When we talk about martial arts, the first name that comes to our mind is of Bruce Lee who, through his work, has left a mark on martial arts. Even after his death, he is extremely popular around the world and his skills and talent have made him utterly unforgettable. Bruce Lee’s overarching passion and rigorous approach made him a natural martial artist. Some people considered him an actor, for some, he was a fighter, but in reality, he was both. Bruce Lee is now considered as an icon and the pioneer of martial arts due to his contributions.
.. Bruce Lee created a framework for the next generation and inspired many martial artists globally. One such martial artist who followed the footsteps of Bruce Lee and made numerous contributions in the field of martial arts is Nobuo Yagai. Yagai was born on 12th January, 1977 in Japan and is a famous certified master fitness instructor and martial artist. He was just six-year-old when he started his training in martial arts. Over the years, Yagai has met many famous martial arts experts because of his interest in Kendo, a modern version of Japanese samurai-like martial arts. When he was 16, he had the opportunity to learn from Makoto Nakamura Dojo, the world Kyokushin champion. Yagai received his degree of BA in Law and International Relations from the Kobe Gakuin University, from where he learnt Japanese traditional martial arts Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu. After graduation, Yagai went on a travelling spree throughout Asia and received training from the likes of Joko Ninomiya.
Currently, Yagai is the member of Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) and the performance enhancement specialist and corrective exercise specialist at the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). To enhance his knowledge and skill of martial arts, he moved to Denver, Colorado, where he teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu at an academy. Yagai wants to utilize his expertise and knowledge of martial arts for the benefit of future generations. According to Yagai, martial arts is an artistic expression which provides mental, physical and spiritual benefits. Therefore, his training is based on combat skills and physical fitness training which calms the spirit and mind. In 1997, he won the Sanda of Japan, which is a standing base full contact chute fighting mixed martial arts technique. This victory was a stepping stone of Yagai’s career because after this win, he was accepted as an apprentice by the legend of martial arts community, Joko Ninomiya. Training with Joko Ninomiya also provided Yagai with the opportunity to travel to America, where he could fully concentrate and focus on his martial arts training.
Yagai has a very decorative and illustrious career depicted by the black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Rigan Machado, a Black belt from Kodokan Judo Institute, and a 2nd Degree black belt in Karate from Joko Ninomiya. The International Brazilian jiujitsu Federation Pan-Ams also awarded him with three bronze medals. His other awards and accomplishments include Japanese National Sanda Champion Open weight (1997), 3rd position at the World Full Contact Karate Sabaki Challenge Lightweight championship (2002), ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil (2003), Pancrase U.S. National Flyweight Submission Wrestling Champion (2004), a bronze medal at the IBJJF Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Featherweight championship (2005), a bronze medal at the IBJJF Pan-American Jiu-Jitsu Light Featherweight championship (2011), the 1st Jiu Jitsu World League Black Belt Adult Light Feather Champion (2015), JJWL International Mr. Olympia BJJ Championship (2015), a bronze medal at the IBJJF Pan Jiu Jitsu Light Feather weight Championship (2017), a silver medal at the USA Judo American National Master championship (2021), and 5th position in USA Judo American National Senior championship (2022). He has participated in various competitions such as ADCC, Abu Dhab Pro, jiujitsu World League and USA Judo National.
While setting the records in wrestling grounds, Yagai did not hold back rather further diversified his skillset. As an exemplary author, he also wrote the books, Warrior in the Garden in 2019 and Guerrero En El Jardinm (Spanish edition) in 2021. Yagai is a very famous name in the field of martial arts and has trained a lot of law enforcement officers, active and retired military officers including special forces and Pro MMA fighters. He has also trained Jarome Iginla, a six-time NHL All-Star. He has attended seminars in various countries such as Japan, Israel and Korea. According to Yagai, mental health is as important as physical health.
A successful martial artist like Nobuo Yagai continuously works towards accumulating and acquiring the experience and knowledge for the betterment of others. Such martial artists become the beacon of bravery, resilience, and persistence, setting an example for the world. Further, they provide us with different tools and techniques that can help resolving conflicts within ourselves, in our lives, and ultimately around the world.