Saturday, September 18, 2010

Interview with Megumi Fujii and Ayaka Hamazaki

Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamazaki
Sportsnavi posted an interview today with Megumi Fujii and her number one protege Ayaka Hamazaki. Of course in Japan, Megumi is more than the top female MMA fighter in the world. She is revered as a pioneer in women's martial arts because she broke through barriers as an amateur and as a martial arts instructor long before she turned to pro MMA. And this is the first interview I have seen with Ayaka and I know you want to more about her. The interview took place at the Aug. 29 SHOOT BOXING show so Megumi was not aware of the date of her Bellator semi final match against Lisa Ward and Ayaka was not aware of the changes to the JEWELS Lightweight tournament. Megumi was asked about her Bellator first round match against Carla Esparza. Megumi said she didn't know about the opponent change until she arrived in Florida. She says she didn't change her preperation and she found out more about Carla from Josh Barnett. She says she changed her tactics a little bit because Carla is an All American wrestler but not significantly. She was confident of victory regardless. Then the next night she cornered Hitomi Akano at the Strikeforce tournament in Phoenix. Though Hitomi's loss in the final was disappointing, she was very pleased with Hitomi's overall performance.

Megumi Fujii, Ayaka Hamazaki
Now the interviewer turns his attention to Ayaka Hamazaki. After a little kibbitzing with Megumi, Ayaka is asked when she first went to AACC to train. She says it was 2 1/2 years ago. She is friends with another of Megumi's students Rina Tomita and knew about MMA. She trained in judo in high school and college but stopped training after graduating from college and started working in an office. It was a year and a half later that she came to AACC. She was not aware of women's MMA but as she trained more she became interested in trying it. It's fun for her. Megumi says she doesn't try to convince any of her students to become pro fighters. If any of them want to try it, they come to her. Megumi says that Ayaka has strong judo skills and it goes from there. She teaches her all the tricks. And she gets a lot of satisfaction from Ayaka's success. Megumi seems to enjoy that more than her own success. Ayaka's main hobby is riding her motorcycle. The two joke about some of her adventures. Ayaka says she is training hard for the December Korakuen Hall show and would like to fight in the US. And Megumi says her goal is to be a role model to inspire other women to train in martial arts. A great interview with two great fighters.

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