(This is an interview series where elementary school students meet their favorite athletes and celebrities)
Asuka Watanabe, one of the correspondents, were influenced by her father, who is a fan of pro-wrestling. She describes Ibushi, “Out of the ring, he’s usually very quiet, but in the ring, he uses moves like a superman.” She interviewed Ibushi with her bother, Yoshihiko.
Yoshihiko: What made you get into the pro-wrestling world?
Ibushi: When I was in the fifth grade, I saw a pro-wrestling video which my bother had. I was so fascinated, like, ‘I’ve never seen a world like this.’ After that, my life became all about pro-wrestling. The first time I did backflip was when I was in elementary, and some of the moves I use today were the ones I created at that time, too. Pro-wrestling helped me with everyday life. For example, when I got injured, or I got stuck in studies, I asked myself, ‘How would my hero, the Great Sasuke, handle this situation?’
Yoshihiko: What was your favorite school lunch?
Ibushi: I always loved curry rice. Now I like to drink Coca-Cola and eat cheese.
Asuka: That sounds fattening.
Ibushi: When I eat junk food, it motivates me to exercise. If I only eat healthy food, it makes me lazy, because I think I don’t have to exercise. So, for me, it works to eat high-calorie food, sometimes. Maybe it’s the opposite of how everyone else does it.
Asuka: You say that you were always a shy boy.
Ibushi: I had anxiety about speaking in public, I think that came from low self-esteem. But pro-wrestling gave me confidence in myself, so I overcame it.
Yoshihiko: Do you always get nervous before you get in the ring?
Ibushi: Yes, I get the same nerves when I fight in front of 100 people or big venues, like the Tokyo Dome. But it keeps me aware, and helps me to avoid getting injured.
Asuka: What do you do when you don’t feel like training?
Ibushi: When I feel like that in the gym, I just lie down in the ring and do nothing for a while. But sometimes new moves come from these moments. Nothing is wasted. Even when I hurt myself, I learn something new from it. There’s always something meaningful. Nothing is wasted in life.
After the interview…
Yoshihiko: He was friendlier than I thought.
Asuka: He was awesome. I was surprised how hard his muscles felt, when he let me touch them.