By Guest Columnist Glen Isobe:
Japanese MMA fighter Hideo Tokoro’s career has spanned 56 fights over the last 12 years in a list of Japanese fight organizations: Dream, TFC, ZST, Shooto, RINGS and K-1 Hero’s. In 2005, his popularity skyrocket in Japan after a spinning-backfist-KO victory over Shooto Lightweight Champion, Alexandre “Poquieno” Nogueira, in the Hero’s 2 tournament.
Tokoro says that he never studied tapes of his opponents before his fights. It was only after losing to Antonio Banuelos at last year Dream 17 that he realized that his opponent had studied his moves beforehand and was thus able to outsmart him in the ring.
“I realized that I need to take time to study in order to improve myself…not only as a fighter, but also now as a coach.” After getting married in 2010 and opening a new gym last year in Tokyo
Tokoro spent a few days at Black House Training Facility in Los Angeles. Owned by Ed Soares and Jorge Guimaraes of Tough Media, Corp., Black House Gym is a private gym that represents a family of elite athletes worldwide. Fighters are amongst many MMA leagues including: UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, Dream, etc. Some of the fighters that currently train at the California location are UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Fabricio Werdum, Carlos Rocha, Jordan Smith, Rafael Dos Anjos, Kevin Casey, Diego Nunez and other well respected fighters.
Training sessions are usually divided between 2 disciplines: Striking and grappling. The regular trainers include Kenny Johnson (Bolt Wrestling) and Rafael Cordeiro (original trainer for the infamous Chute Boxe Academy). This week, Pedro Munhoz was filling in for coach Cordeiro while he was out recovering from his knee surgery.
Tokoro’s first impression was the high caliber of fighters there. He mentioned that unlike most pro sessions in Japan, which are primarily sparring sessions, Blackhouse fighters spent lots of time developing skills with live drilling.
“The thing that I remember about that day was how the coach demonstrated really practical striking drills, then we paired up and worked kicking drills with each other for the whole session. I could not believe how much power James (Moontasri) generated from his kicks! “
Kenny Johnson was in charge of the wrestling session. “I have taken wrestling classes before, but nothing like Coach Kenny’s (class)…the way he emphasized the MMA mindset. How we must “drive” and keep control of the opponent by setting up reactions with our striking, kicking, shooting, feinting and not just react to the opponent’s moves. I will take that away with me.”
Two weeks went by quickly and all he could say was, “I have so much to work on….can’t wait to come back again…maybe for a few months next time.”
Hop to page 2 to check out the BJPENN.COM Gallery of Tokoro Training At Black House. (Images provided to BJPENN.COM Exclusively from Mike Lee of Team Black House.)