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Rusev

Training schedule for beginner

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Hello Sumo Friends!

I dont want to be booring with all the bla bla stuff about me, so i will be short. I recently started training and to be honest i won just 1 keiko match from maybe 30 (the guy was 40kg lighter than me). I am big sumo fan and i really want to advance. My dream is to participate in amature tournament.

Do you have any suggestions about excersises that i could use to better my balance (except shiko, that one i know its a must), in general i am in the training facility 3 days a week, but i would like to put extra work to become better. I know that i need time, i would really appreciate if someone can actually pull out a training regime of some Heya maybe ?

I hope this message makes sense.

Thank you guys and gals, i appreciate you reading all of this.

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Hi Rusev,

As Naganoyama mentioned, you can check out the NSK site for Sumo exercises, although the instructions are rather vague, and really only useful if you already know what to do.

I have taught Sumo conditioning exercises to jiu-jutsu and karate students, as well as to other athletes (mostly distance runners) over the past several years, and in 2013 I produced an introductory Sumo-based fitness DVD called "SumoFit: Suppleness + Strength + Stability". It's available on my website (www.sumofit.com), but only in the USA region format. However, you can download the free exercise tutorial from the DVD and incorporate the exercises into your current training regimen.

Shiko is definitely the best exercise for improving flexibility, strength, stability, and balance (there's a difference between "stability" and "balance"). Shinkyaku (squatting single-leg stretch), Matawari (Sumo split), Suriashi (sliding feet), Sonkyo (raised heel squat), and Kinsei (forward shuffle) are all good exercises for improving your Sumo -- or any other martial art, for that matter!

I hope this helps. Good luck with your training and competitions. Let me know if you have any other questions.

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Ossu Rusev

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51w1my4p3KY "Humorous Sumo training ある高校の相撲部の練習風景" Try this but I have to warn you its in Japanese and It's not at all funny. Its a training session at a high school in Saitama. It goes through the basic training rituals and all exercises that most if not all sumo beya would do. Some stables may have their own little variations on the theme and certain rikishi use particular strengthening techniques depending on which body part they want to develop or recover.

Its quite hard to get the information you are after at least on paper but scouring Youtube should give you some ideas of what goes on.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0t1gFeIXOtI Here is another good video in english with our good mate Petr from Tokyo university.

I have always been on the lookout for new ideas but their doesn't seem to be much of a set format (like kata in judo or other martial arts) once you finish the suriashi, butsukari geiko, teppo, moshiai (winner stays in) and the exercises Pica Pica has mentioned. They sound simple but there are right ways to do them and wrong ways - especially with shiko. For example Akebono taught us to do it without bringing your legs together at the start.

Often you will see a stablemaster with a big stick .Apart from being used (or misused) for discipline they also use it to force a rikishi to stay below an imaginary line with the threat of a swift blow to the head .Going above that line means your center of gravity is too high.

I would of have thought that sumotori would choose a particular technique and work on that until they master it but I have reached the conclusion that most of it comes down to learning your own natural style of sumo and refining that. After all, at every interview, a rikishi will always say they tried to do their "own sumo". So what they seem to do is just get into the bouts and go with the flow and then stop at a certain point to get a few tips on improving the technique.

Some other strength and conditioning methods I have seen are:

Pulling or flipping old tyres, (including hill sprints which they do at Tottori High)

Squatting with sand bags or granite balls

Piggy back squats

Elastic band workouts

Leap frog or rather Leap Sumo

Duck waddling

Kettle balls (but not the way they just swing them around at the gym these days)

Pummeling with a partner to get a double inside grip and to prevent the other guy getting an inside grip.Its an old traditional

Another great exercise is what we call the choo choo train or baby elephants. I'm not sure what they call it in Japanese but its where you grab the guy or girl in front of you by the mawashi and apply pressure as you all shuffle around the dohyo in a line.

Lots of short sharp tricep push ups.

I also use a lot of old school judo techniques in my stable. I think a lot of them are hard core exercises that were picked up in Japan by some of the old Olympic judo warriors that I have train with.One of them involves trying to keep your balance whilst someone climbs around your torso without touching the ground. Definitely not suitable if you just have a mawashi on.

Which country are you hoping to compete for?

Please feel free to ask if you have any questions and good luck.

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This is great information, Johnofuji! I found the part about the rikishi doing their "own sumo" particularly interesting. Individual style is most evident in shiko, as no two rikishi perform it the same way. Some lift and stomp in one smooth, continuous movement; others lift, snap, and stomp; and yet others do a version that looks like matawari with one leg in the air (my personal favourite).

I have always thought the version of shiko in which you first bring your legs together and then lift and stomp was a stylised, ceremonial version, rather than one you would use in everyday training. Chiyonofuji used the legs-together version in his dohyo-iri.

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Thanks Pica Pica. I have done a bit of research on shiko lately but it got a bit creepy when a skinny japanese sumo enthusiast started sending me videos of himself doing shiko in his bedroom.He asked me to give him advice on his form. At least he had pants on.

I spoke to our resident sumo expert Tongan Ex makushita Minaminoshima who was able to clarify a few things for me. In addition to the squatting motion, I used to think the perfect shiko was about getting your legs as high as possible (because it looks so poetic) and about building up the little muscles around the ankle because they are all that keep your balance if you end up on one leg. He said it is more about the squatting action than how high you can get your legs.

Keeping your legs apart is a lot harder than bringing them together because you lose the leverage of having the legs further apart.It is also wise because one of the fundamental rules is to keep that wide centre of gravity .If your feet come together during a bout then you are leaving yourself prone to be easily twisted down.

The other thing I always wondered is why they don't also do mattawari stretching with one leg forward and the other back like a ballerina as well as sideways but I suppose that has to do with the direction you move in sumo (preferably forward) .Mattawari is about being flexible in the hips to prevent injuries and take the pressure off the knees as well as making the muscle into a more efficient lever with a full range of motion.

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The ballerina-type stretch -- front split -- is really only good for gymnastics and some dance styles, and it wouldn't help with the wide stance and low centre of gravity movements in sumo. We never used it in jiu-jutsu; we only did the matawari side split.

I do have to wonder about those rikishi whose hip joint structures make matawari next to impossible. You hear stories about rikishi being forced into matawari by other wrestlers (I think it was Wayne Vierra who described hearing a "twang" when this happened to him). I should think this would cause permanent damage to the hips and chronic pain and weakness ever after.

I agree that the squatting motion of shiko is more important than how high you lift your leg. I also tell students to straighten the supporting leg and not to worry too much about the lifted leg -- straighten it if you can, don't if you can't. The other thing I tell students is to contract their side muscles as they lift the opposite side leg, as shiko is a pulling motion rather than a pushing motion. Contracting the side muscles will also help prevent forward rotation of the torso, something you often see newbies doing.

As you've probably guessed, I absolutely love shiko!

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Yes anyone who doesn't like shiko shiko should find somewhere else to sit on the bus. (sorry an old joke for Kintamayama)

I am positive that matawari and shiko prevented me from getting the injuries I would normally expect with judo and the other forms of wrestling I have done.Its good you know what you are doing as the stereotypical shiko is nothing like how it should be done.Its even worse when we have to do it for TV and an ignorant producer wants grunting - which we refuse to do.

Ishiura ,who is now knocking on the door of juryo, told me he does matawari for at least two hours a day so he advises to sit that way whilst watching tv. Hopefully he will be the next Mainoumi .He is already bigger than Ishinriki.

I still would have thought that being able to move medially (is that the term?) would help with some of the throws but I suppose the hips still do come into play in any of the leg lifting throws.Or even just to balance out the stretching by being able to move in any direction but I suppose laterally is hard enough and as you say all you need.

I noticed that a lot of the top level judo guys are quite inflexible for some reason with the exception of the Japanese who have an advantage when they grow up with squat toilets. My first introduction to the benefits of stretching was a course they made us do at school for rowing. It was designed by the US Marines and claimed to double your strength in 20 weeks.

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Medial-anterior-posterior? Anyway, this stretch might be beneficial for judo/jiu-jutsu throws such as hane goshi and harai goshi, but you probably need to work on efficiency of movement if you're getting anywhere near a front split position in these throws (even if it looks really impressive).

I've noticed the same surprising lack of flexibility in jiu-jutsuka, as well. It was always rather frustrating working with students, especially kids and teens, who had already lost so much of their natural flexibility. With so many Japanese adopting Western habits, I hope they never give up entirely on floor-living (squatting and kneeling), as it's the best thing for promoting flexibility and strength in the hips, legs, and back. The great thing about sumo exercises is that they are very natural movements that don't overtax the joints -- the "twang" of the 300+ lb. rikishi jumping on your back and forcing you into matawari doesn't count!

I used shiko to rehab my knee after a karate injury and subsequent reconstructive surgery. When I teach shiko in stretching and conditioning classes, the students' first reaction after trying it is always an incredulous "WOW!"

I've seen Greco-Roman wrestlers incorporating suriashi in their training, but the rest of the sports world remains blissfully unaware of the benefits of sumo taiso. Imagine how it could help promote efficient movement in sports like rugby and American football.

Thanks for the info on Ishiura, I will definitely be following his progress. I'm guessing he has a strong background in judo? There are definitely shades of Mainoumi, Ishinriki, and even Chiyonofuji in his fighting style. And I love his slapping and foot-sweeping ritual!

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Hey guys,

Thank you for all your answers, from all the information that i got until now i believe i`ve shaped a decent regime. Its obvious that due to my lack of training i really need to stick to shiko and suriashi for the most part. As i noticed in sparring i tend to leave my center pretty up because i am heavy and my legs are not trained so i get tired really fast, so thats a big hole in my game. When i watched it on TV, shiko was looking like a peace of cake to me, but it suprised me how hard is to make even 10 shiko per leg.... for sure if you do it long enough it will benefit allot. Matawari is also good, my flexibility is 0, but i try to keep my legs apart in any ocasion that i have (even when playing with my sons lego on the ground for example).

I need to stick to the basis, but all those videos and materials above are really usefull. I also watch as much keiko as i can find in the web, to see how much they train and wow.... those guys are amazing. Its really tough, i like it.

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Ossu Rusev

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51w1my4p3KY "Humorous Sumo training ある高校の相撲部の練習風景" ...

Is it just me, or is that Houmashou at 3:40-3:45?

Though my recognition skills are famously embarrassing, I tend to agree with you. (Although I did see Sean Connery at 6:12.)

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I'm fairly sure it is Homasho as he went to Saitama Sakai High but I thought I would see what the oracles of sumo think. I know I have seen other footage of him before and after he joined Nichi dai so I'll have a look. These days I download things first to watch later at the gym to save data so I lose the source if it has silly labels like that one.

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Hello Guys,

What about matawari? I`ve trying to strech myself for a while now and i am not flexible at all, i am able to do a good squat in the initial charge, but i still feel that i am too upwards. I was looking a bunch of websites and i am confused of all the information about flexibility and streching. Does any of you have any list of excercises that i can perform every day to achieve splits at least for the next 2 years? I know its really slow process so i dont care much about the time i just dont want to waste it ;)

I was searching for something more sumo related, but there isnt much in the web. How strange is that?

If someone has suggestions, i will be happy to apply them and let you know the results when the time comes.

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Bear in mind that, due to differences in the ball-and-socket joints of the hips, not everyone will be able to do a full side split, no matter how much they practice. But if your goal is to do the best matawari for YOU, try this exercise:

Sit on your bum with your legs in a straddle position, as wide apart as they will go without actually hurting. Flex your ankles so your toes point up, and keep your legs and back straight. Support yourself with your hands on the floor (either in front or behind) if you have to. If your hamstrings and calves are very tight place a rolled up towel or pillow under your bum.

Keeping your ankles flexed, toes pointing up, and legs and back straight, roll your hips forward as far as you can. Hold for a few seconds, and roll your hips back to your starting position.

Repeat this rolling and holding movement several times a day, each time holding a few seconds longer.

Above all, take your time and don't rush the stretching process. Let me know how you progress; I think you will surprise yourself!

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Hello Pica,

Thank you for the advice, i am actually trying that from time to time (not the exact way you mentioned though) and to be honest i am not expecting to have Endo`s split, for me its more important to go down with my body, recently i was watching a video of one rikishi and he did not had such a great split, but he went down all the way with his stomach. At the moment, the most that i can bring my legs appart is 100 degrees, i am extremely stiff :( and my body i cant even put my elbows on the ground (big belly) :D but i will start with this routine for sure to see how far i can go, thanks for the asnwer.

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100 degrees isn't too bad, and you mentioned that you are able to do a good squat in the initial charge, so maybe try some stretches from that position, i.e., shifting your weight from side to side.

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Well yeah, you know that people tend to like themselvs :D so i like my initial squat, but again i feel that when we hit eachother in keiko my head always goes above the other guy, i try to go lower so i can sort of dive below, but i could not do it until now. Thats why i thought that due to my lack of flexibility i cannot charge lower than now, i hit the point where even my weight cannot get me lower than this and i am 286 pounds on 173cm.

I guess its all about time.

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Yes, it's probably just a matter of time. But if, after regular stretching, you find you're still unable to charge lower, you might consider changing your charge technique. Study videos of matches in which the "higher" guy wins, and see if you can find some techniques that work for you.

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Ossu .

I have been told by an old 70's karate master that one good way to ease into mattawari is to do one leg at a time. This can be done on one knee or by grabbing the soles of your feet and pulling yourself down. If you can't reach or have dog poo on your shoe you can use a towel or strap. Even just lying on your back with a towel over the soles of one foot that is raised up is a good stretch for the hammy. I have seen the contraptions they use in karate and have been told they are quite dangerous because you are using a machine to crank out your legs rather than you own muscles and tendons..

I also had a mad yoga teacher who suggested to use the Ballerina stretching bar they sometimes have in gyms or even a wall to push into. You grab the top bar and pull yourself in and also grab the lower bars to pull yourself over to each leg. He was a black belt in a few different martial arts and competed for national titles until a gang bashed him with a 4x2 and shattered his scull like an egg. I wonder if they were the 6 guys he took out at the one time when he was a bouncer. Here is a link and as you can see he is made out of rubber http://www.backyardopera.com/bernie-peterson.html (he does mattawari after the 3 minute mark). His classes were more like bootcamp. He reckons that some parts of his body took 10 years to open up fully but fortunately you don't need to put both your legs behind your head whilst balancing upside down at the tachi ai. He also used to come and stand on my back or knees when I was in the sitting position or even just dump a 50kg weight on me when I wasn't looking. I'm not sure how many degrees I can stretch as I'm not going to put a compass spike near my groin.

An easier way is to do mattawari standing up with your legs apart and let gravity help do the work. Or you can try it Portuguese chicken style without having your legs extended.

You can also do it the traditional way and get someone to lie on your back but establish some sort of clear tap out signal beforehand because you may not be able to move, speak or breath if they lean too hard.

Another good trick is to sit down facing a partner and take turns in helping each other. One sits with his or her legs open whilst the other pushes their legs further apart from inside the ankles. At the same time they have you by the wrists and they lean back so you get pulled over. The important thing in all this is to make sure you pivot from the hips with a straight back as Pica Pica says.

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I have been told by an old 70's karate master that one good way to ease into mattawari is to do one leg at a time.

I agree. If you can't keep your back and legs straight in a straddle sit (even if you are sitting on a rolled up towel), try folding one leg in. After a few minutes, switch so that the folded leg becomes the extended leg, etc. Switch back and forth a few times so each leg gets a thorough stretch. And you should still roll your hips forward with one leg tucked in, even if you don't have as much range of motion.

I have seen the contraptions they use in karate and have been told they are quite dangerous because you are using a machine to crank out your legs rather than you own muscles and tendons.

Yes, don't waste your time and money!

He also used to come and stand on my back or knees when I was in the sitting position or even just dump a 50kg weight on me when I wasn't looking.

OUCH!!!

I'm not sure how many degrees I can stretch as I'm not going to put a compass spike near my groin.

I can't say I blame you....

You can also do it the traditional way and get someone to lie on your back but establish some sort of clear tap out signal beforehand because you may not be able to move, speak or breath if they lean too hard.

Another good trick is to sit down facing a partner and take turns in helping each other. One sits with his or her legs open whilst the other pushes their legs further apart from inside the ankles. At the same time they have you by the wrists and they lean back so you get pulled over.

Some people like the partner stretches and find them helpful. I don't care for them myself, because I prefer to be in complete control of how far I stretch anything ;-).

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