yutarotanaka

Pre-match/bout routines of certain sumo wrestlers

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Just like some basketball players shooting free throws, they sometimes perform certain sequences to get them in the rhythm of things. Some sumo wrestlers have their own unique way of pumping themselves up or just a mannerism that they typically do as part of their habit before the start of their matches. What are your favorites from the present crop of wrestlers or even from the wrestlers of past?

I for one like one like Takayasu's stomp before he tosses salt for the last time before the tachiai. Three solid slaps to his mawashi with the right hand, grabs a handful of salt then... boom! The mighty Takayasu stomp!

There's also Kotoshogiku's back stretch at the last salt toss before the tachiai which always draws cheers and applause from the crowd. He recently stopped doing this, yes? I wonder why?

Onosho does this weird bicep pumps during the salt tossing part before the start of the match. I don't know about that but he manages to get good results with it so more power to him. :)

There's also the infamous Kotoyuki hoot that has been mentioned before. Meh.

Some routines are a bit subdued and low-profile than others like how Hokutofuji stomps his feet and how Tochiozan waves this fists just right before the tachiai.

I think we can all agree that one the craziest routines out there is Takamisakari's (Furiwake-oyakaya) outbursts. You'd think he was possessed by something wild with all that shouting and fist pumping. That one is classic.

How about you guys? Any particular wrestler's psych up routines you find cool, interesting and noteworthy? Share your thoughts!

 

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As I observe, some do it to actually stretch-up and warm up, others do it to set their aggressiveness on the desired level, and others do it for the crowd.
Asashoryu's hard mawashi slap is a good example of bringing his emotions to the dohyo. As I recall, he used to say that he wants to think like he is about to kill the other rikishi when their bout starts. It indeed did work for him, some active rikishi are too trying to do that, Ikioi for example. But he too combines it with some interesting marching steps. 
On the contrary we have Takayasu who I believe is doing this only for the crowd (even Kotoshogiku's stretch had some logic in it, just because it is a stretch). To me this is very wrong and using this signature routine brings some professional wrestling-like feeling to his persona. Now as an ozeki it might not be too dramatic, but if he hopes to be a yokozuna one day he better stop doing this. Or maybe he will stop doing this when he is not even ozeki anymore, ironically just like Kotoshogiku. Kotoyuki's thing seems exaggerating too.
For me, a calm and emotionless rikishi showing good sumo when the match starts is what I prefer to watch. 

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Takayasu also has this "shoulder shrug" that reminds me of a large bear!

I've noticed that some rikishi have a superstition about how they throw the salt, and some are determined to be the last to enter the dohyo.

 

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Yeah. I get your point about rikishi just being calm and emotionless. I was wondering about that too when I started watching sumo full on. I was under the impression that these guys need to be in zen mode or whatever from the moment they are entering/approaching the dohyo, during their pre-match and match proper up to the point they reach their locker rooms. Specially looking back at what Takamisakari was doing before, I thought it broke some sort of sumo guidelines or code of conduct. I guess they let these things go as long as it the rikishi doesn't do anything that may be considered obscene or out of control. Sumo is a spectator sport so they have to accommodate some leeway to make things a bit interesting for the fans.

Another fun pre-match antic I miss now since he is injured is Ura's "Use of as less salt as humanly possible" shtick. He just balls up a tiny amount of salt and flops it nonchalantly onto the dohyo. It's like he's worried that the NSK would run out of salt so he's trying to conserve as much as he can. So cute. Haha. Also, his deep breaths and facial expression just before the match where he's looking like "What the hell did I get myself into" is just priceless. Haha.

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39 minutes ago, yutarotanaka said:

Sumo is a spectator sport so they have to accommodate some leeway to make things a bit interesting for the fans.

I can't agree with this. The banners that say "thank you for the full house" are not there for no reason. People watch sumo for hundreds of years and WWE-style ring entrances and finishers are not necessary in sumo. You say "the fans" but the fans differ, a lot. A fan watching Wrestlemania event is one thing, a fan watching sumo at the Kokugikan is another thing. The first one aims entertainment, show, effects, music effects. The second one aims to actually support his favorite rikishi and find out who is strong, stronger, the strongest competitor. Nothing about fireworks, bass and lights. 
Let sumo keep being sumo as we know it.

Edited by Chankomafuji
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Just now, Chankomafuji said:

I can't agree with this. The banners that say "thank you for the full house" are not there for no reason. People watch sumo for hundreds of years and WWE-style ring entrances and finishers are not necessary in sumo. You say "the fans" but the fans differ, a lot. A fan watching Wrestlemania event is one thing, a fan watching sumo at the Kokugikan is another thing. The first one aims entertainment, show, effects, music effects. The second one aims to actually prove who is strong, stronger and the strongest competitor. Nothing about fireworks, bass and lights. 
Let sumo keep being sumo as we know it.

Well now, that's kind of overstating it. I'm not suggesting that we make sumo as extravagant as WrestleMania.

But you have to admit that if sumo will stick to it's codes of conduct down to the letter, there's going to be lots of dull and boring time in-between the actual match proper. I think it could only do the sport of sumo good to have these little things pop-up here and there. It keeps things fresh and current. But of course keeping the sport's sanctity intact.

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I guess you guys don't watch my vids.. Ikioi marches, Kotoyuuki's helicopter, Ryuuden's really, really weird bobbing at the shikirisen, Tochiouzan's head bobs.

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I’ve mentioned it elsewhere but I was very fond of Harumafuji’s low crouch/stretch which not only served an athletic purpose but I thought was a very powerful psyching out move. I also loved his little shoulder and hip wiggle before tossing the salt, though I recall seeing him tuck salt into the top band of his mawashi on the last salt toss. Any strategic reason? To make the belt slippery or uncomfortable to grip perhaps? 

 

Ura’s routine is generally understated, which seems the ying to his unconventional sumo’s yang. He even declines the towel. It doesn’t strike me as an affectation, as it seems consistent with his quiet manner in interview. Maybe, with his fast rise, he doesn’t feel he has the authority to start stomping round the dohyo, I don’t know. Either way, I like it. 

 

I actually rather love the way Hakuho fiercely stomps his way to the yobidashi and furiously rubs his face with the towel. You know he’s in the zone then. Plus his dohyo iri stomps are phenomenal and exhilaratingly terrifying when you witness them in real life. It’s a wonderful display of his stature both as a Yokozuna and his physique. You almost feel like you’re in the presence of an ancient demigod. EDIT: And isn’t that kind of the point? To feel a connection with its sacred past? 

 

Edited by Yatagarasu
Font came out massive
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I also like Ikioi’s mawashi slaps, which I note have become more fierce in recent times. He seems like such an affable chap that to see him display ‘aggression’ seems almost endearing. When you see him display determination it makes you root for him. 

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3 hours ago, yutarotanaka said:

 

Another fun pre-match antic I miss now since he is injured is Ura's "Use of as less salt as humanly possible" shtick. He just balls up a tiny amount of salt and flops it nonchalantly onto the dohyo. It's like he's worried that the NSK would run out of salt so he's trying to conserve as much as he can. So cute. Haha. Also, his deep breaths and facial expression just before the match where he's looking like "What the hell did I get myself into" is just priceless. Haha.

It did strike me that there’s a possible strategic reason for this. The last salt toss is not swept away before the bout. Too much salt on his side of the dohyo, where he will often lure his opponent to the edge, risks making it a slippery affair. 

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I also like Ikioi's marching in place and the way he rushes over to the ring attendant with exaggerated movements. I miss Kotoshogiku's big stretch. Diamami always touches his face twice right before the tachiai

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3 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

I guess you guys don't watch my vids.. Ikioi marches, Kotoyuuki's helicopter, Ryuuden's really, really weird bobbing at the shikirisen, Tochiouzan's head bobs.

The Kotoyuki-copter is always fun.

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2 hours ago, Yatagarasu said:

I also like Ikioi’s mawashi slaps, which I note have become more fierce in recent times. He seems like such an affable chap that to see him display ‘aggression’ seems almost endearing. When you see him display determination it makes you root for him. 

I like the very precise way Ikioi sort of flops his feet into position before sinking into his hips before the tachiai, particularly in contrast to the equally precise but much more aggressive stomp that Hokutofuji does. They use their hands quite differently too. Hokutofuji always plants his right fist firmly in the dirt, while Ikioi lets his left fist hover for an age and then taps at the dirt before launching himself. 

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I have wondered about Tochiouzan's head bobs and wrist twisting to be honest, they time he takes often seems to rile up his opponents these days causing him to come off worse in general, the same for Tochihiryu who seems to do almost the same ritual when he's on the dohyo. Its not a heya specific thing though I don't think as Tochinoshin and Aoiyama don't do the same thing, so why do they both do it?

I also still want to know why Geeku has stopped doing his big stretch...

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19 minutes ago, Kawabata said:

I have wondered about Tochiouzan's head bobs and wrist twisting to be honest, they time he takes often seems to rile up his opponents these days causing him to come off worse in general, the same for Tochihiryu who seems to do almost the same ritual when he's on the dohyo. Its not a heya specific thing though I don't think as Tochinoshin and Aoiyama don't do the same thing, so why do they both do it?

I also still want to know why Geeku has stopped doing his big stretch...

Maybe they stopped showing it...or 
 

Spoiler

0026497842.jpg

The tapings will tell the story?

 

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4 minutes ago, rhyen said:

Maybe they stopped showing it...or 

in relation to the or, well he did it here: 

during the Haru PR, though much less taping there its true. I assumed it was related to his fall from ozeki-hood, and kind of basho specific maybe? 

In terms of not showing it, I watched the full NHK stream during the basho and it really doesn't seem that he is doing it at all.....

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8 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

I guess you guys don't watch my vids.. Ikioi marches, Kotoyuuki's helicopter, Ryuuden's really, really weird bobbing at the shikirisen, Tochiouzan's head bobs.

And Daiamami's nose pulls.

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9 hours ago, Yatagarasu said:

I’ve mentioned it elsewhere but I was very fond of Harumafuji’s low crouch/stretch which not only served an athletic purpose but I thought was a very powerful psyching out move.

The Frog.

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Very often I see among many is an open mouth jaw stretch.  (Laughing...)

 

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25 minutes ago, inhashi said:

Very often I see among many is an open mouth jaw stretch.  (Laughing...)

Invented by Tosanoumi originally.

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7 hours ago, Kawabata said:

in relation to the or, well he did it here: 

during the Haru PR, though much less taping there its true. I assumed it was related to his fall from ozeki-hood, and kind of basho specific maybe? 

In terms of not showing it, I watched the full NHK stream during the basho and it really doesn't seem that he is doing it at all.....

I attended 5 days of Hatsu basho this year and can confirm he's not been doing it.

Edited by since_94

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My favorite is Tochinoshin scurrying back to the corner when he heads there for the final rundown and salt throw. For someone so large who moves so deliberately during the rest of the pre-bout routine, the triple speed squat-run is very entertaining. 

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Love Ikioi and Tochinoshin's scurry to the corner and Kotoyuki's lobster claw propellers.

Amakaze makes some very strange facial expressions, opening his mouth and almost snarling baring his teeth. Wakaichiro nearly knocks himself out with how hard he slaps his face before the tachiai. 

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