Osaka, Japan – Since Tri-Force Osaka does not open Mondays, I decided to train in another gym in Osaka. As my friend, Naoki, recommended, I dropped by a Shooto/MMA gym in Namba, which is another shopping and nightlife district next to Dotonbori. The gym focuses on Shooto, which is a mixed martial arts championship in Japan. My teacher, Vitor Shaolin, held the Shooto welterweight title in the past.
Please don’t forget to follow me on Instagram for recent updates: @jwwseo
Osaka is a city located in the west of Tokyo and the closest airport is Kansai Airport (KIX). The city is known for its cuisines, shopping malls and historical sites including Osaka Castle and Shitennō-ji Temple. The city itself is easily accessible via subway systems. However, please be cautious that not all subway lines are owned by the same company which means you might have to buy another subway ticket in order to transfer. Also, note that taxis are extremely pricey in Japan (Initial fee = ~$6 USD).
BLOWS had a variety of classes including kickboxing, MMA, and BJJ (Gi & No-gi) classes. The gym offers classes in the morning (10:00–12:30) and in the evening (18:00–23:00). I had a chance to take an MMA beginner’s and BJJ (Gi & No-gi) class on Monday. Although the head instructor, Takashi Nakakura who was the former Shooto welterweight champion, did not speak fluent English, he paid close attention to each individual student’s techniques and provided meaningful feedback.
The beginner’s MMA class was focused on takedowns. The technique covered by this class could easily translate to no-gi. The class consisted of an extended warm-up and 3 related takedown drills. BLOWS’ BJJ class was both taught in gi and no-gi simultaneously and you can decide what to wear to the class. The instructor modified the same techniques to fit into each style. As the majority of students were focused on competing in MMA, No-gi students were more prevalent in BLOWS.
Please note that this gym does not mainly focus on BJJ. I could easily tell that students at BLOWS prefer striking and MMA classes by the number of students in each class.
If you would like to train in a different environment in Osaka, you should visit BLOWS. Several students were active MMA competitors who could provide different perspective for your Jiu-Jitsu game.
After training at BLOWS, I was invited to a local BJJ competition by Evan, who is a blue belt at BLOWS. The competition was held by several local gyms in the Kansai region. You never know what opportunities will open up unless you try something new!
BLOWS is located in the heart of Namba/Dotonbori area. It is near the Namba (Midosuji Line, Yotsubashi, line & Sen-Nichimae line) or Nipponmbashi (Sakaisuji line & Sen-Nichimae line) subway station. From these stations, you can easily walk to the gym. You could easily spot the gym sign and it is located on the 6th floor of the building. (Google Map: Link)
BLOWS has 3 separate training areas: A boxing ring, a lifting & heavy bag area and an open training area. The gym itself is small but has everything you need to train. It has a locker room and two showers equipped with shampoo and body soap.
BLOWS has classes every day. As mentioned, classes are offered in the morning (10:00–12:30) and in the evening (18:00–23:00). Only morning classes are offered on Sunday. Please see below for the detailed schedule:
There was no official drop-in fee posted on their website. However, one day drop-in fee was 4,000 yen (~$36 USD)
<<Exchange Rate: 1000Yen =~$8.9 USD as of November 26th, 2017>>
Things to Do around the Gym
- Shitennō-ji Temple — The oldest Buddhist Temple in Japan which was constructed about 1400 years ago.
- Osaka Castle — One of the most famous landmarks built in 1597.
- Dōtonbori — If you enjoy shopping and nightlife, this district is filled with restaurants/bars and duty-free shops. One of the main tourist destinations in Osaka.
<<The famous Glico Man in Dotonbori>>
- Takoyaki — A Japanese ball-shaped street snack made with a flavored batter filed with octopus.
- Okonomiyaki — Osaka is known for this savory pancake. It uses a similar batter as Takoyaki, but it is a pancake shape and can be filled with different toppings (pork belly, shrimp, green onions, vegetables, etc.)
- Sushi — Self-explanatory. You are in Japan. Get some high quality sushi.