Katsuyori Shibata is the head trainer at NJPW‘s LA Dojo. He has also recently been involved in an angle where KENTA turned his back on him and the rest of the LA Dojo after training him to get ready for the G1. The students from the LA Dojo will be competing in the Young Lion Cup in Japan which kicked off today from Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall.
Shibata spoke to NJPW1972.com about his work in the dojo and the Young Lion Cup.
“It’s exciting. I really wanted this to happen. To have my students go to Japan and test themselves there, that was one big step, a goal of mine that we’ve achieved,” he said during the interview.
Shibata would continue to say that the matches had by Karl Fredericks and Clark Connors on the G1 tour in Japan helped pave the way to them entering the Young Lion Cup.
“I think those performances really played a big part in them getting entered into the Young Lion Cup. I’ve been really hard on them for the past year, but that’s paid off. These guys aren’t half-assing it.”
Shibata also addressed what is different about the type of training he puts his students through.
“I mean, I haven’t been teaching them anything other than the fundamentals. Nothing more at all. I haven’t taught them how to throw elbows, anything like that. The strict fundamentals, taught in a strict way.”
Shibata spoke specifically on Clark Connors during the interview as well:
“(Connor’s) changed a lot since he started. He looks different, he’s gotten bigger. He was really small when he started. All the guys in the dojo were chosen from a training camp we had when it fist opened. We reached out to the guys who had the most promise, and Clark was the first one we called.”
He also addressed Karl Fredericks’ decision to join the LA Dojo.
“He came with experience too. I guess I can say this? He was called by another major company as well, and went through their camp,” Shibata said. “But there, he asked himself whether he could really do what he wanted. When he did our camp, he decided ‘this is where I should be’.”
The full interview can be read here.