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Basho Talk - Aki Basho 2016 +++ Spoiler Alert! +++

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There are so many factors in the physical formula that all have to fit in a winning package. I suppose that an extraordinary special talent can compensate for a disadvantage in size and/or weight. Tall and heavy helps but only gets you so far, though. To get to the top you have to demonstrate all those other things -- strength, stamina, speed, technique -- in spades. The fact that size and weight alone can get you into Makuuchi at all (Ichinojo comes to mind) is just a sign of the paucity of real talent in the lower ranks.

Edited by orandashoho

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I think physical attributes is the minimum foundation to be an Ozeki or above.   One would need additional talent like speed, stamina, determination, etc..  I grew up being trained to be a professional athlete.   At the end of the day, I realized I lacked the physical attributes needed.  God didn't smile on me.  In sumo, being Toyonoshima's height in this day and age ... god didn't smile on him either.   Ditto for Sato.   I look at the current Yokozuna and Ozeki and they are all over 180 cm with quickness to match a shorter rikishi like Toyo.  Perhaps, in another era, Toyo, Sato, Ura may had a chance.   I don't believe any of them have on in this era.

Edited by robnplunder
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3 hours ago, orandashoho said:

The fact that size and weight alone can get you into Makuuchi at all (Ichinojo comes to mind) is just a sign of the paucity of real talent in the lower ranks.

Eh? There are quite a few rikishi of Ichinojo's dimensions who can't even get into makushita, so no, "size and weight alone" isn't getting anybody to the top division. That was frankly a huge insult of his talents.

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1 hour ago, Asashosakari said:

Eh? There are quite a few rikishi of Ichinojo's dimensions who can't even get into makushita, so no, "size and weight alone" isn't getting anybody to the top division. That was frankly a huge insult of his talents.

I don't mean to insult anyone. Don't get me wrong, I think that anyone who manages to become sekitori must have talent to make it that far. But size and weight seem to have become the defining characteristic without which success is impossible and I can't help thinking that bulking up has become the first priority at the expense of developing other factors. Even in school tournaments and wampaku, big and heavy is becoming the norm.

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8 hours ago, hamcornheinz said:

Terao wasn't small during his era. 

Not true. He had a significant weight disadvantage throughout his entire career - at 115 kilos he was 20 to 30 kilos lighter than nearly all his opponents. In a 15 year makuuchi career I think Kyokudozan and Mainoumi were the only opponents he ever faced lighter than himself.

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19 minutes ago, ryafuji said:

Not true. He had a significant weight disadvantage throughout his entire career - at 115 kilos he was 20 to 30 kilos lighter than nearly all his opponents. In a 15 year makuuchi career I think Kyokudozan and Mainoumi were the only opponents he ever faced lighter than himself.

Dai Yokozuna Chiyonofuji was only 115kg when he got the rope. He got up to 125 but he was routinely significantly lighter than the majority of his opponents

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1 hour ago, orandashoho said:

But size and weight seem to have become the defining characteristic without which success is impossible and I can't help thinking that bulking up has become the first priority at the expense of developing other factors.

If everyone is bulking up, developing the other factors becomes more important, not less. Somebody like Ichinojo derives less of an advantage from his size, relatively, than somebody like Akebono did 20 years ago. Is weight very relevant right now? Obviously yes, the gradual increase in the average makuuchi weight says as much. But I highly doubt it's happening instead of developing technique etc. There's arguably more competitive depth in sumo than ever, and a large part of that is that relatively large weights are now commonplace, not the exclusive area of a handful of freaks of nature who dwarf everybody else. It's now the great equalizer rather than the great divider.

That's somewhat bad news for the likes of Kitaharima, but let's be honest here - a guy who gives up ~20% in weight to the average makuuchi rikishi has always had it tough. It's not a new phenomenon, all that's happened is that the baseline has shifted.

Edited by Asashosakari
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Everyone said Ama was too small and would never make it either but he bulked up a bit without losing all his speed and technique and the rest is history including more yusho.

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Yes, going back to my first remark, I find sumo fascinating because in order to get anywhere at all, you have to have a lot of talents in order to make it happen, and you have to be consistently good. The banzuke is merciless. To get to Makuuchi and to stay there is a mark of supreme achievement.

I agree that the weight/size baseline has shifted -- that is a sign of modern times. Compared to fifty years ago people have grown taller. In The Netherlands, the average length of men has increased so much that US baseball scouts now come over to The Netherlands to recruit players. Improvements in general living conditions and wealth will directly translate to less children with stunted growth in those years that good nourishment is most important.

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I find that height and reach that comes with a tall rikishi is just as important as "right" weight.   It's amazing to me that how many tachi-hai involve slapping, pushing off, and other usages of arms.  Longer and stronger arms are definitely a distinct advantage.  Chiyonofuji was "small" weight wise but he was 183 cm tall.   Sato, Onosho, and Ura all fall a few to handful of inches short of that.   It's a huge disadvantage and unless they develop super skills to overcome that, I don't see them being Ozeki one day. 

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When I first started watching sumo in the mid-70s, Takamiyama was the heaviest in Makuuchi (possibly on the entire banzuke as lower division info in English was scarce, at the time) at 165 kg and rikishi hovering at the 100 kg mark were not unheard of (Takanohana I, Masuiyama II, Kotogatake, Daio, Owashi and Chiyonofuji (when he was in lower maegashira/juryo.)) 

No point trying to be made, just a little historical info.

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The last about Ishiura's height (=Sato and Ura) who made it to ozeki was Asahikuni in 1976, just 15 3kg more (Ishiura has now already 115, not 103kg, NSK: Ura 173cm, 128kg). Kotoshogiku had just 179cm, but about the same amount of kg (now NSK: 180cm, 182kg).

http://sumodb.sumogames.de/Query.aspx?show_form=0&columns=1&rowcount=5&showheight=on&showweight=on&form1_rank=O&form1_year=1952-2016&form1_debutr=on&sort_by=height

Edited by Akinomaki

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While there's little doubt that weight and height (=reach) are prerequisites of attaining the highest ranks, it's alway great to see smaller guys come along who can take on the big men. They're just so fantastically entertaining, especially when the little guys win!

That's what the excitement around Ura is about, isn't it? No one's expecting Ura ever to become a yokozuna (I'm not anyway), but if he can figure out how to use his amazing gymnastic skills with any reliability against the real heavyweights, he offers the prospect of something rather novel in makuuchi.

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25 minutes ago, RabidJohn said:

While there's little doubt that weight and height (=reach) are prerequisites of attaining the highest ranks, it's alway great to see smaller guys come along who can take on the big men. They're just so fantastically entertaining, especially when the little guys win!

That's what the excitement around Ura is about, isn't it? No one's expecting Ura ever to become a yokozuna (I'm not anyway), but if he can figure out how to use his amazing gymnastic skills with any reliability against the real heavyweights, he offers the prospect of something rather novel in makuuchi.

I was more excited about Ishihura's bouts than Ura's.   In number of bouts, Ishi timely charged his bigger opponent out of the ring.  When Ishi vs Ura match was announced, I knew Ishi could beat Ura although many Ura fans thought otherwise.

Ura should study Ishi's matches.  He will do well if he can adopt some of Ishi's techniques/strategy.

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When talking about small skillful rikishi, there really should be more mention of Mainoumi. He never was considered to be an ozeki potential though (AFAIK). Anyways, I'd be more than happy for Ura to reach Mainoumi's success...

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Ozeki is an excessively high standard for success. Ura has done very well to get where he has so quickly, and I would consider it a very nice outcome if he were simply able to become a top division mainstay. Daiki strikes me more as the guy with a sanyaku future, although even then I think ozeki is probably setting too high of a bar; when it comes to that high of a rank I think you have to see how the rikishi fares over several basho in makuuchi, because there are more guys who can breeze up to the top division than there are guys who can meet an ozeki standard once there.

Edited by Katooshu

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On September 24, 2016 at 22:59, rhyen said:

Aminishiki nodowa attack, then hatakikomi for KK.(Applauding...)

As surprising as Goeido's yusho was, Aminishiki's performance was absolutely shocking. He's a 37 year old rikishi competing with chronically bad knees and an achilles tendon he tore only four months previously. Since it usually takes at least six months for this kind of injury to heal, I thought his appearance in this basho would result in some early one-sided losses and his going kyujo, hopefully without causing further injury to his achilles. So not only does he survive the tournament but he also goes 8-7. The man is absolutely amazing. 

Edited by sekitori
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43 minutes ago, sekitori said:

As surprising as Goeido's yusho was, Aminishiki's performance was absolutely shocking. He's a 37 year old rikishi competing with chronically bad knees and an achilles tendon he tore only four months previously. Since it usually takes at least six months for this kind of injury to heal, I thought his appearance in this basho would result in some early one-sided losses and his going kyujo, hopefully without causing further injury to his achilles. So not only does he survive the tournament but he also goes 8-7. The man is absolutely amazing. 

I second that.   I don't like Aminishiki but what he did in Aki basho was admirable.   I will be more kind to him in the next basho :-).

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8 hours ago, robnplunder said:

I second that.   I don't like Aminishiki but what he did in Aki basho was admirable.   I will be more kind to him in the next basho :-).

Blasphemy!

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I do like Aminishiki -- for a lot of reasons. When I first became hooked on sumo, he was there, in Makuuchi together with the yokozuna trio Akebono, Takanohana II and Musashimaru... before Asashoryu came on the scene. There were Takamisakari and Mainoumi and great Ozeki battles, and both Aminishiki and Kyokutenho were Makuuchi mainstays.
When I returned to watching sumo in 2014 (after a long absence enforced by Eurosport stopping their coverage) both Kyokutenho and Aminishiki were still there. I have tremendous respect for that kind of tenacity. Aminishiki is well poised to break some of Kyokutenho's records despite his injuries.
Outside of the ring, Aminishiki is a notable person too, friendly and with a great sense of humour. I just wish there were more in Makuuchi like him.

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11 minutes ago, orandashoho said:

I do like Aminishiki -- for a lot of reasons. When I first became hooked on sumo, he was there, in Makuuchi together with the yokozuna trio Akebono, Takanohana II and Musashimaru... before Asashoryu came on the scene. There were Takamisakari and Mainoumi and great Ozeki battles, and both Aminishiki and Kyokutenho were Makuuchi mainstays.
When I returned to watching sumo in 2014 (after a long absence enforced by Eurosport stopping their coverage) both Kyokutenho and Aminishiki were still there. I have tremendous respect for that kind of tenacity. Aminishiki is well poised to break some of Kyokutenho's records despite his injuries.
Outside of the ring, Aminishiki is a notable person too, friendly and with a great sense of humour. I just wish there were more in Makuuchi like him.

Toyonoshima, Takekaze?

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1 hour ago, orandashoho said:

There were Takamisakari and Mainoumi and great Ozeki battles, and both Aminishiki and Kyokutenho were Makuuchi mainstays.

Eh? Mainoumi retired before Takamisakari became Sekitori...

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15 minutes ago, Jakusotsu said:

Eh? Mainoumi retired before Takamisakari became Sekitori...

When I started watching, it was in the late nineties. Mainoumi was in Makuuchi then, even toppling Akebono with a three-pronged attack once.
I stopped watching around 2002 or 2003 (I can't remember exactly when Eurosport stopped transmitting the digests). Asasekyryu was Ozeki then.
Memory does become blurred when it's that far back. But Mainoumi and Takamisakari are well remembered. As is Myabiyama, Tochiazuma, Kaio and Chiyotaikai, and many others that made the fights themselves so memorable.

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On 9/20/2016 at 11:14, Benevolance said:

It's pretty clear that Goeidou is tired of me making jokes at his expense. If he wins it (which he won't) then this will really be MY yusho.

And you can look for more tips on how to motivate YOUR favorite athlete by posting on forums they don't read, in a language they don't understand, in my upcoming ebook "Goading Goeidou: Armchair Coach Extraordinaire". Available at all fine retailers. 

I think it's working...

 

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