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#51 madorosumaru

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Posted 27 June 2007 - 13:55

People often wonder why rikishi change their shikona. Here is a typical case. Dagdandorj Nyamsuren is a 25-year-old from Ulaan Baatar, who joined sumo in 2001 and, with the shikona Musashiryu, has been a makushita regular for the past three-plus years.

In Osaka this year, he reached his personal high rank of makushita 3--within hailing distance of sekitorihood. "I did plenty of keiko before the basho with Kakizoe-zeki and Bushuyama-zeki as well as the makushita guys," he said. "And I felt I was hitting really well during the basho." Despite that, he finished with a miserable 1-6 record and blew his best opportunity to advance to juryo.

After the basho, his shisho, Musashigawa Oyakata, approached him and suggested a name change. A previous rikishi from the heya with the same shikona had made it up to makushita 4 before suffering a serious injury that resulted in his intai. Maybe, the name was bad luck.

"To tell the truth, I really didn't want to change my shikona but with my record, I had very little choice." So, he agreed to the change to Shotenro (翔天狼). OK, what does the new shikona mean? Sho = soar; ten = sky; ro = wolf. So, he is now "Soaring Wolf." Yep, the wolf is a well-respected animal in Mongolia and he sure would like to soar up the banzuke. "It's a cool shikona," the young rikishi thought. "I even like the way it sounds."

The shisho said, "While you're at it, why don't you change your sumo, too." The deshi took his advice and got more aggressive on the dohyo. In Natsu Basho, he used a lot more tsuppari, which helped set up his nage moves. The victories piled up and he ended up 6-1.

In Nagoya, he is back up to makushita 9. Let's see if the auspicious effect of his shikona change continues.


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#52 madorosumaru

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 03:02

With all the hoopla surrounding new yokozuna Hakuho, overlooked is his heya-mate, Ryuo. The 24-year-old Mongolian is one year older than his more celebrated countryman. He also joined Miyagino Beya one year earlier. As such, he has been there since the very beginning of Hakuho's career and has put in countless hours of keiko against him.

All that keiko has benefited the young yokozuna greatly but at a high price to Ryuo, who among the Mongolians, is a rare tsuki/oshi rikishi. According to Kumagatani Oyakata, "Hakuho has that famous supple body. When you bang into that head-first, it gets bent backwards. When Ryuo was in makushita, the poor fellow broke his neck in two places [during keiko]. Since then, he hasn't been able to charge headlong in tachiai. That is a major disadvantage for an oshi specialist. If he could charge forward properly, he would be in sanyaku by now."

Still, Ryuo has managed to climb the ladder--albeit less spectacularly than his compatriot. Last basho, he finally reached the goal of makuuchi, and much to everyone's surprise, compiled a 10-5 record. If he had won his senshuraku bout, he would have received the Kanto-Sho.

This basho, he is the regular dew-sweeper for Hakuho's yokozuna dohyo-iri. "I really enjoy watching the dohyo-iri from up close everyday," he said. "I can see that the yokozuna is settling down gradually. As for me, if I lose too much, I wouldn't be able to face the yokozuna, so I better gambarize some more."

Kumagatani Oyakata is well aware of Ryuo's dedication and sacrifice. The other day, he hinted that on the day when Aminishiki, the sword bearer, faces Hakuho and can't perform his duty, Ryuo would get the honor of holding the prized sword. Yesterday, the oyakata kept his promise, and Hakuho performed the dohyo-entering ceremony accompanied by Ryuo as tachi-mochi and Kasugao as tsuyu-harai.


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History was made this day with an all-gaijin yokozuna dohyo-iri.

#53 Jakusotsu

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Posted 15 July 2007 - 06:33

The other day, he hinted that on the day when Aminishiki, the sword bearer, faces Hakuho and can't perform his duty, Ryuo would get the honor of holding the prized sword. Yesterday, the oyakata kept his promise, and Hakuho performed the dohyo-entering ceremony accompanied by Ryuo as tachi-mochi and Kasugao as tsuyu-harai.

Ah, now that's the reason why Ama didn't get the sword! Makes sense.

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#54 Asashosakari

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Posted 16 July 2007 - 07:14

Ah, now that's the reason why Ama didn't get the sword!

Is it? It could simply be that the third spot on the "team" is decided by seniority, and that means Aminishiki > Kasugao > Ama. Ryuo then slides into the tachimochi position because he's ranked higher than Kasugao this basho.

Edited by Asashosakari, 16 July 2007 - 07:15.


#55 madorosumaru

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Posted 18 July 2007 - 22:55

Mongolian Hoshikaze is having a good basho at makushita 31. He is already kachi-koshi, at 4-2, losing only to Asahimaru, who has been exceptionally genki this basho, and Daishoyama, who as Daishodai, had been up as high as juryo 1.

In April, his older brother, who was visiting him, won the annual boke tournament at the "Havriin Bayar 2007" (Spring Festival), held in a park in Tokyo. Big Bro, an office worker by profession, is a district champion back home. "I also was involved in Mongolian wrestling from age 8 to the time I joined Ozumo," said Hoshi. "I even entered the national Naadam tournament but I could never beat my brother."

"It is due to the influence of my brother that I am doing sumo in Japan," he added. Before his brother left Japan in May, he encouraged Hoshi to gambarize and win one for the family, which is very close out of necessity. The five siblings--three sisters and two brothers--lost their mother in 2003 and their father two years later. "The five of us who are left combine our efforts to succeed in order to make our late parents proud of us," the young rikishi said solemnly.

In Natsu Basho, Hoshikaze managed a 4-3 kachi-koshi. With another win this basho, he could be promoted close to his personal high of makushita 15. This time, he is determined to reach the goal of sekitorihood that has so far eluded him.

#56 yamaneko

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Posted 20 July 2007 - 19:07

Minaminoshima is having arguably his best basho ever, or at least one right up there with his zensho sandanme yusho in 2004.

The Tongan MTV sumo star has a 5-1 record going into his last bout, and has a shot at besting his career high rank of ms29. He has said before he retires hed like to make it to juryo. Toiling in sandanme all this time it didnt seem possible, but has he finally turned a corner? Win or lose on the last day, this still goes down as one of his most impressive outings in his 6 year career.

#57 madorosumaru

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 03:13

Makushita Tochinoshin, nee Gorgadze Levan, is being hailed by the media as an up-and-comer. According to his shisho, Kasugano Oyakata, and the instructors at the NSK sumo clinic, he is earnest and quick to learn. And, everytime you look at him, he seems a little bit bigger.

The 19-year-old from Black Sea Georgia, not Peachtree, has not had a make-koshi since he joined sumo. Now, in his fourth basho in makushita, he has won at least five bouts each tournament with a chance of getting a sixth victory on senshuraku against veteran minor leaguer Takekabuto. His only loss was to the exceptionally genki mound of flesh, Asahimaru. Among his victims are former juryo Kanbayashi and another star-in-the-making, Sokokurai.

After last basho, he told the press, five is not enough. "I really wanted to win six," he said. "I thought I could have won more. I guess I couldn't do it because my tachiai was still weak. My oyakata tells me everyday that I don't hit hard enough. 'Hit harder,' he says. 'And grab the mawashi right away.' I plan to do more weight-training to build up my muscles."

Last Aki, he got to the jonidan ketteisen with a 7-0 record. Unfortunately, he lost to Tokitairyu, who had joined ozumo at the same time from Tokyo Agricultural Univ. He has lost only 11 times in total, but two each to Tokitaiku and another contemporary, Matsutani from Komazawa Univ. "Those collegians are strong," he conceded. "And they are skillful. I would consider them to be my rivals. Those two and Kitazono (Toyo Univ.), who is also tough. I don't want to lose to those guys."

His role model is Roho. "When he gets hold of the mawashi, he is awesome," the young rikishi said admiringly. "He is so strong. I prefer migi-yotsu, just like he does. I think I can get stronger if I gained more weight." His goal is 150 kg. When he first came to Japan, he had difficulty with Japanese food, but now he can eat anything and everything, including natto.

Back home in Georgia, he started judo when he was 13 and sambo at 14. His paternal grandfather was a sambo champion, having won two titles in the former USSR. Grandpa trained the young man into a championship caliber wrestler. Three years ago, at the urging of the Georgian amateur sumo organization, he, along with Gagamaru, entered the World Juniors held in Osaka. He was totally inexperienced and had only a brief training in sumo fundamentals but managed to take third place in open weight class. The following year, he was a finalist in the heavy weight division and also competed in the World Championships.

He caught the eyes of Taira Sensei of Nichidai, who suggested that he turn professional. At first he had no intention of joining but after the World Championships, he agreed to work out at Nichidai in preparation. Just as he was going to join Kasugano Beya, he received bad news from home--his father and grandmother were involved in a serious accident. His grandmother died and his father was hospitalized. He rushed home to help out the family and was about to give up his plans for ozumo when his father urged him to follow his dreams.

Under the circumstances, it is understandable that he was utterly homesick. The person that helped him a lot during that difficult period was fellow countryman Kokkai, who said, "When I came to Japan, there were hardly any Georgians here. I didn't speak a word of Japanese and had no idea what was going on." Tochi remembers, "He said, 'We are all in the same boat. You just have to gambarize.'"

Gorgi is aiming to be in juryo by the end of the year. In order to do that, he would have to continue winning at the current pace. Before Nagoya, he said, "I want to enter the basho with even more strength and ability. In addition to the regular morning workouts, I have also been doing keiko at night (no, no, not the Petr kind). Oyakata told me I could invite my parents to Japan when I make juryo. I am really looking forward to that."

#58 yamaneko

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 07:02

He won today which should put him in the promotion zone next basho. 6-1 from MS18...should be top 5 makushita id imagine.

any recent pictures of him?

#59 Doitsuyama

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 07:14

any recent pictures of him?

This page has a nice pic from Nishinoshima.

#60 Doitsuyama

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 07:35

He won today which should put him in the promotion zone next basho. 6-1 from MS18...should be top 5 makushita id imagine.

Should be between Ms3 and Ms8, based on previous promotions.

#61 Naganoyama

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Posted 22 July 2007 - 09:58

Also featured here - just click on the picture.

#62 madorosumaru

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Posted 24 July 2007 - 20:43

Yet another Mongolian sekitori


The newest Mongolian sekitori has surprised everyone. One can hardly imagine the spindly 115 kg young man to be an osumo-san. When his spankingly-new blue silk mawashi is tied, an unusually long extra portion protrudes from the knot in the back. To call him "soppu" would be an understatement. According to those that know him, he brings out the maternal instincts of female fans who yearn to fill him with mounds of wiener schnitzel. (Holiday feeling...)

Hoshihikari arrived in Japan seven years ago. He had watched sumo on Mongolian TV since he was a child. "There were several Mongolian rikishi in Japan," he recalled. "I thought maybe I'd try it myself." He signed up for a try-out and passed the test. Hakkaku Oyakata, who held the audition, remembered, "There were 20 or so of them and I had them wrestle off and Hoshi won. He was truly skinny then."

In his last basho as juryo, he started off with three consecutive losses. From there, he showed his characteristic tenaciousness and won the next four to gain the promotion to sekitorihood. In Nagoya, he lost his first two but came back to gain kachi-koshi at 8-7.

Name: Dorjin Lhagva
DOB: July 25, 1984
POB: Ulaan Bataar, Mongolia
Ht: 182 cm
Wt: 115 kg

Family: Father is the coach of Mongolia's women's national wrestling team. Former sekiwake of Mongolian wrestling and three-time Olympian in wrestling. Mother is PE teacher and former member of national volleyball team in Asian Games. He has a brother and sister, both of whom are students. His uncle on his father's side has won two world championships in wrestling.

Previous sports: Basketball, soccer, volleyball, Mongolian wrestling--all just for fun.

Shin-deshi contemporaries: Koryu and Hoshizakura

Role model: Ama. "We have the same build. I want to do that kind of sumo."

Rivals: All the Mongolians

Tsukebito: Hokutonami and Fukai

Favorite foods: Meat, natto

Least favorite foods: Anything raw. Seafood.

Nickname: "Guys at the heya call me Shinichi. The Mongolians call me Lhagva."

Booze tolerance: "I really can't hold my liquor." However, he can down around 20 steins of beer.

Preferred type of girl: "Someone like my mom who is robust and loves sports."

Describe yourself: "I am really shy and get embarrassed easily." (Hmm. That's not what I heard.)

Advice from oyakata: Hit more forcefully and develop the power to move forward.

#63 yamaneko

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 07:48

Best middleweight (115kg and below) wrestler in the world?

#64 ilovesumo

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Posted 25 July 2007 - 11:20

Yet another Mongolian sekitori
The newest Mongolian sekitori has surprised everyone. One can hardly imagine the spindly 115 kg young man to be an osumo-san. When his spankingly-new blue silk mawashi is tied, an unusually long extra portion protrudes from the knot in the back. To call him "soppu" would be an understatement. According to those that know him, he brings out the maternal instincts of female fans who yearn to fill him with mounds of wiener schnitzel. ;-)

Advice from oyakata: Hit more forcefully and develop the power to move forward.



You forgot Bratwurst. ;-)

Develop to move forward...good advice but not so easy. He is very agressive but has to act intelligent. He is not a Bulldozer of man. The time I watched him, since September, he was Sandanme, it seemed that he won often at the edge of the ring, already in defence. By gaining wight his whole style would change. I am looking foreward what he will be.
All in all-he is a great one. (Nodding yes...)
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#65 madorosumaru

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 06:45

Sokokurai, a promising young rikishi from Inner Mongolia, won sandanme yusho in Natsu and followed that up with a superb 5-2 record in Nagoya. In Aki, he should be within hailing distance of sekitorihood.

Arashio Beya is a small stable and there isn't anyone to give him a good workout at keiko. He has to journey to other heya for degeiko against worthy opponents. The Arashio Blog had a little feature on the emerging star visiting Azumazeki Beya prior to Nagoya Basho, where Takamisakari, Ushiomaru and Daimanazuru who also happened to be there, gave him a bit of much needed "pampering."

Here are some scenes from that degeiko session.


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Look at the intensity of the young rikishi!

#66 Fay

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Posted 08 August 2007 - 07:20

Looks like Sokokurai could gain some weight, which can only help him to go on like he did.

It's long overdue, but thanks Madorosumaru for all the updates here and on the Asa thread.

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#67 madorosumaru

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Posted 25 August 2007 - 18:32

Going Home to Mongolia . . . Inner, that is.


After his 5-2 basho in Nagoya, upcomer Sokokurai went back to Inner Mongolia for the first time in two years. Because his last trip was mostly spent taking care of business in the city, it was actually three years since he had been back to his hometown.

There were many flights to Beijing, but the difficulty was in the next leg of the trip. Due to the summer vacation season, all seats were booked from the capital to Inner Mongolia. Sokokurai had to take an 18-hour bus ride to reach his "home." One would think he would be exhausted from such a rigorous trek but it was a reinvigorated Sokourai that spoke of his journey.

The Trip Home

Photo 1: On the 18-hour bus ride.

It has been three years since I was home, so I met with friends and relatives everyday. But, everything--the natural surrounding, the attitudes of the people--had changed so much that I was a bit surprised.

Photo 2: The local train.

There used to be steam trains that ran along my neighborhood. Now, they are gone. I bought a digital camera and had wanted to take some pictures of the train. Too bad. Also, there was a humongous river near my house. A river that was several hundred meters wide. There isn't much water left anymore. Just a few pool and puddles here and there. It's amazing how much things change in three years.

Even the people are different. In the past, all they'd talk about was what kind of liquor to drink . . . you know, a lot of drinking and carefree, happy conversation. This time, they all looked worried and were constantly talking about the future and what life would be like for them. Listening to all of that, I felt I really needed to gambarize and become strong and successful.


Photo 3: Larger-than-life statues of local heroes.

All the people I met, the first thing they would say to me was. "Wow! You sure have gotten huge." Everyone. The same thing. I felt really strange. I never thought much about it but I guess if everyone says so, I must have grown quite a lot. The next time I come back, I am going to surprise them by getting even bigger.

I was happy to find out that everyone was really into watching sumo. The young people at school, the folks on the street all use the internet to follow the news and heya homepage. I was truly pleased that so many people were cheering for me.

Photo 4: Our hero standing on the wild plains. Since I am only makushita and can't bring a tokoyama with me, I got special permission to wear my hair not in a mage.

It took a lot of travel time, but when I got back from Inner Mongolia, I felt relaxed all over. All the stress and troubled thoughts are gone. I am back with a new feeling--a lightness in my heart. Still, I took some time off from keiko, so my body is a bit tight. Look at me. I just moved a little bit and I sweating all over. It sure is hot here.

#68 kaiguma

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Posted 26 August 2007 - 08:30

Wow, I've followed him for awhile now and at this point, I'd put money on him making sekitori very soon!

Imagine what we will have if Sokokurai and Hakuba join Ama in Makuuchi!
Magical: a new birth of the true Soppu rikishi in Ozumo (Nodding yes...)

#69 madorosumaru

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 23:07

Another Future Mongolian Sekitori?


For a change, let's talk about a shin-deshi prospect. 20-year-old Todbileg is a sophomore at Kyushu Joho University. He was scouted by Asashoryu when the latter was an ozeki and came to Japan in 2003 with two other Mongolian youths to attend Ryu's alma mater, Meitoku Gijuku High School. There they joined the sumo club and trained with the hope of turning professional when they graduated. "When Asashoryu, someone I admired very much, took interest in me, I was tremendously moved," he recalled.

However, due to the "One gaijin per heya" rule, they were not able to find any opening. Instead, an alumnus from the high school suggested they bide their time at the university in Kyushu. Of the three, Todbileg, known by friends as Tod, is the most likely to succeed. He gained 10 kg in the past year and is now a hunky 190 cm and 130 kg. In July of this year, he won the open weight class in the West Japan Gakusei Tournament.

His coach at the university thinks very highly of him. "He has a lot of ambiton. There is a lot of gumption within him and he is not averse to showing his feelings on the dohyo." Tod wants to increase his weight to the 140 to 150 kg range. To do that, he said, " I eat my dormitory meals until I am about ready to throw up."

Last year during Kyushu Basho, the yokozuna took him out for a steak dinner. "I really hope that he will get well and come back and be successful again." As for himself, "I want to join ozumo as soon as possible and become a sekitori."

Posted Image

A good-looking prospect. Will Tod get a chance?

#70 ilovesumo

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 23:38

Oh, somebody new AND interesting... (I am not worthy...)
The rule is a shame if somebody being a real hope, having the oh so needed fighting spirit, has to stay out cause of it.
"Live your Dreams, don't dream your life" (John Gallery)

#71 Ikh Mongol Dagvadorj

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 23:44

Tod looks like city boy.........
Many of mongolian sumo wrestlers are from Ulaanbaatar and surrounding area. NSK scouts don't reach to real country side of Mongolia.
For example, this local champion guy on the picture is no less than any sumo wrestlers, can be good sumo wrestler after some training.

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Edited by Ikh Mongol Dagvadorj, 06 September 2007 - 23:47.


#72 Kotonosato

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Posted 12 September 2007 - 06:32

Great photo, Ikh. He looks a bit like Ama.

Question: Why exactly does Tod look to you like a city boy, by the way? It can't be the way he dresses. I guess it must be the shape of his head.

#73 madorosumaru

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 01:55

By achieving a winning record of 4-3 at makushita 5 last basho, Sokokurai will likely be promoted to near the top of the division. Another kachi-koshi in Kyushu will most probably result in a promotion to juryo. A first-time promotion to sekitorihood is accompanied by an assortment of gifts, including kesho mawashi, from the rikishi's supporters.

As reported in another thread, newly-promoted juryo Sagatsukasa received at least two mawashi--one from his alma mater, Toyo University, and another from his supporters from his hometown. Sokokurai, as you know, is from Inner Mongolia. There are many sekitori from Mongolia, but he would become the first from that Chinese province. As such, there is no existing base of supporters for him at this time. His heya, Arashio, was established only five years ago and has not produced a sekitori so far. Their koenkai backing is still limited.

As a result, a group of musicians from Inner Mongolia are holding a "Sokokurai Charity Concert" at Club Flower in Roppongi on December 1. Tickets for the concert are 2,000 yen each. An additional 8,000 yen allows one to attend a reception that will follow, where guests could rub elbows with the young rikishi. Profits from the concert and the reception will go towards Sokokurai "sekitori" expenses.

Since December 1 is after the conclusion of Kyushu Basho, let's hope the plans are not too optimistic.


More Sokokurai news. There is currently a film called "Season of the Horse" playing in Japan. This movie, by director Cai Ning, is about the plight of the nomads of Inner Mongolia, who are forced by modernization and governmental policies to change their way of life.

Sokokurai, who has seen the movie, said that the depiction of life on the open plains is quite accurate. You may remember the account of his trip back home from earlier in this thread.

Trailer for "Season of the Horse"

#74 madorosumaru

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 21:00

On the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Jesse Takamiyama's first yusho by a gaijin rikishi, an internet site held a poll to determine the all-time favorite foreign sumotori. Not surprisingly, the Beckham-wannabe Kotooshu still leads the pack. Interestingly enough, four of the top six are retired.


1. Osh
2. Takamiyama (retired)
3. Konishiki (retired)
4. Musashimaru (retired)
5. Asashoryu
6. Akebono (retired)
7. Hakuho
8. Baruto
9. Ama
10. Kyokutenho
11. Kokkai
12. Roho
13. Asasekiryu
14. Kyokushuzan (retired)
15. Kasugao
16. Tokitenku
17. Hakuba
18. Koryu
19. Hakurozan
20. Kakuryu

#75 yamaneko

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Posted 02 November 2007 - 21:10

Interesting. I wonder if in 1 or 2 years we will see changes on that list with the inclusion of the "next generaton" of wakanoho, tochinoshin, kyokushuho, aran.


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