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Kintamayama

KONISHIKI is coming..

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All I can say is that's not what I got from what he said. I'll ask him again tomorrow in the interview, and you can judge for yourselves..He spoke at length about the difference in keiko attitudes as a reason for sumo being less intense these days.

Personally, I don't care if they were puking their guts out five times as often in keiko 30 years ago - celebrating that simply turns "we didn't have a clue about sports science" into a misguided virtue.

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Even only 5 seconds will take the wind out of you because you start to go anaerobic. If you combine that with all the adrenaline and excitement it does take a while for even the fittest to catch their breath for an interview. I'm sure some of them hide behind breathlessness just to make the interview go by quickly as grunting and mumbling are the preferred ways to say "I just tried to do my own sumo today".

It must also be very annoying to have a microphone shoved in your face while you're still in the post-adrenaline-rush stage. I would probably mumble, too!

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I like Konishiki as a person because he's kind, fun and has a big heart. Unfortunately, as a rikishi, most of his performance on the dohyo that stuck in mind were disappointing. He was so heavy, relying heavily on his size and sometimes fell on his own because he couldn't control his movement.

As for his comment on Hakuho, I'm kind of glad that Hakuho didn't go all out sometimes, otherwise he'd be ridden with injuries and couldn't break many records.

I agree. He's a kind-hearted gent, and multi-talented, but I never liked his sumo.

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On a lighter note, could you ask him how fondly he remembers his sessions with the tokoyama? I have a vague memory of Channel 4 covering the issue during their sumo coverage in the 80's. They presented it as something of an endurance test for both.

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He is adamant that the competition was stiffer back then, mentioning that every match against Kotonishiki,Akinoshima and Takatouriki was war for everyone, as these guys would come out with all they had, always. He also said that he thinks Hakuhou would never have made it to Ozeki back then.

I am extremely disappointed about reading this from him. Very few things make me think less of former athletes (in any sport) than comments like this, the only purpose of which is ego-stroking of the "I was better than everyone today" variety... :-(

It's a bit like the "when I were a lad, there were a hundred and fifty of us living in t' shoebox in t' middle o' road." Maybe he's right, and they were tougher back then, but it is rather bad form on Konishiki's part to single out Hakuhou. Konishiki probably wouldn't have made it to Ozeki around the turn of the 20th century, because they were, undoubtedly, even tougher then! ;-)

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The competition definitely seems far less balanced than it was back in Konishiki's day; consider how in 1992 there was not a single Yokozuna win in a single torikumi while 4 future yokozuna loitered near the top of the banzuke (OK, Wakanohana wasn't always near the top), and those 4 plus Konishiki didn't even win every tournament: a guy I never heard of, Mitoizumi, won in Nagoya that year with a 13-2 from M1. In the Aki basho, the 3 Ozeki went a combined 25-20 with no one with more than 9 wins (there were no Yokozuna). The 3 Sekiwake together managed a single win more than the Ozeki. A komusubi went 14-1 for the yusho, and the 3 Komusubi combined for one more win the Sekiwake trio. Sure, today it'd be nearly impossible for there to be both 3 Sekiwake and 3 Komusubi, but it was extremely common then (helps to have very few active Yokozuna/Ozeki) and for the most part they would likely make the same decisions today. The top was just a much more level playing field, and the relative intensity of the average fight near the top was much higher. Now it's all Hakuho all the time. He doesn't even look like he's trying hard against maegashira. Is he that good, or is everyone else just that bad? It's really impossible to say, and it's certainly part of human nature to look at guys younger than you and think how much harder it was back in your day.

Edited by Gurowake

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The competition definitely seems far less balanced than it was back in Konishiki's day; consider how in 1992 there was not a single Yokozuna win in a single torikumi while 4 future yokozuna loitered near the top of the banzuke (OK, Wakanohana wasn't always near the top), and those 4 plus Konishiki didn't even win every tournament: a guy I never heard of, Mitoizumi, won in Nagoya that year with a 13-2 from M1. In the Aki basho, the 3 Ozeki went a combined 25-20 with no one with more than 9 wins (there were no Yokozuna). The 3 Sekiwake together managed a single win more than the Ozeki. A komusubi went 14-1 for the yusho, and the 3 Komusubi combined for one more win the Sekiwake trio.

At the risk of being flippant, I don't think that means anything at all. 1991/1992 was simply an extreme transition period after most of the mid-to-late 80s big names had retired/fallen apart in quick succession. Konishiki (as it happens) briefly profited from that to achieve his career-best year (mid-1991 to mid-1992), before he too was supplanted pretty quickly by what became the Big 5 who would rule for the rest of the 1990s. By late 1993 the chaos was already over. There's nothing to be read into it other than the obvious: a power vacuum will lead to unexpected results for a (short) while.

Much the same thing happened again in 1999/2000 after the Big 5 stopped dominating, and there was enough room for the rest of the field to fight over who would get to fill new roles at the top (producing an ozeki promotion or demotion seemingly every basho for a little while), including several guys who'd spent half a decade waiting for their breakthroughs. That commotion petered out by mid-2001 without a clear winner among the newcomers - unlike the 1991-1993 scenario which produced Takanohana - and so the last man standing among the Big 5 (Musashimaru) became king of the hill for a couple of years, before Asashoryu eventually arrived and blasted through to the top in short order.

The top was just a much more level playing field, and the relative intensity of the average fight near the top was much higher. Now it's all Hakuho all the time. He doesn't even look like he's trying hard against maegashira. Is he that good, or is everyone else just that bad? It's really impossible to say, and it's certainly part of human nature to look at guys younger than you and think how much harder it was back in your day.

I'd wager that none of the guys with 20+ yusho looked particularly challenged by their maegashira-quality opponents. In any case, juryo is also often a very level playing field. Does that automatically imply an intense competition? Maybe, but at the very least "intense" doesn't necessarily equal "high-quality". If Hakuho gets hit by the proverbial bus tomorrow, I doubt anyone would hail that as a positive development, even if it led to more open yusho races for a while.

Besides, what's a level playing field in the joi-jin anyway? Is "one guy dominates + 15 guys occupy a continuum between pretty good and pretty bad results" (Hakuho, also early Asashoryu) less level than "5 guys dominate + 3 guys do okay + 8 guys absolutely suck" (the average mid-90s basho)? Most fans obviously prefer #2 because they're mostly focussed on the yusho races and having several clear dominators helps make those attractive for the casual crowd (men's tennis says hello), but that doesn't mean the overall competition is more level.

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I don't have any real feeling for whether the competition was better or less good in Konishiki's day. But I do feel uncomfortable with his assertion that Hakuho would not have made ozeki then. I think that Hakuho would have been a dai-Yokozuna in any era since time began (and possibly even before).

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Wow, what is up with the Hakuho nuthuggers... he is amazingly good (and he will probably go down as the best ever), but can we focus and just hear his stories instead of moving the discussions towards one single comment? Everyone has an opinion... and he has the right to think whatever he pleases...

Its really funny how people always like to shove their opinion - No you are not right, my truth is better than yours... just let the guy be.

So back to the ORIGINAL topic: Can we ask Konishiki how long they were training back than?

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He is adamant that the competition was stiffer back then, mentioning that every match against Kotonishiki,Akinoshima and Takatouriki was war for everyone, as these guys would come out with all they had, always. He also said that he thinks Hakuhou would never have made it to Ozeki back then.

I am extremely disappointed about reading this from him. Very few things make me think less of former athletes (in any sport) than comments like this, the only purpose of which is ego-stroking of the "I was better than everyone today" variety... :-(

It's a bit like the "when I were a lad, there were a hundred and fifty of us living in t' shoebox in t' middle o' road." Maybe he's right, and they were tougher back then, but it is rather bad form on Konishiki's part to single out Hakuhou. Konishiki probably wouldn't have made it to Ozeki around the turn of the 20th century, because they were, undoubtedly, even tougher then! ;-)

Tough crowd.. He didn't single Hakuhou out-I asked him..

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I must say I'm quite surprised at the uncharacteristic (for this forum) level and intensity of bad vibes just because Konishiki voiced his personal (and totally biased, as it is HIS opinion..) opinion. Moving on, sorry to say the interview will not happen, as it turns out he DOES read the forum and decided he doesn't want to do it anymore, considering what he read.

OK, I'm lying. He wasn't feeling too well in the morning today, and as he had to catch up on the daily meetings, there was no time left to do the interview.

Lying again. We found the time. We did it. It will be published in a few days, after we edit out what he said about Asashosakari and Krindel (Lying, lying, lying..)

From the interview..

10746727_10152618437902530_104314250_o.j

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Lying again. We found the time. We did it. It will be published in a few days, after we edit out what he said about Asashosakari and Krindel (Lying, lying, lying..)

Well, if he said I'd only make it to Sekiwake in the 90's, then don't bother editing it out, I can live with it :-P

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...sorry to say the interview will not happen, as it turns out he DOES read the forum and decided he doesn't want to do it anymore, considering what he read.

Ouch! My jaw just hit the floor...oh, you're lying! ;-)

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Just make sure he doesn't think I'm Kitazakura in disguise. ;)

No way - I gave him your home address..

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Just make sure he doesn't think I'm Kitazakura in disguise. ;)

No way - I gave him your home address..
Won't do him any good for a while, with all the airline and railway strikes here lately...
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Back to the original issue for a moment. ;-) (The quote comes from the other thread.)

He said the rikishi, especially on jungyo, were training very seriously.

Are today's jungyo events even comparable to those of 25 years ago? I could be completely wrong, but my impression has been that after the various scandals they've become much more focussed on "smile, shake hands and stand ready for photographs to leave a good impression", and the whole "rikishi demonstrating their strength for a local audience" angle has been toned down.

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Indeed, well put. I don't have all the info Nishinoshima has, but talking to him face to face, there was ( as Nishinoshima articulated, and I tried to explain earlier but I guess my Hebrew doesn't work here anymore..) not an inch of malice in anything he said. Maybe after you will see the interview it will be clearer. I made a point of asking him the Hakuhou question...

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Back to the original issue for a moment. ;-) (The quote comes from the other thread.)

He said the rikishi, especially on jungyo, were training very seriously.

Are today's jungyo events even comparable to those of 25 years ago? I could be completely wrong, but my impression has been that after the various scandals they've become much more focussed on "smile, shake hands and stand ready for photographs to leave a good impression", and the whole "rikishi demonstrating their strength for a local audience" angle has been toned down.

The point he was making was that the rikishi were actually ANTICIPATING the jungyo because that was where they could face all sekitori and suss the opposition out. De-geikos were a 10-12 sekitori affair at best. As for the toning down, every jungyo we hear about the jungyo managing oyakata getting totally pissed off at the lack of real training and the half-hearted stuff that goes on-fliers are posted warning the rikishi to do their duties and train. Hakuhou was complaining three days ago that most of the guys are avoiding keiko.

Edited by Kintamayama
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I am not doubting any of the things Nishinoshima mentions (and indeed, honest thanks for the insight, btw). And, of course, Konishiki has every right to his own opinion, and he has every right to feel competition in his era was fiercer.

But such an off-hand dismissal of a Dai-Yokozuna is at best ill-considered and at worst disrespectful, even if it had no malicious intent behind it. To put my "bad vibe" into perceptive, imagine Baruto saying (even after being asked) something like "Akebono would never have made it to Ozeki in my day". We'd all be getting the firing squad primed and ready...

In any case, I am really looking forward to his interview, and my thanks to Kintamayama for arranging all this! Definitely helped alleviate the inter-basho boredom :-)

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I must say I'm quite surprised at the uncharacteristic (for this forum) level and intensity of bad vibes just because Konishiki voiced his personal (and totally biased, as it is HIS opinion..) opinion. Moving on, sorry to say the interview will not happen, as it turns out he DOES read the forum and decided he doesn't want to do it anymore, considering what he read.

OK, I'm lying. He wasn't feeling too well in the morning today, and as he had to catch up on the daily meetings, there was no time left to do the interview.

Lying again. We found the time. We did it. It will be published in a few days, after we edit out what he said about Asashosakari and Krindel (Lying, lying, lying..)

From the interview..

10746727_10152618437902530_104314250_o.j

Moving on...

Thanks for doing this exclusive interview, Moti. Can't wait to find out what the big man say to some of SFers' questions.

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The concussion issue in the NFL is a time bomb in sumo too.

I've often wondered about that. Head to head contact at the tachi-ai between extremely large and strong people must have some sort of future consequences. Such contact occurs over and over again every day in keiko. And no matter how slight each incident may be, there are so many of them that there has to be some sort of cumulative effect on the brain. And unlike the NFL, no head protection is worn. I'm curious if there have been any efforts to learn about the effects of constant head to head contact in sumo. Have there been any reports concerning the possibility of concussions among both active and retired rikishis? Maybe I'm over-reacting, but I think his situation should be a real cause for concern.

You can't disallow this type of contact because it's an integral part of sumo. But I think something should be done to monitor every rikishi as to possible brain damage because of it.

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Hey Kinta... Thanks for the excellent work, man. Krindel mentioned that this stuff has alleviated the dreaded inter-basho boredom; same here. Heck, for the last few days, I have totally forgotten to be bored because this stuff is riveting. Really looking forward to the interview. Keep up the great work.

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The sport wrecked his body. Constant pain pretty much everywhere from what he put it through all those years. Requires daily medication now just to function. He's not unique in that respect obviously. There are several guys in makuuchi right now competing with partially torn ACLs, rotator cuffs etc. The concussion issue in the NFL is a time bomb in sumo too.

This sounds awful! Having had a torn ACL, I can tell you it's no joke. And to have to continue training like that just doesn't seem right. I, too, am curious about the concussion issue.

Thank you, Nishinoshima, for the insight. It seems Konishiki has a big ego but an even bigger heart.

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The concussion issue in the NFL is a time bomb in sumo too.


I disagree.

Football helmets are like boxing gloves. Insidious, because they create the perception of false-safety.

If NFL players were suddenly stripped of their helmets and pads, the injury rate would decline sharply.

Sumo doesn't have an issue with dementia the way that the NFL has (and the Japanese have been doing sumo A LOT longer than the NFL has been doing their thing). Edited by Otokonoyama
Repaired quote tag
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