suzuki: No, he was not. Not at all. But he was good at motivating people to come to the shoot style from other styles. He is a son-in-law to Gotch, married to Gotch’s daughter. So, he has been trained by Gotch as well. However, he was a referee by the time I knew him.

    Yamamoto: He was purely a referee and was not involved in other matters?

    Suzuki: No, he was not. But he did motivate me to go real when I had issues with people from other organizations. He would always try to rev people up to go real, like “Let’s go knock him out!” But the one to actually do it was me. I was about twenty-two years old back then.

    Yamamoto: So, he was motivating green boys to go real.

    Suzuki: No, I was not really green. I was young but I was already in main events. I was already at Fujiwara-Gumi taking on some main event fights.

    Yamamoto: Wow, that is amazing.

    Suzuki: Yes, you are right. I was actually amazing.

    Colosimo: How did you meet Masakatsu Funaki, and how close did you become while in the “newborn” UWF and Fujiwara-Gumi? (Editor’s Note: There were two Japanese UWF organizations in the 1980’s. The first one, the Universal Wrestling Federation- or UWF- debuted in 1984 and disbanded in 1985. Many of the core members eventually came back for a second version, the newborn UWF- using the same initials, although never operating under the full name of Universal Wrestling Federation. This version debuted in 1988 and disbanded in 1990. Yoshiaki Fujiwara was a member of both incarnations, while Masakatsu Funaki and Minoru Suzuki were members of just the second version)

    Suzuki: We first met at NJPW. I already knew him, of course. I was turned down by NJPW when attempting to join after junior high school. But he actually got in after junior high school. So, I was like wow, what’s going on there, is he that good? Also, I had done amateur wrestling for three years in high school. I had a Japanese flag on and was competing in international competitions since my second year of high school. So, I had confidence. I was always watching him and thinking “Is he really that good?” It was about after one week when he asked me to train with him and invited me to the ring. We did sparring and he destroyed me. I had great confidence as I had amateur wrestling experience, but he took me down as well.

    Yamamoto: He actually took you down? It wasn’t a wrestling technique… or was that also part of it?

    Suzuki: Yes, and he tapped me so many times as well. He was very good. When I tried to resist, I got punished even more. My nose started to bleed, but I was so happy. I had a new impression of pro-wrestling after a week in at NJPW. I was amazed and thought being strong and everything like him was such a cool thing. He may be the first senpai that I admired. We are the same age, so we became like brothers and have gotten along well since then. We were together every day and it may have lasted for about ten years. We were really good friends. We were together for everything.

    Yamamoto: In training and away from training as well?

    Suzuki: Yes, we ate together and such. There was no playing around as we were at the dojo all the time, so it was as much as “Do you want to watch this videotape?” We were only training and eating other than that, so we were always together. We were actually in the same dorm room as well. The rooms were for two to three people back then. He invited me to live together with him and so were sleeping in a bunk bed, top and bottom. We often talked about pro-wrestling until right before we would go to sleep, about what we wanted to do in the future in pro-wrestling. I told him that I wanted to be cool like Inoki and that was around when we were eighteen years old. When I said something like, “But I do not think that guy is strong,” he replied “Then just go for it tomorrow.” I just entered the organization and was only eighteen years old! That is why people did not like us much.

    Yamamoto: So, people were trying to motivate you to have fun.

    Suzuki: Yes, I was the type of guy who would just go for it.

    Colosimo: Did you have any reservations about making the move from NJPW to the UWF?

    Suzuki: For me? No concern or reservations at all. I only felt hopeless at NJPW at that time. It was the time when Fujiwara was still at NJPW, but UWF consisted of Akira Maeda, Nobuhiko Takada and Kazuo Yamazaki and they looked so appealing to me. In other words, it made me realize that being strong is great. NJPW at that time had an element of being strong at shoot style wrestling, but the new UWF had all that and more. They made their own organization, and I wanted to move there so badly. I essentially hated to do the same with everyone else just like the group training with everyone doing the same thing. That basically meant that I had to wait in line. I just wanted to fight all the senpai and get to the top. So, I wanted to be strong and the UWF organization was all that I was aspiring for. I had and still have no regrets whatsoever about the move to the UWF. I do, however, remember the day that I moved to the UWF and the first day at training camp. Yoji Anjo told me “Why did you come to a place like this?”, saying that there is no money in the UWF. He told me that I’d be able to eat steak and other meats everyday if I stayed in NJPW, but there was no money to eat meat in the UWF. But I only had my hopes and dreams, so I told him that I had no issue with that. That was when I was twenty years old.

    Colosimo: In November of 1989, the UWF held the U-Cosmos show. Your first match with Maurice Smith took place there. Were you a replacement for an injured Funaki?

    Suzuki: Yes, Funaki was in the lineup and there was a concept to have a mixed martial arts match against fighters around the world, and there was a plan for Funaki versus Smith but it fell through. The company called us in and told us that they would give us an equal opportunity and for anyone interested to raise their hand. So, I told them that I would love to get in there and I guess that put me on their radar.

    Colosimo: How was that match planned- was the finish set to be the same result, no matter who Maurice faced in the ring?

    Suzuki: As Funaki was injured, there is no “what if” scenario to this. There is no what if as he was not part of the show. I was the one in the show for this.

    Yamamoto: In other words, was the finish pre-determined?

    Suzuki: I would like to skip that question.

    Colosimo: In April of 1990 you and Funaki had a fantastic grappling match in the UWF. Can you tell us anything about the behind the scenes lead up to this match? How important was this match to you?

    Suzuki: I don’t know. It just happened that way. Funaki approached me, and I just reacted accordingly. Of course, we had the feeling, we wanted to do something that only the two of us could do, but I wasn’t really thinking about how it would go over.

    Yamamoto: So, you were not planning this?

    Suzuki: Nothing planned at all.

    Yamamoto: This was the “kaitentai” (Translator’s Note: smooth rolling style) that the UWF is known for?

    Suzuki: Well, it was done in the dojo all the time.

    Yamamoto: It was definitely a start from the fan’s viewpoint.

    Suzuki: I don’t know as all I cared about was that I didn’t want to lose. I did not even think out how I was going to express myself to the audience. I only thought it would be really lucky if I could catch Funaki.

    Yamamoto: It was all about trying to tap Funaki.

    Suzuki: Yes, I thought I could be a star if I beat Funaki, as I was losing all the time.

    Colosimo: Soranaka brought Wayne Shamrock over for a UWF tryout in the summer of 1990. What were your early thoughts on Wayne? (Editor’s Note: Ken Shamrock’s middle name is Wayne, which is what he went by in Japan starting with his stint in the newborn UWF)

    Suzuki: He had a great physique with excellent flexibility and athletic ability. But I could not feel any talent from him at all as far as regular pro-wrestling goes. I realized, however, that something was different about him. Although I could not speak English, we started to communicate using simple words during training. We got along. We both shared the same passion to get to the top. Soranaka brought him to Japan again in Fujiwara-Gumi. Shamrock asked Funaki and me how we became so good. We told him that we train like this every day and he decided to live in Japan to train with us. And so we trained together.

    Yamamoto: He was living and training with you guys?

    Suzuki: Yes, and he had been receiving Gotch’s training at that time. But Gotch hates Shamrock.

    Yamamoto: Why so?

    Suzuki: Because he had a great body and that he is an American. Gotch did not trust Americans.

    Yamamoto: Gotch was a green card holder?

    Suzuki: Yes, he was a permanent resident of the U.S. But he liked Japanese people because of the approach to training. He said that most Americans are not able to stick to it.

    Colosimo: Why in your opinion did the newborn UWF close down? (Editor’s Note: After the December 1st, 1990 event the newborn UWF disbanded, splitting into three new wrestling groups: Fighting Network RINGS- headed by Akira Maeda, Union of Wrestling Forces International- headed by Nobuhiko Takada, and Professional Wrestling Fujiwara-Gumi- headed by Yoshiaki Fujiwara)

    Suzuki: I guess it’s because no one got along with each other. Everyone thought they were the best and it was good to have that feeling in the ring, but it didn’t work well outside the ring. So, everyone launched their own organization after and they had a good number of fans at their events. These were called “U” (U-Kei) organizations such as RINGS, UWF International, and Fujiwara-Gumi (Editor’s Note: U-Kei refers to professional wrestling organizations, professional wrestlers, fighters, and gyms whose roots are UWF). Everyone was ambitious. It’s like having a soon to become captain on the same pirate ship as the now captain. This will never work out. It’s like the manga One Piece if you want to picture it.
     
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  12. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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  13. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    Tough call. Suzuki had razor-sharp submissions, awesome wrestling and incredible speed. I think Funaki was better off his back and more able to adapt to adverse situations. But you can't ignore how much smaller Suzuki was than the guys he went against.
     
  14. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    That's definitely fair. And he did directly train Ken as well. Ken has plenty of stories about it. He actually said that Gotch outlasted everyone, included himself and Funaki, when it came to his deck of cards workout.
     
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  15. TheMaster Take The Road To Reality

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  16. TheMaster Take The Road To Reality

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    That's amazing if true considering Gotch's age at the time.
    I have rarely heard Ken speak directly of Gotch though it was always Funaki.
     
  17. Kforcer Dragon Slayer

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    The video where he talks about this is on his Youtube channel. It is the video where he takes questions from fans. People almost always have multiple mentors. Gotch taught Fujiwara, Fujiwara taught Funaki and Funaki taught Ken but Fujiwara and Gotch therefore also had a major influence on the people Funaki taught, especially during their time in the UWF and PWFG; but even beyond that, Gotch remained a major mentor for Funaki until he broke of their relationship out of anger at Funaki not following some of his dictates. Think of Gotch as the grandmaster, Fujiwara as the master and Funaki as the sempai and that is basically the nature of the relationship.

    And actually, Gotch's influence is all over Ken's life; Soranaka, as mentioned, was Gotch's son-in-law (Soranaka was the man who gave Ken his American tryout for the UWF and worked with him during his time in America when he was with the UWF). The Malenko brothers were proteges of Gotch who Gotch looked at as sons, and it was Dean Malenko who introduced Ken to the UWF.
     
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  18. Idonotbelieveit winning

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  19. Idonotbelieveit winning

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    Just watched cheers
     
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  20. Steve-French What A Rush!!!

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    This video (if it's correct) Shows Ken with long hair wrestling in Japan at age 27, which would be in 1991 which would mean that he would have spent time in Japan while wrestling under the Vince Torelli character.

     
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