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Ken Yasuda, Pro Bodybuilder & MMA Coach - Background & MMA Workout!

Yasuda, who is a Pro Bodybuilder and MMA Coach, was born in Kyoto. Learn about this exceptional individual's accomplishments which include training pro MLB players and MMA fighters. Bonus MMA workout included!

For more info on the International Fight League check out www.ifl.tv.

Ken Yasuda has never been just average at anything. The man some call "Japan's Arnold Schwarzenegger" does everything with complete focus and dedication. Now that he's the coach of the Tokyo Sabres in the International Fight League - the world's first team-based mixed martial arts organization - his fighters are finding out that Yasuda knows what it takes to be a champion, no matter what the sport.

Born in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto, Yasuda comes from a family that boasts 46 generations of samurai warriors. One look at his build, which is by all accounts uncommonly proportional and symmetrical, especially for Japanese men, confirms that Yasuda springs from a strong genetic line.


Baseball Dreams

But growing up in Japan, it was baseball, and not bodybuilding or pro fighting, that Yasuda wanted to make his mark in. He set his sights on the major leagues, and was even drafted by an MLB team, though he chose to play at the University of Southern California and earn a college degree first.

It was here that his life would change forever.

    "As a pitcher from Japan, I was never considered tall or big enough in the U.S., so I started lifting weights to increase my strength," Yasuda recalls. "Mark McGwire, who used to play at USC also, would come and talk to us about the importance of lifting weights, and this inspired me. Eventually my muscularity was very good."

But just when things were looking up for Yasuda, a ligament injury to his pitching arm derailed his baseball career. His childhood dreams, what he'd dedicated his entire life to up until that point, were now shattered. His life suddenly had no direction.

Where weaker men would have broken, Yasuda only grew stronger.

Yasuda
Click Image To Enlarge.
Ken Yasuda.

    "After my injury, I wanted to learn everything I could about the body and about nutrition and physiology," said Yasuda. "I found that I really loved bodybuilding. It's competing against yourself and testing yourself, trying to accomplish things you never knew you were capable of."


A New Pursuit

Yasuda quickly found that he was capable of a great deal in the sport of bodybuilding. He dedicated himself full-time to that pursuit, eventually becoming the first Japanese to become a Musclemania Professional Bodybuilder.

In addition, Yasuda has been a finalist in several other top bodybuilding competitions, such as Excalibur and the Superbody World Championships, and is a favorite to win the next Musclemania after defeating Mr. Universe, Mr. USA and Mr. France.

Oh yeah, and he still finds time to coach a professional fight team, not to mention training former MMA champions like Tucson Scorpions coach Don Frye and Pride veteran Kazuyuki Fujita.

So what can a pro bodybuilder bring to the fight game, anyway?

    "What's lacking in a lot of fighters and generally in professional sports is the knowledge of conditioning," Yasuda said. "They can work on practicing their skills, but they don't know enough about how to reach their top conditioning at the time of the event. It helps to enhance their physical abilities and to prevent injuries, so that's what I focus on."

Yasuda
Click Image To Enlarge.
Ken Yasuda, Pro Bodybuilder.

Yasuda cites as evidence the number of mixed martial arts heavyweights who struggle with injuries and conditioning problems. Fujita, a heavyweight long under Yasuda's tutelage, displays the kind of agility and endurance that Yasuda wants to bring to all his Sabres fighters.

Did You Know?
Light heavy-weight Kazuhiro Hamanaka is the only fighter returning from last year's squad, with most other fighters contracted to new organizations.

    "Fujita, he's two hundred and fifty pounds, but he can do flips," Yasuda said. "He has amazing muscular endurance. He can exert himself throughout a fight and still not lose strength, which is what a fighter needs."

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Besides his knowledge of strength and conditioning training, Yasuda also works to instill in the minds of his fighters the same samurai mentality that propelled his bodybuilding career.

This is the attitude that Yasuda has brought to the IFL's Tokyo Sabres in preparation for the 2007 season, and they'll certainly need his help if they are to succeed in an MMA league deep with talent.

Though Pat Miletich's Quad Cities Silverbacks have dominated the IFL so far, winning the first ever World Team Championship December 29, the new season starts for Yasuda's Sabres February 2.

It's then that the Tokyo squad will take on Yasuda's former student, Don Frye, and his Tucson Scorpions at Houston's Reliant Arena. It will no doubt be a tough test for the Sabres; Frye is known for producing hard-nosed fighters.

Sabers
Click Image To Enlarge.
Yasuda's Sabres.

It's a good thing for the Sabres that they have a samurai warrior for a coach.

Editor's Note:
The Sabres won their match against the Scorpions 3-2.


Yasuda Biography

Born in the ancient Japanese city of Kyoto to a family that boasts 46 generations of samurai warriors, Ken Yasuda is a man who has accomplished big things in every field he's entered. As a child Yasuda dreamed of becoming a pro baseball player, and was drafted as a pitcher by a major league team after high school.

Yasuda chose instead to play baseball at the University of Southern California, where he developed a love of weightlifting and physical conditioning from fellow USC alum Mark McGwire.

An injury to his pitching arm eventually forced Yasuda to abandon his dreams of pitching in the major leagues, and where many men would have succumbed to hopelessness, Yasuda picked up the pieces and became one of the world's top bodybuilders.

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He credits his injury with motivating him to learn everything he could about physiology and muscular development, something he passes on to his team.

Yasuda has trained MMA stars such as Scorpions coach Don Frye and Pride standout Kazuyuki Fujita, as well as MLB all-star Ichiro Suzuki. He brings a hard-nosed, highly philosophical approach to his Sabres, demanding total commitment from all his fighters.

Did You Know?
As of August 2006, the Sabres were 1-5 in the International Fight League.


MMA Workout

MMA Workout Program:

This is Ken's basic program for beginner MMA fighters trying to build the necessary blend of strength and endurance that they'll need in the ring. Obviously, sparring sessions are important too, but this is just the in the gym stuff.

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For more info on the International Fight League check out www.ifl.tv.

2007 IRON MAN FITEXPO

The Sabres At The 2007 Iron Man FitExpo:

    The world top ranking mixed martial artists, the IFL-The Sabres, will appear at FitExpo. The seminars will be a Q&A format and the attendees can openly ask any questions they have on conditioning/strengthening/skills/practice directly to the MMA pros! The Sabres will explain "How the pros train and practice" in detail and how Conditioning & Strengthening must be done correctly by combining with diet/nutrition and observing what is necessary for each individual.

Ben Fowlkes

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