5.16.2008

 

Public Relations

Anderson and Aref Associates
The great thing about having Dirk and I as cornermen (at least in our opinion) is that not only do we help Dan train and do a bang up job in the corner, we also do hair, find groceries, act as translators, and do some tour guiding. Remember us the next time your fighting in an exotic locale.

Dan gets ready to do some publicity shots
After trimming up the Danhandler's WarhawkTM and WarchopsTM it was time for the photo and video session followed by the prefight interview. It was neat to see the mean mugging of the fighters and the differences between a great fighter pose and greater fighter technique. After getting Dan in all sorts of intimidating postures they did a brief video session of Dan throwing some looping punches (so that they could still film his face) as well as something where he basically made a wanking motion in front of his face (we were all a little unclear of the cinematographic value of these maneuvers). Dirk even got in on the action as Dan's simulated opponent. During this it became clear that "the Handler" had not translated well into Japanese. Sengoku had apparently renamed him the "Human Wrecking Claw Machine" or something like that. As with stereo instructions translating nicknames too many times between languages does little to improve them.
After that Dan gave a terrific interview. He talked about his training graciously mentioning not only his BJJ coach Jackson McVicker but also tossing a shout out to myself and Goshin Jitsu. Dan was asked about his fighting style, his goals for this fight, and the future. He was asked about one of his wins by "verbal submission", a fight in which Dan broke his opponent's jaw and had to tell the referee that his opponent had quit because the other fighter was unable to relay this message adequately. He was asked about the WarhawkTM and his family, too. He also talked about what a great city Tokyo was. All in all he did a great job supporting feminism, proclaiming his humanitarian status, and vowing to pulverize his opponents.

Dirk acts as the stunt double for the Handler's next victim

Dan starts his interview



We had a hiatus after the morning's media blitz so we decided to get some pictures from the top floor of our hotel. I lost a camera shoot out with Dirk and then after grabbing a sushi lunch (well I did, Dan's eating micromeals to make weight and Dirk did not agree with sushi) at an awesome nearby supermarket Queen Isetan we made a brief foray into the city. Dan and I found a sweet little park with huge koi and multitudinous turtles. We also cut through some more of the shopping districts and alleys before heading back to the hotel for the fighter's meeting.

The view from the 21st floor of Tokyo East 21

Dan visits the wildlife


The Handler, the Joker, and the Sampler

The fighter meeting beginsI've been to a lot of fighter's meetings for MMA, muay thai, and sport jiu-jitsu. This was my first real fighter's meeting with introductory comments from the World Victory Road CEO and a detailed, translated, summation of the rules by the Sengoku staff. We finally clarified the weight class and the rules (news for us: stomp OK, soccer kick bad, no elbows 'tall to the head). The taping of hands is militantly observed, there is absolutely no lubrication of the body (including no petroleum based jelly to the face), and urine drug screening occurs not once but twice after the fight. In addition I'm sitting in the same room as Roger Gracie, Jeff Monson, Josh Barnett, Yuki Kondo, and Kevin Randleman. Not to mention fighting legends like Erik Paulson and Stitch (the cut man you always seen on the UFC. Monson's neck is ripping out of a black T-shirt that says "George Bush and Sons, Family Butchers Since 1991". Josh Barnett looks like he is descended from the Greek Titans after they moved to California and started surfing. The Monster Kevin Randleman is the nicest guy, always saying hello to us as we see him about the hotel, he's also a lot shorter in person than I expected. Yuki Kondo looks like he's in the wrong weight class.

Roger Gracie, Jeff Monson, Josh Barnett, and Yuki Kondo get their gloves



For our training session today we decided to head down to a local park, Kiba Park, to sweat and hit some pads. I held a series of rounds for both Dan and Dirk. We worked on basic MMA boxing skills, clinch striking, and level change reactions. Dan and Dirk both worked real hard, impressing a few late afternoon Tokyo denizens and children playing ball.

Joker holds as Dirk hits in Kiba Park

Joker holds as Dirk hits in Kiba Park

SumoAfter training in the hot Japanese sun we headed back the hotel for a shower, grabbed quick spot of sumo on TV, and then took the Tokyo metro down to Ginza. We walked through the area marveling at the huge, high class, high price stores for jewelry, leather wear, and perfume. We eventually ended up at my favorite building, the Sony Building which showcases new and emerging technologies from Sony. Dan caught me cheating on my laptop with a Vaio UX and although tempted by the duty free offers I could just imagine the trouble one would have returning product a Pacific Ocean away.
The Outerwall of the Imperial PalaceWe continued down to the outer wall of the Imperial Palace and wander in the area between in the Inner and Outer walls. We saw the Sakuradamon gate and witnessed the beautiful Tokyo skyline at dusk. As night fall gloomed and belly's rumbled we headed back to our hotel for chow.

At the Sakuradamon gate

The Tokyo skyline at night




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