Monday, August 11, 2014

Hakushinkai Girls: Mizuki Inoue and Yukari Yamaguchi

With a stable full of young fighters, the relatively unknown gym Hakushinkai has had a very productive August, as two of their fighters brought home championships. At 19, Mizuki Inoue brought home the Deep Jewels Championship and a 16 Yukari Yamaguchi won the 48kg Girls S-Cup Tournament. Both Championships are prestigious and both girls looked very impressive in-route to those victories. In an interview, Mizuki talked about her coach a little bit. Her coach, holding a Karate background, believes that if you want to be the best fighter, you must be able to compete in MMA. Like many fighters, Coach Yamaguchi was affected by the Gracies, in that he saw Minoki Ichihara, a Karate fighter, get defeated by Royce Gracie. This loss is probably the main influence for his ideas regarding MMA. As a result, the Hakushinkai Karate students also train in grappling and compete in a variety of combat sports.

Photo Courtesy of Lady Go!
Turning 20 this month, Mizuki Inoue is one of the senior students at Hakushinkai. As one of the seniors, a lot of people didn't know what to expect when she started competing professionally. Now we know that Mizuki possesses some of the best technical striking in the sport and has a very underrated ground game. Having broken her leg, Mizuki was forced to train with only her hands for a time, and as a result her boxing is especially refined. However despite her striking prowess, all of her MMA finishes have come via submission. Having stated that she wants MMA, Shoot Boxing and Kickboxing titles, Mizuki is now 2/3's the way finished; having competed in and won the Girls S-Cup 2 times and having won the Deep Jewels 115 Championship over the weekend. I've had the opportunity to see Mizuki fight several times and there is something about her. She picks fighters apart with stiff jabs and straight rights to the body that seem to break them. Having defeated 2 of the TUF 20 contestants, her age and language ability kept her off of the show. With her Title victory over the weekend. DJ's Saeki stated that promotions have been contacting him about Mizuki and that her next fight will most likely be outside of Japan.

Courtesy of Lady Go!
At 16, Yukari has more experience that a lot of her opponents and represents the new-generation of martial artists. As the daughter of Hakushinkai's coach, she's been practicing Kyokushin Karate for over 13 years, Kickboxing for 10 and BJJ for 7. Under her father's guidance, she's been training 6 days a week since elementary school. She stated in an interview her philosophy towards training, "I've never thought about quitting. If you don't train hard, you can't win championships, so I train hard." Like Mizuki, Yukari is an excellent striker. As an ambidextrous fighter, she is able to fight naturally in both stances. She started out Orthodox, switched to Southpaw, switched back to Orthodox and is now back in Southpaw. Though predominately right-handed outside of the ring, she prefers to use her left in some instances, like using chopsticks.  Having gone 3-0 in Kickboxing/Shootboxing and having competed in a number of grappling events, Yukari seems to be following the same path as Mizuki and it's just a matter of time before she makes her MMA debut.

Courtesy of Kinya Hashimoto

Here is a video of them competing at a grappling event 2 years ago.
Fast forward to the 29 minute mark to see the beginning of Yukari's match, Mizuki's match follows it immediately.

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