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Kintamayama

YDC Soken-December 2013

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The YDC soken was held today under the watchful eyes of the YDC. Slightly injured Harumafuji did not do any sumo. Slightly contending for Yokozuna Kisenosato was open all night (7-11) against Hakuhou, Kakuryuu and others.. 2-5 against Hakuhou, who only faces Kisenosato today, Kisenosato did beat him nicely a couple of times but other than that he was overwhelmed. He was beaten by Kakuryuu and Goueidou a few times as well. Kadoban Ozeki Kotoshougiku was absent, which is not a good sign. Sekiwake Kotooushuu was present but did not actively participate.

As for the tsuna run itself- "14 wins and a kettei-sen loss is also OK", said a YDC member. "We all want to see a local Yokozuna as soon as possible, so.." he added. Rijicho said before at least 13 wins and a yusho and the YDC agreed. This could be one man's view, but I doubt it.

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Edited by Kintamayama
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Is it me or does Hakuhō look particularly small in that picture…? I almost didn’t recognize him.

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Why? Whywhywhy? Why do people put so much emphasis on this and other keiko activities, who won/lost and against whom, etc etc....

This is training camp. A chance to try out different styles, different tachi-ai approaches, and so on.

Nobody takes baseball preseason games seriously. (Unless you're a Red Sox fan.) And all this stuff is just practice, albeit in front of some "important" people, who then comment on the results they see like their lives depended on it.

So Kise lost a few to Kak. If I'm Kise, I'm going to let Kak beat me a few times, watching his moves carefully, and remembering any give-aways, trends and holds so that when I meet this guy for real, I have a database to draw on. Remember, they only meet once in a whole 15 days, and that's near the end of the basho, meaning it's going to be an important dance. Any and all information that can me help prepare for that meeting, and it might mean the difference between a yusho and another 13-2 third-place basho, I'm looking and taking notes. So I lose a few now. But I'll know better later.

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Don't forget, either, that a Soken is also used for bluffing -- concealing a recovery from injury or avoiding exposure of a weakness that hasn't been made public. That's another reason why the 'scores' published in the papers are largely meaningless.

Orion

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The ones taking this stuff dead seriously are the YDC, who we tend to relate to with an understanding sarcastic smile. We're wrong. The YDC, at least publicly, holds a place of importance, both with the Kyokai and the press. The soken is taken very seriously, at least outwardly. Maybe the day to day keiko stuff is used for tactical purposes, but I highly doubt the soken is.

I respectfully disagree with the detractors and the dejeeps too.

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A few pictures from the Makushita keiko part of the soken. First, Sakaigawa-beya duo Shosei and Kansei prepare for a bout.

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Kansei stays on to face Isegahama-beya's Terutsuyoshi, who was the most active of the Makushita rikishi.

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Kise-beya's Iwasaki vs. Terutsuyoshi.

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Dewanoumi-beya's Kairyu vs. Terutsuyoshi.

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Tomozuna-beya's Kyokutaisei vs. the much heavier Kawanari from Oguruma-beya.

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Takasago-beya's Asatenmai vs. Terutsuyoshi.

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And finally, Dewahayate vs. Terutsuyoshi. The latter won this with a nice tottari at the edge.

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Terutsuyoshi will celebrate his 19th birthday a few days into the Hatsu basho, for which he is at his highest career rank of Makushita 11e.

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Sorry to ask but... they do this to all rikishi? Makushita and below?

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Sorry to ask but... they do this to all rikishi? Makushita and below?

No, I'm pretty sure it's only a select few rikishi from upper Makushita who get the chance.

Anyway, last set of pictures from the soken. As the Makushita session ends, Juryo rikishi arrive at the dohyo for their turn.

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Chiyoo helps Chiyomaru loosen up his neck muscles. Not something Takarafuji ever has a problem with, I understand.

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Takanoiwa and Terunofuji prepare for a practice bout.

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Juryo returnee Sadanoumi and Homarefuji prepare for a practice bout.

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Terunofuji receives some advice from his shisho, Isegahama-oyakata (former Yokozuna Asahifuji).

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Other oyakata watching the keiko. The three nearest the camera here are Kokonoe-oyakata (former Yokozuna Chiyonofuji), Takanohana-oyakata (former Yokozuna Takanohana), and Chiganoura-oyakata (former Sekiwake Masudayama).

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Juryo session winds down.

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Yokozuna Harumafuji on the sidelines, where he remained throughout the session.

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The Makuuchi masses preparing for keiko.

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Tokitenku warming up with some suriashi.

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Okinoumi forces Tochinowaka out of the ring, while Shotenro tries to become his next challenger.

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Kaisei at the back of this group.

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Okinoumi on the sidelines now.

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Shotenro, Chiyotairyu and Goeido watching the action.

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Finally, Takanohana-oyakata gives some shiko advice to Takayasu.

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Is it common for an oyakata to give advice to rikishi from another stable? Heck, they don't share ichimon, either.

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Is it common for an oyakata to give advice to rikishi from another stable? Heck, they don't share ichimon, either.

Good sumo benefits everybody. Obviously an oyakata would not tell a man from another heya the weak point of one of his own rikishi, but other than that, it's reasonable to help a promising man who's halfway. The top oyakata would be failing in their duty to behave otherwise, and Takanohana is now trying very hard to establish himself as the cream of the cream.

Orion

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