One Championship is gaining popularity over the past years in the field of mixed martial arts. What makes it enticing across Asia is that it promotes traditional Asian styles of combat and defence. It is also an avenue for aspiring players to show their skills and capabilities.

On 31 March 2019, One Championship had its debut in Tokyo at Ryogoku Kokugikan Arena. My husband and I were fortunate to watch and enjoy the said event. Please note however that this blog is not a sports review or a reaction paper.

A Day of Many Firsts

It was a day of many firsts for us when we headed to Ryogoku. And also a good chance to see some sakura in bloom. We sometimes visit this area by bike but it was our first time to enter the Sumo Arena.

A quick Hanami (Sakura Viewing) on our way to Ryogoku Kokugikan

It was also our first chance to watch a mixed martial arts (MMA) competition.  We know about One Championship from social media and friends however,  we do not have a single clue of who the players are and how the matches go.  For us not to look so ignorant, I did some research about the event and the potential players. Through this, I got to know their inspiring stories especially Angela Lee and the Filipino fighters holding world titles in MMA. 

First time to watch MMA Competition in Tokyo

One Championship : Cheering for Asian Fighters

The Belt-at-stake welcomed the excited MMA fans

As we waited for the gates to open, loud music and excited crowd filled the air. It was very festive. It did not take us long before we can enter. And inside, flashy lights and giant screens welcomed us.

Giant screens for the audience to see each match from different angles

The event was divided into two parts. The first part was allotted for preliminary competitions with about 11 matches. And then the second part was for the world title competitions.

The intense bout line up

For each match, my husband and I chose who we will cheer at. We also tried to guess who will win. But as they say, things happen when you least expected. There were a lot of last minute surprises almost for all matches. I cheered louder for Filipino fighters but a bit torn when they have to fight against Japanese contenders. For me, it was both a win-win and a heartbreak. Please do not ask me why. I cannot also explain why I felt that particularly the match between Eduard Folayang and Shinya Aoki. It was sad to see a fellow Filipino lose a battle. But at the same time, I felt thrilled when Aoki won back his title.

The gorgeous Ring Girls add spice to each bout
Heart-dropping matches for about 7 hours. High respect to the cameramen for capturing every single punch and kick.

Overall it was more than 7 hours of adrenalin rush and excitement. We enjoyed watching and cheering for each match. The opening part of the main event was awesome. I was also amazed how suddenly a room bombarded with loud music and excited fans suddenly become very quiet every time a match starts.

An awesome intro only for World Champions

One of the good features of these event is the opening song for each player. They have their individual song and brief presentations as each enter the arena. We enjoyed watching Shinya Aoki's entrance because it is unique and very Japanese. On the other hand, I hope they will change the song for Yuya Wakamatsu and Kevin Belingon. Wakamatsu's song although it is upbeat, was not something the Japanese audience can relate to vis-a-vis the player.  As for Belingon, the music sounded very Chinese.  I hope they will choose something that when people here the song, they would have an idea where the player is from. Plus it is also one way to promote one's country. 

The grand entrance of Shinya Aoki with his own manga as background

To know more about One Championship; its players; and upcoming fights, please visit their website.