WWE star Shinsuke Nakamura: 'I keep fighting because I'm still scared'
World Wrestling Entertainment star says he became a fighter because he wanted to change himself
He may be dubbed the King of Strong Style in the ring, but Shinsuke Nakamura is still the same vulnerable boy inside.
The 39-year-old Japanese professional wrestler from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and former mixed martial artist admitted to The New Paper: "When I was a kid, I would always cry. I was a chicken and I was scared to fight. I became a fighter because I wanted to change myself. That is why I keep fighting. It is not enough because I am still scared."
On the origin of the term "Strong Style", Florida-based Nakamura - who believes mental strength is more important than technique - said: "The founder of Japanese wrestling, Rikidozan, used the emotion of anger for wrestling. His student, and my teacher, Antonio Inoki, told me to show anger. I took that to mean showing my real emotion as my technique. It is my strong style."
Nakamura was in town on Friday last week to promote WWE Live Singapore 2019, which will be held at Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 27. He is included in the star-studded line-up which features other WWE superstars such as AJ Styles, Seth Rollins and Braun Strowman.
Nakamura first gained fame in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where he was a three-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion. He was also the youngest competitor to earn that honour, winning it for the first time at 23.
The 1.88m-tall, 104kg Kyoto native follows a gruelling training regimen to prepare for fights and maintain his physique.
On top of being skilled in Brazilian jiujitsu, judo, karate, boxing and kickboxing, he hits the gym four times a week and runs, spars and lifts weights.
When he is pressed for time, the big three compound movements - squats, bench presses and deadlifts - do the trick.
On his two days off each week and with location permitting, he enjoys surfing.
The worst injury Nakamura has sustained so far was a crack on his skull from an illegal kick to the face from a 2.1m-tall Russian kickboxer.
He took part in a second match just four days after, fully recovering in 10 days.
For Nakamura, quitting has "never crossed" his mind, and there is no off-season because he is either training or on tour.
He said: "We travel a lot which makes it hard to find time to train. We mostly do conditioning on tour. Because time is so tight, we care a lot about food."
Nakamura follows a traditional Japanese diet comprising fish, vegetables and fermented foods such as tofu and natto. He said: "I use fermented foods for conditioning as they help boost metabolism. The most important thing is balance - you need to find pluses and minuses."
Unlike many of his contemporaries, he goes by "feeling" rather than strict calorie-counting and allows himself to indulge in cravings such as ramen and rice bowls. He also enjoys spicy, oily Asian food, with his favourite Singapore dish being chicken rice.