Off The Mat With A BJJ Black Belt: Shinya Aoki

Shinya Aoki is considered to be one of the top submission artists in the world of MMA and is in Singapore with the Evolve Fight Team preparing for his title defense against Filipino lightweight Eduard “Landslide” Folayang at ONE Championship’s November 11 event, “Defending Honor.”

The Jiu-Jitsu Times caught up with Shinya to talk about his upcoming title defense.

Here is what he had to tell us.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Shinya, you are one of the top Japanese fighters and you carry a great tradition of Japanese martial artists. How long have you been training at Evolve MMA in Singapore? Coming from Japan, why did you move to the Evolve Fight Team in Singapore?

Shinya Aoki: I’ve been training at Evolve MMA for about five years now. It all started when Evolve called me for a seminar. I trained for a week here before deciding to make it my training home. Evolve is well known in Asia and around the world. Few places boast a stronger Muay Thai programme than Evolve, and I thought it would be great to train with all these Muay Thai superstars. There are also some strong BJJ champions and practitioners here.

Shinya Aoki Submission Highlights 

Jiu-Jitsu Times: You are known as a submission specialist with 16 wins in professional MMA by submission. Submissions are more difficult to get in MMA now that everyone trains BJJ, so how to you continue to submit your opponents?

Shinya Aoki: Frankly, I don’t employ any special techniques. I’m simply sure of my submission skills, especially after fighting for more than a decade.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How is attacking submissions different in MMA than in BJJ or ADCC? What submission secret or strategy can you share with Jiu-Jitsu Times readers?

Shinya Aoki: I’d say it’s easier to get submissions in MMA because it uses more movements. Getting a submission is all about a good position. That’s the most important strategy I would say.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: How did you come to be famous for flying submissions? What is your favorite submission attack? What fighters or coaches inspired you when you were a young fighter?

Shinya Aoki: My favourites are the armbar and rear naked choke. I can’t single out a particular person who has inspired me.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Can you describe a typical training day (or week) for you in preparing for a MMA fight? (ex. nutrition, conditioning, striking, grappling etc.)

Shinya Aoki: I have morning and afternoon training sessions every weekday. My coaches and I incorporate both striking and grappling in each session. When it comes to nutrition, I just stay away from unhealthy foods, maintain a clean eating lifestyle, not even a cheat day or meal.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Do you prepare a strategy for each specific opponent or do you fight the same way, no matter who is in the cage with you? What is your mental attitude in preparing to face a dangerous opponent who wants to take your ONE title?

Shinya Aoki: Yes, every fighter is the same. Preparation is similar. Once the body is prepared, the mind will naturally follow. That’s what I’ve learnt from my long career.

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Jiu-Jitsu Times: How is your training camp going and what can the fans expect from you in this fight? What do you know about your opponent Eduard Folayang?

Shinya Aoki: He’s a tough fighter overall, a good fighter. So I’m happy that training camp has progressed really well. All I want is to put on a good show for the spectators in Singapore.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Are there any sponsors, coaches, training partners that you wish to thank?

Shinya Aoki: My coaches at Evolve MMA are invaluable, and I want them to know that I hope to return the hours of work they’ve put in, in order to help me prepare for this fight. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.


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