Miyuu Yamamoto vs. Ayaka Hamasaki for Vacant Super AW Title
RIZIN 26 returns to the Saitama Super Arena. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF. RICE final show of the year, RICE 26, seems to be doing everything possible with another title fight. The announced New Years Eve card will have Miyuu Yamamoto face the former atomic superweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki for the vacant belt. A top-level […]

RIZIN 26 returns to the Saitama Super Arena. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

RICE final show of the year, RICE 26, seems to be doing everything possible with another title fight. The announced New Years Eve card will have Miyuu Yamamoto face the former atomic superweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki for the vacant belt. A top-level bantamweight match between Naoki Inoue and Yuki motoya. A heavyweight match between Ikuhisa Minowa against. Tsuyoshi Sudario was also announced.

Ayaka Hamasaki vs. Miyuu Yamamoto

Miyuu Yamamoto will return to RIZIN to take on Ayaka Hamasaki for the vacant super atomic weight belt. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Miyuu Yamamoto (6-4), sister of "Child" Yamamoto and mother of the current fighter RIZIN, Erson Yamamoto, has spent his entire professional career in the organization. Women's freestyle champion, she had a difficult start RICE. She managed to turn the tide by using her athleticism and battling against her opponents. “I made my professional debut in 2016 and maybe had a few detours, but I finally managed to fight for the world title,” said Yamamoto. "I think this fight against Ayaka Hamasaki will be my grand sum of what I have lived for."

Interestingly, Yamamoto is not a citizen of Japan. She was granted Canadian citizenship in 2015. Japan forbids her dual citizenship, which would require her to renounce her Japanese citizenship. This opens up the possibility that more non-Japan-based fighters can be announced for the card.

Ayaka Hamasaki (20-3) went undefeated in her RIZIN career until she recovered Seo Hee Ham last year at RICE 20. In a very close fight, Hamasaki lost the super atomic weight title by split decision. Ham left the belt after signing with A. Hamasaki is known as an expert submission finisher. She finished most of her fights by armband. “Miyuu's physical strength is exceptional,” Hamasaki said. “She grew up as a fighter. I don't think I can beat her easily.

Yuki Motoya vs. Naoki Inoue

Yuki Motoya's winner against Naoki Inoue is likely to get a next shot to the bantamweight belt. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

Naoki Inoue (14-2) had a successful career with RIZIN as soon as he stepped into the promotion ring. His most recent win saw him get a quote on an expert grappler Watanabe Shooto at RICE 22. “I want to beat Motoya in a memorable way so people know I deserve a title shot.”

Yuki Motoya (26-8) has been a regular at RIZIN since 2015. Although 2019 saw him fail to win, including losing the DEEP Bantamweight Championship, he has rebounded this year with three wins. One of those wins was a completed submission "Fullswing" Uoi at RICE 23. "I intend to beat [Inoue] in a great way and take the limelight.

The winner of this match will likely be next in line for the winner of the Kai Asakura against Kyoji Horiguchi championship match.

Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario

Minowaman will return in heavyweight to face Tsuyoshi Sudario. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

In a fight no one predicted Ikuhisa Minowa aka "Minowaman" (64-42-8) will once again take on the red trunks to face the old sumo Tsuyoshi Sudario to RIZIN 26.

Minowaman made a name for himself in DREAM and PRIDE face fighters of all sizes. He was a fighter known for taking risks on the ground and on the feet. His entertaining fighting style has always excited audiences. He fought as low as welterweights and as far as heavyweights. He won the famous DREAM Openweight Grand Prix aka the Super Hulk tournament despite being the smaller guy in the brackets. “Sudario is a very strong young athlete and I will take him in the Minowaman style,” he said.

Tsuyoshi Sudario (1-0) will have his second professional fight and looks to be on track to be perhaps the most successful sumo wrestler to move on to MMA. His only win was a doctor save on a professional wrestler Dylan james at RICE 24. It is formed by Enon Inoue. “I have never stopped training since I started, and I can't wait to show everyone that I have improved as an MMA fighter.

Other fights

Kanna Asakura vs. Ai Shimizu will likely fight the winner of Yamamoto / Hamasaki. Photo courtesy of RIZIN FF.

A number of other fights have been announced for RIZIN 26, including Hideo Tokoro (34-30-2) making a comeback in MMA. He will face the first Olympic silver medalist in 2016 wrestling Shinobu Ota. Kanna asakura (17-4) will take Ai Shimizu (5-0), the winner probably facing Hamasaki or Yamamoto. Ulka Sasaki (22-8-2) returns to competition after recovering from a broken jaw to face Kenta takizawa (11-6). Two of the most colorful (and tattooed) fighters in the featherweight division, Kyohei Hagiwara (4-3) will look to continue his success with RIZIN as he takes on former K-1 kickboxer Ren Hiramoto in the latter's MMA debut.

To see our previous coverage of the bantmaweight champion announcement Kai Asakura vs. Kyoji Horiguchi Check it out here.

To see the press conference where all the fights were announced, watch the video below. Note that the audio is only in Japanese.

Announced card:

Kai Asakura (c) against Kyoji Horiguchi for the RIZIN bantamweight championship
Miyuu Yamamoto vs. Ayaka Hamasaki for vacant RIZIN Super Atomweight Championship
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Tsuyoshi Sudario
Ulka Sasaki vs. Kenta Takizawa
Kanna Asakura vs. Ai Shimizu
Hideo Tokoro vs. Shinobu Ota
Kyohei Hagiwara vs. Ren Hiramoto


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For just over 3 years I have been training in Kung Fu and Muay Thai. Learning any martial art is a physically and mentally challenging process that takes years of practice to master. Here are 4 tips I wish I had known that can improve your training and reduce the time it takes between novice and grandmaster.

Flexibility is a fundamental trait of any good martial artist. Having this early on in your training will help boost you ahead for many reasons. Firstly, the more advanced techniques in martial arts require you to be extremely flexible, it’s to begin learning them without the required flexibility to do so, and thus you will be learning advanced moves earlier in your training if you’re already performing a perfect split. Secondly, you need to kick high, sometimes higher than your own head. If you’re training in a martial art that is fight orientated, such as kickboxing, being able to kick your opponent in the head is one of the best moves you have in your arsenal of attacks. If you are studying an art such as Kung Fu, flexibility will dramatically improve your technique in forms, helping you to score those extra points in competitions for your technical ability.

One of the best ways to learn, I have found, is directly from the horse’s mouth, in this case your master. Typically, in your classes, your master will demonstrate a technique that they want you to practice with a partner. If they don’t ask for volunteers before performing each technique, go ahead and tell them before the class starts that you would like to be involved in the demonstrations. This will help you get a real feel for what they’re trying to show you, as you can miss subtle techniques that may be out of your vision. Volunteering to be demonstrated on can seem scary, but remember that they are a master of what they do, and they won’t actually be performing the move with the intent to hurt you.

Hitting pads is good for when you’re learning a new move, but you will find you begin performing the technique in a much different way when faced with something that will hit back. Simple things like remembering to cover your head when throwing a kick or punch will become deuxième nature after being punished for dropping your guard, even for a split deuxième. You may be asked or required to participate in a fighting tournament at some point of your martial arts journey, and the best way you can prepare for this is sparring. Remember that it is for the purpose of learning, not knocking each other out as quick as you can. You will begin to learn how to spot and react to your opponent’s openings, and how to defend against different moves. Forget being stronger or faster than your opponent, being an éclairé fighter is what will give you the advantage come fight night.

Your training doesn’t begin and end when you enter and leave the doors. My Kung Fu master always told us that “practice is good, but perfect practice makes perfect”. When you train at home make sure you are performing each technique properly, as if you were in class, bad habits form fast and are extremely to be undone. Purchasing a large mirror is a great investment so you can analyse yourself at home. Also watching scènes of other people performing techniques will help you to see how different techniques should look when you’re not at class.

Did you set a new year resolution this year ? If so, do they happen to be martial arts related ? Do you think you will actually achieve them ?

Statistics for failed New Year’s resolutions run anywhere between 45-80%. Now that another new year is here, it’s time to focus and set our eyes back on the prize in order to not become part of this rather bleak data. tera help you, on this post, I’ll be highlighting a couple personal tips that may help make both your short-term and long-term goals stick

Focusing on small milestones, following your motivation, challenging yourself, and finding what inspires you can help you make improvements for the rest year and meet or even surpass your martial arts goals and beyond !

You’re much more likely to stay motivated and make improvements if you’re doing something you enjoy. What is your absolute favorite thing to do at your martial arts school ? If you love to spar find ways to push yourself harder. Ask your instructor for pointers. Train with higher-ranking students. Seek out tournaments in your area for a challenge.

What if you’re doing what you love, and you’re already good at it, but you don’t know how to improve ? Avoid stagnation by digging deeper into your favorite activity. Find ways to go out of your comfort zone. Ask for help and feedback even in areas where you feel you are at your best. For example, if you enjoy doing forms, ask your instructor to work with you on finer details.

Play around with timing and emphasis. Enter or at least attend a tournament to see how other martial artists practice forms and see what you can learn from them. Seek out master classes, seminars, and clinics in your area. If you want some fun and relaxation while you practice consider taking a martial arts holiday.

Alternatively, you can also work on your training from the comfort of your own home by joining an online martial arts training. As you won’t even have to step foot outside, there’s simply no excuse not to keep up your practice !

Think about your long-term goals and then break it down into small milestones. Do you want to be able to do fifty push-ups in one set, but right now you can only do ten ? Don’t burn yourself out on day one trying to do all fifty. You may injure yourself or simply become discouraged that you can’t reach your goal immediately.

Slow down. Scale back. Try adding five extra push-ups per week, and over time you’ll build up the strength and stamina you need to meet your goal.

Maybe you have transferred schools and need to relearn the particular forms or self-defense techniques practiced at your new school. I have seen this happen with black belts and higher-ranking color belts who have transferred to my dojang. For example, a fellow black belt practiced Taeguk taekwondo forms at her old dojang, but now she needs to learn the Palgwe forms that we practice.

Rather than trying to learn everything at once, which will likely feel overwhelming, start with one technique or one form. Ask an instructor or another black belt for help. Watch videos online. Move on to the next technique when you are able to perform the first one without any guidance or prompts.

Sometimes you have to do things in martial arts that you don’t enjoy as much but you still have to do due to tradition, class schedules, and keeping your practice well-rounded. Martial arts may be the hardest thing you do, but it shouldn’t feel like drudgery. Think about what you don’t enjoy as much in class or what you dread doing, and try to figure out why you avoid it. Perhaps you don’t like it because you’re not very skilled ( yet ), you don’t do it very often, you find it stressful, or you simply find it boring.

Challenge yourself. Find the “fun” in something that has simply felt like work. It’s easy to get better at something you enjoy and you’re naturally good at doing. Just think of how it will feel when you make improvements in an area where you have continuously struggled.

Leveraging your strengths can help you develop skills in areas where you struggle. For example, if sparring is particularly challenging, be mindful of other times when you use blocks or strikes such as in forms or self-defense. Make them as sharp and powerful as you would in a faster-paced sparring match. Ask your instructor to incorporate quick reaction drills into classes. Attend extra sparring classes, and if you are a black belt or higher ranking, attend lower ranking sparring classes and offer to coach or referee. Teaching a skill can help you make vast improvements in your own practice.


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