Sakura’s fight in Pancrase, cultural comparisons

Sakura is one of my best friends. On Sunday, I rushed to Pancrase in Differ Ariake after work to watch her fight and support her.

Unfortunately, she got arm-barred in the first round. She had trained so hard and really worked to improve herself. She joined the AACC but can’t get an official gym membership because she doesn’t have a credit card, so she has to pay 30 dollars every day to train. Imagine that? I want to help her so bad. And when she fights, as all fighters are, she is alone in the ring. The cornerman can say everything, but the fighter has to do it. :/

I’m really upset about her weight thing. First of all, Sakura used to fight at 52 kilos (115 lbs) and walked around heavier, and cut to 115. Then she started taking fights at 49 kilos (109 lbs) which I hated, because I didn’t feel it was healthy for her. She starved herself, and didn’t listen to me. I think this fight was 47? That’s 103 pounds, people. She was 2 lbs over for the weigh-ins.

Pancrase made a rule, stating that even if she WON, the match would be called a non-contest. So what the HELL Is the point of fighting, if there’s no way she can win the match? -_-; I wonder how that would fly in the US. I really upset at Pancrase, but in reality, she shouldn’t have accepted that fight if she couldn’t make the weight. 🙁 Damnit, she was better at her opponent in striking! She made a critical error on the ground.

There are big financial penalties, too. Even if she WON, not only would she NOT get paid, but she’d have to pay. In the States, you’d just get docked a percentage but get some money, right? Not in Japan. You’re minus cash.

So after the fight, there was a lot of apologizing going on to the AACC members. I found out that she’s afraid of making the AACC look bad, and that she better win and show what she learned at the AACC next time.

So that’s the way Japanese do things, huh. I mean, I feel like in the USA, the blame all falls on the individual, not the team. Is that right?

I was chatting with Ayaka Sunday between rounds. I told her I was considering joining the AACC….I yearn to call some place “my team.” But if I had, and then I lost to Hashi, does that mean I would have dishonored the AACC? :O So since I’m officially ‘freelance’ the AACC’s reputation is “safe?” Plus, I want to be free to train at various places…I just talked to another Japanese friend who said that’s not the case. Hmmm but I get the sense it is?

Even ex-patriots who’ve lived in Japan for a long time will tell you that we can never 100% fully understand customs and mid-sets in Japan. It’s like, the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know. @_@;;; When in Japan, you gotta do what the Japanese do. Like it or not. If you’re new to Japan, you can get by and pass it off as being a bumbling foreigner. But for me who knows the language, well, knowing customs and appropriate behavior comes with it.

Living here in Japan is sometimes like trying to put together a puzzle, but you don’t know the final picture, and nobody’s telling you if you’re doing it right or not.

Back to Pancrase, certain people were shouting really mean things from the audience at her. I knew those people, and like them and respect (respected) them, so I got REALLY REALLY angry. I got so angry that it tired me out trying to hold in all my emotions. I wrote an angry Tweet and then erased it. I shouldn’t get involved in other people’s issues….

Soccer-ball kicks to the head of a downed opponent were fine; if someone is on hands and knees, they are considered standing, so knees to the head are okay, GNP is fine, downward elbows or something were okay? I was kind of surprised to see people delivering those strikes.

Bottom Line: Sakura is one of my best friends, and I’ll support her to eternity and beyond, forever and ever. Sakura works ridiculously hard. I just want to see her reach her goals.