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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — If you’re going to try full-contact Shooto fighting, prepare for pain.

It’s the kind of sport where your blood type is posted next to your height and weight.

“Whenever you have a fight, there’s a 90 percent chance that you’re going to come out with some damage,” says Jason Symak, who tried it … and liked it.

“But Shooto is about conquering your own fear and doing something not too many people want to do.”

Symak — as the Single Sailor Liberty Program coordinator — is now bringing Shooto to Yokosuka Naval Base in the form of Ryan Bow. Bow, a professional Shooto fighter, was to conduct the first free two-hour seminar Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Spectrum Center. He’ll do one lesson a month for the next three months, and can teach up to 300 people a pop, Symak said.

Ten lucky volunteers can actually spar and participate in each class, he said.

“We’ll be adhering to all of the safety guidelines,” Symak said.

Bow devotes the first hour to stand-up striking training, such as punches and kicks. Ground fighting leads the second hour, with submission and grappling techniques.

Bow, 27, from Grand Rapids, Mich., is the only foreigner in Japan to graduate from amateur to professional in the Shooto style. He has been in Japan since 1997 and speaks Japanese fluently.

Translated, Shooto means “Learn Combat” from the Japanese characters “shu” and “to.” It started in the 1980s as the brainchild of Satoru Sayama in Japan, who wanted to combine live competition with fast martial arts execution. It borrows from judo, karate, Muay Thai and other martial arts. Bouts consist of two five-minute rounds.

Though Shooto is gaining popularity around the world, Japan provides a unique forum to learn the basics, Symak said.

“Japan is the fighting mecca of the world,” Symak said. “This will give our patrons a taste of something they might not get a chance to see again.”


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