John “King” Kage and Johnny “Karate Kid” Kao have been competing in Japan since 1994 and they have been the only two men to win the world’s longest-running karate tournament.
They are both retired from the sport but are still on the road to become the best karate masters in the world.
Kage is now a full-time commentator on Spike TV’s The Ultimate Fighter, while Kao is an instructor at a karate school.
But while the pair are currently on different paths to becoming the best in the business, they share a common goal: getting a tattoo.
Kages latest tattoo was a photo of himself and Kao standing next to the former’s head.
“We wanted to give them the ultimate goal,” Kage said of his tattoo.
“I wanted to have a tattoo of myself and Kaos head on his back.”
A tattoo is an artistic expression of an individual’s identity.
Kao said his tattoo is a tribute to the karate world, a way to keep in touch with the past and celebrate the accomplishments of the men and women who trained and competed in the sport.
He said he wants to keep Kage’s image as the best ever karate fighter alive and in the minds of his followers.
KAGE: I want to keep the name of the best, as long as there is a man who has a kata that’s even better than mine, so I want my name to stand tall, Kao told Business Insider.
KAI: I wanted to make Kage a symbol of the greatest karate of all time.
It’s a huge honor to have been a part of that legacy.
The tattoo is Kage wearing the classic karate kata, the kata Kao fought in.
KAA: I have never had a katsu in my life, so to be able to wear this kata is so special, KAA said.
Kage’s tattoo is the first of several new karate tattoos that will be on display during the UFC Fight Night card in Los Angeles, CA.
He also has a new tattoo on his left shoulder that features the Japanese character うろいろけ.
KANGA: I got a tattoo that says うおなことないときっぱい, which means “A new day begins.”
KAA (via Facebook): I just got a new kata for my left shoulder tattoo that I made by hand. KAGA: いつのものかないのから, which is a katas kanji for “You got to start from zero.”
Kao’s tattoo will also be part of the official UFC Fight Nights merchandise line that includes new fighters and items such as clothing and shirts.
The tattoo will be available in a variety of colors.
KAGA (via Instagram): I love my tattoo, and it looks like a Japanese character!
I will be wearing it with a red shirt in the fight tonight, KAGS Instagram caption reads.
“The tattoo was done by hand and in an attempt to honor the men, women and fans of the UFC who have been so important to me,” Kager said in a statement to Business Insider last week.
“The tattoo on my shoulder is an expression of my love for the sport and the fighter who wears it.
The fighter is me, and the tattoo represents the power of the martial arts.”KAGE: This is my tattoo for a new day starts in the ring, KAGE said.
It will be worn in a fight tonight and it will be a symbol to the fans of MMA.
It represents that we are alive and kicking and are all connected to each other.