Sitting Down with Kickboxing Prodigy, Asking Worldwide Challenge ASTERISM vs Tenshin Nasukawa

Set the "Battle Music" as a team and having table talk with fighting young athletes. For our sophomore title, Kickboxing prodigy Tenshin Nasukawa is in the house.

ASTERISM is a heavy metal instrumental band, with members of an average age of 16, that is set to release their first worldwide album, "Ignition", produced by the one and only Bootsy Collins. 

They had a table talk with THE Tenshin Nasukawa, who has become a RISE featherweight champion and ISKA Oriental rule World bantamweight champion at 20 years old. Nasukawa, who has next match against Kyoji Horiguchi at RIZIN.13 is approaching, MIYU, bass player of the ASTERISM is way too hyped since she is a fan of fighting sport and the one to ask him questions regarding worldwide challenge.

Japanese version

Turns out, Japan or Worldwide there's no difference. -Nasukawa


Kickboxer - Tenshin Nasukawa


HAL-CA : How did you feel when you were first on world stage?

Nasukawa : I've never thought it matters that if it's Japan or Worldwide. Whoever has the most wins is the best and that's how I always feel. 

HAL-CA : So you're saying you don't feel any difference challenging worldwide?

Nasukawa : No, not at all. Whoever stays true to themselves wins. Of course competing for a world title is difficult, but I've never thought it was an impossible task. There are physical differences among foreign competitors and they are very skillful but I have tricks that they don't. My fighting style has always been to embrace my own skills.

If you train like you can win against anyone, you can get through any scenario, which allows me to remain calm during the fight. Having the ability to respond when I am in a difficult situation is very important and I'm sure it's common with music. 

HAL-CA : That's true. But I'm often too focus on "Challenging the World!" and...

Nasukawa : You should feel like that in the beginning. I was the same way like "I'm debuting on the world stage" but in the end, there's no difference. It didn't matter.

MIO : Since you have been continuously winning, the stakes are so high and there is tremendous pressure, I'm sure. How do you overcome these challenges? 

Nasukawa : The thing is I've never felt the pressure. I guess I'm genuinely optimistic, I don't feel much stress, I'm a "life is turning if I want to" type of guy. If I think too much, that would affect my performance, so I think it's good to have these silly thoughts.


To Be Able to Continue is One of Talent -Nasukawa


This table talk was held at TEPPEN GYM where Nasukawa's management team is located. Members of ASTERISM are slightly nervous due to the intense sound of mitts beating, resonating throughout the bloody, sweaty training arena.


Nasukawa : I've listened to your music. That's incredible considering your age. I've played the guitar once before. 

HAL-CA : Really?

Nasukawa : Just during music class when I was in school. So I can at least play "Kaeruno-Uta". LOL. But it's amazing how intensely you play it. I can't wait to see how you're gonna turn out. 

HAL-CA : I'm so flattered. 

Nasukawa : I've started fighting since I was 5 years old, how old were you when you first started? 

HAL-CA : I started playing drums when I was 7 then started playing guitar when I was 10.

MIO : I've been playing drums since I was 6.

MIYU : I've been playing bass since I was 7.

Nasukawa : Well, it's pretty much same age. I think to be able to continue is the key, I've seen great fighters with potential get frustrated or they just quit because they're more into other things like go out having fun. Therefore, I think, to be able to stay focused and progress, is an important trait. I've had many difficulties and my dad kicked my butt every day, but it's because of my past that I'm standing strong today and glad I went through that.


Darkened the Room and Practice to Play Even If I Could Not See the Fret. -HAL-CA


Guitar - HAL-CA


--Nasukawa, you just went on an expedition in Singapore. When did you start training overseas? 

Nasukawa : I've been training in Thailand since I was in middle school. The biggest difference in training oversea is you have to fully focus on sport combative. Fighters in Japan, mostly have to balance other jobs to support their everyday life, so it's difficult to have an environment in which to just focus on sport combative. But if you are in another country, you can actually train with professional fighters without any distractions, which is a blessing.

Since we don't speak the same language, I sometimes get frustrated and mentally drained but when we speak in "fighting skills", you don't need any common verbal language. These experiences has made me strong emotionally. 

--You can have a productive environment, where you can concentrate as professional fighter when overseas. How about you, HAL-CA? How do you usually practice your guitar?

HAL-CA : I always imagine a 30-40 min live show then if I make any mistake, literally ANY mistake, I'll do it from the top until I make no mistakes. Also when you are on stage, lighting makes it hard to see the fingerboard, so I make the room dark on purpose so I can get used to play in dark without seeing fret. 

--Sounds like secret training in a comic book. LOL. MIO, the drummer and MIYU, the bass player, do you practice together since you guys are siblings?


Drums - MIO

MIO : It's kind of hard to match our spare time because of our college and high school schedules, but as soon as we get home we practice together. Whenever we can get together, we are playing drum and bass together for hours. 

MIYU : We not only practice songs, we also have sessions quite a bit. I think this has greatly increased our skills to respond cohesively to each other. 

Nasukawa : Siblings are great. I have 4 siblings and my sister is also a professional fighter, there're some things that only siblings can understand, more than I previously thought. 

MIO&MIYU : I totally agree!

--What is exactly "only siblings can understand"?

Nasukawa : For instance, we don't have to explaining certain things like the tempo of hitting the mitt, we just instantly synchronize our rhythm. 

MIO : Oh I could imagine. When we are doing a session and as soon as I feel like "maybe we should put accent here", bass naturally plays along. So I totally get what you're saying. 

--How you can establish a rhythm with your sibling is amazing! Is there any training/practice you dislike?

MIYU : When I first started I hated basic practice. LOL. It's only natural to long for flashy performance! But now I've learned that basic practice raises my technique, so I try my best to enjoy it. 

Nasukawa : Me too. I've been making much of basic training since the beginning. People who cannot do basics will never be an expert and will give themselves away eventually. 

HAL-CA : I totally agree with you! I've kept doing basic practice like fast picking to train the right hand. It's so difficult even for a minute but I keep doing it at least 10 min every day.


Triceratops Fist Will Draw Flow to My Way -Nasukawa


Bass - MIYU


MIYU : You use Triceratops Fist from the comic Baki The Grappler at the fight. Are you conscious of not only the opponent but also the crowd? 

Nasukawa : I didn't mean to make it as a performance, I'm simply trying to scare my opponent. But sometimes it ends up amped-up so much and get the crowd on my side. I think it's important to draw motivation your own way. Truth is, that Triceratops Fist is pretty tiring. LOL.

MIYU : I knew it's tiring! Maybe I should try Triceratops Fist on my live show. 

Nasukawa : People would go "WTF!?" for sure. LOL. But at the end of the day, if it's talked about, you win. 

MIYU : That's right. I want to incorporate many new things!

--Nasukawa, you tend to come with a little twist even just throwing a punch, changing one-two rhythm for instance. Is it true?



Nasukawa : You need to change up the rhythm in order to confuse your opponent, it doesn't necessary mean faster speed is better either. It's most effective to catch your opponent off guard. If I punch you in your stomach right now while we're talking, you wouldn't see that coming, right? Haven't you done that when you were in school?

MIYU : Yeah, surprised my friends by punching their shoulder kind of thing. LOL.

Nasukawa : Exactly. That's what I create during my fight. If the opponent knew it's coming, he can be endurable but if it's least expected then it's very effective. That's why I always try to read how opponent breaths and look for something they dislike, thinking what to make them uncomfortable. I know it sounds like a jerk but fool them with feint, it's kind of like game of wits. Of course you shouldn't deceive people in everyday life though. 

MIYU : I see! LOL

HAL-CA : We also focus on how to make audience surprised when we think of composition of our live show.

Nasukawa : You're making all the composition of your live show by yourselves? That's awesome. I really believe that giving the audience some surprises is much needed.


If you do it, you already win! -Nasukawa


--Catching an opponent off balance or try something new, often can be criticized at first, right?

Nasukawa : True indeed but it's a win if you're talked about. I'm aiming to do things that nobody has ever done before, therefore I often get denied and constantly told "You should quit" "That's impossible".

--It's also rare to see a kickboxer challenging mix martial arts with grappling.

Nasukawa : At first it was opposed hard by kickboxing circle. But the chairman of my gym and my father had no doubt about it and encouraged me to continue. For negative opinions, I've proved them wrong by winning. I also won the big fight two days later on New Year's Eve. (For damage recovery, it's usual to have at least one month in between the fights) At the end of the day, whoever does it first, is already a winner right then. 

HAL-CA : I'm truly craving to do things that nobody hasn't done. There's many people who can play properly without no mistake but my style is violently waving my head while I'm playing and I'm aware that it's pretty difficult. But I will keep this style to become the one and only guitar player. 

Nasukawa : That's a great challenge! People will give you negative opinions at first but once you prove them wrong, they will copy or follow your style. So people with negative opinions will lose their words. 

--"The result is everything in front of the audience!" You look pretty comfortable with your mic performance, do you prepare what to say in advance?

Nasukawa : I can't think of anything before the fight. LOL. My life is at stake in the fight, I may possibly die, you know? It offers extraordinary experiences and I get soothing sense of relief when it's finished. That leads me to let out my whole feelings. It might be in common with live show.

MIYU : We definitely go up on stage to convey our feelings with our full power, that's for sure.

Nasukawa : It's terrifying sometime but after you finish you will be filled with a sense of accomplishment and experience, overall you have much to gain. 

MIYU : That's so true. It's just feel so amazing after the live show. 

HAL-CA : ASTERISM music style is set to "Battle Music" as concept to encourage people who's battling something or whose about to face some sort of fight. Whenever I see our fans' tweet saying "I got courage at your live performance" or "I can work hard by listening ASTERISM" make me realize they get our message and that makes me extremely happy. 

--With this interview I can feel true love towards what you do. You have decided your path at quite an early age, have you ever thought of doing something else? 



Nasukawa : Not at all. I might have been given up if I was just by myself. But I have a great crew and I've never dislike fighting sports. It's great to be able to live my life with what I love as a job. Because of that I can enjoy training and don't feel any stress either. I've found my calling in fighting and nobody can do better it than I do, so I have to be grateful. 

I'm living my life representing Japanese sports combative and want to show more of the splendor of this sport in future. I want to fight against stronger opponents and of course win to move the crowd. You can count on me to make more excitement for sports combative. 

MIO : We also feel a sense of mission in playing in this band. As for me, I want to support ASTERISM's music with a precise performance. 

MIYU : Ever since I wanted to be an artist like Billy Sheehan(of Mr.Big) and started playing the bass, I often forget that time and find myself devote to bass. I believe me being a bass player is a destiny. I want to pursue performance style that breaks down the image of a conventional bass player. 

HAL-CA : I want to be the one and only guitar player that you can't look for anywhere and if I keep doing what I'm doing, I will eventually get there. 



Tenshin Nasukawa - Kickboxer
Born in August 18th, 1998
Professional achievements 26 fights 26 wins (20 K.O.)
RISE Featherweight champion (current)
ISKA Oriental rule World Bantamweight champion (current)
Just collect another win at highly anticipated match against Kyoji Horiguchi, this past September 30th at Saitama Super Arena.
Managed by TARGET/Cygames
Autography [KAKUSEI(Awakening)](¥1,500) is on sale now.





ASTERISM - HR/HM Instrumental Band




Based in Fukuoka and Saga, average age of member is 16, 3 piece band.
The 8th Music Revolution hosts by YAMAHA Music Group in 2014, they encountered to each other and made a band. Posting videos on Facebook and soon to make buzz among the world to reach one and only Bootsy Collins of JB's by legendary James Brown. Since Bootsy has shared their video "155", it has reached fifteen million views and still now raising the number. 
Major debut by 5 Tracks Album [The Session Vol.1] in 2017 distributed by Tokuma Japan Communications. 
First full album [IGNITION] has released in August 22nd, 2018.

Official Site


Text : Mariko Akechi
Photo : Great The Kabukicho
Edit : Mai Nakata
Special Thanks : TEPPEN GYM