Team Lakay head coach Mark Sangiao believes they got a huge break when Japanese grappling legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki dropped by for a visit last week to train with them for a few days.
Not only did Aoki spark a friendship with old foe Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, he was also able to share some valuable grappling techniques with the entire team.
That proved to be a big help, particularly for Danny “The King” Kingad, who’s set to take on a red-hot grappler in Eko Roni Saputra at ONE Fight Night 7: Lineker vs. Andrade II on February 25 at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
“It’s a good start for us, considering that Danny’s facing a grappler. Shinya really came in at the right time, and I believe there are still a lot of big names who will be coming in,” Sangiao said.
“So watch out, expect more world champions to come in and join us on the team.”
Sangiao has been coaching for more than a decade, but even he’s amazed with all the things he learned from the Japanese legend in only a few days of training together.
In that stretch, the soft-spoken mentor saw how having one mastered technique is better than having many unmastered ones. He learned this first-hand because Aoki holds three wins over the Team Lakay camp.
“Usually we do [takedowns] through the hips, and then we go to the arms, but for him, he’s very basic. He only grabs onto one thing, he holds you, controls your head, controls your leg, and then drags you down. Looking at his fights, that’s basically his technique. He does that all the time,” he said.
“Same thing when it goes to the ground. His grips are so strong. It’s so basic, but it’s so detailed – it’s perfect execution. Once he gets a perfect hold, no matter how you defend it, you’ll definitely tap.”
Sangiao might be calling the shots in the famed Team Lakay gym now, but he’s always a student of the game first and foremost, and this is one of those times where he’s happy to sit back and absorb everything.
“I keep learning, and I’m not surprised that I still don’t know a lot of things. I’ve seen a lot in my course of coaching, in the field of grappling, but I’m very happy cause I’ve learned a lot from just one person. That’s martial arts for you,” he said.
“I’m willing to learn,” he said. “Even though I’m the coach here, I still learn. That’s the mentality we want to keep here.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES