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Bombur

Ex maegashira 5 Amuru interview

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Hello everyone! Thought I'd share this interview here as I couldn't find it on the forum. It was done for a French sumo website, but they propose an English version of all their articles as well! I'll only translate the introduction for you.
Here's the link (you can see some pictures there): https://www.dosukoi.fr/interview-damuru-ex-maegashira-4-de-lonomatsu-beya/.

 

Today, Jean-Philippe Cabral offers us an exclusive interview with Nikolai IVANOV, more well known under his professional shikona of AMURU. He wrestled at the highest level for more than 15 years in the world of professional sumō in Japan, and this new testimony gleaned by Jean-Philippe Cabral this time brings us up to the highest ranks of the wrestlers.

Enjoy the interview!

A short presentation:
Nikolai Yuryevich IVANOV was born on the 25 of august 1983 in Lesozavodsk, near Vladivostok, in Eastern Russia, a few kilometers removed from the Chinese border represented by the river Amur.
He was the last Russian citizen in high level sumō under the name of AMURU Mitsuhiro (阿 夢露 光大).
He made his debut in May 2002 and, after a knee injury in 2012 that saw him drop in the banzuke, he reached the first division Makuuchi in November 2014. His highest rank was maegashira 5. He fought for nine honbashōs in the Makuuchi division before ending his career in the Makushita division.
Shikona :                                                      AMURU Mitsuhiro (阿 夢露 光大)
Debut in professional sumō :                    May 2002
Heya :                                                           Onomatsu
Highest rank achieved :                             Maegashira 5 (November 2015)
Results in professional sumō :                 411 wins – 339 losses – 68 withdrawals
Retirement (intai) in :                                 May 2018


Jean-Philippe Cabral : Hello. How are you?
Nikolai Ivanov : I’m fine, enjoying life after intai.

JPC : Your rikishi name is well known to the fans, but the man behind it is less known. Can you introduce yourself quickly?
NI : My rikishi name, “Shikona”, is AMURU(阿夢露). So my name is organized as below, “A” means to Ounomatsubeya which I belonged to (阿). “MU” means to dream(夢). “RU” means Russia(露).  That means “the man who comes from Russia to Ounomatsubeya with dreams”. Also AMURU means “Amur river” where I lived in nearside in childhood. All rikishi “Shikona” given by Oyakata with special meanings includes their story.

JPC : What becomes of you since your intai?
NI : After intai, I wished to become sports trainer in Japan. Whole my entire sumo life, I always faced both knees injured. Also, always some treatment professionals support me then I was thinking that I would like to return the favor to Japanese people. Right know I’m working in sports gym forces to health promotion. Furthermore, I’m trying to gain trainer license.

 JPC : How has your knee been since your serious injury to this joint?
NI : My knees are in good. There are no problems during daily life or training.

JPC : Can you tell us about your most recent professional activity?
NI : Thanks to everyone, I’ve just started “SUMO ONLINE LESSON (NIKOLAY NO ONLINE SUMO DOJYO)” . This project is sumo lesson via zoom on internet supported by the sports gym company (FLEX TSUDANUMA) which belong to. In every lesson, I’m teaching basic sumo movements (Shiko, Matawari) and also some stretches to protect against injuries. Recently, we was doing it only in Japanese language. However, after few months, we are going to broadcast it to all over the world in English language. My wishes are to expand it to the world and to spread the charms of Sumo globally.

JPC : Are you still in touch with the professional sumo world in Japan?
NI : Even after intai, I often go to Asa geiko (Morning keiko) and watch few sumo wrestling tournaments a year. Also, I’m having good relationship with Oyakata and some rikishi friends.

JPC : Let’s talk about your career in Japan: how did you integrate your Heya?
NI : So I was born and raised in Russia. Honestly, I had no idea that I would become sumo wrestler. One day, my older sister got married with Japanese husband. He introduced me to enter the sumo world then my sumo life began.

JPC : What kind of Oyakata is Onomatsu -San? Did you have a good relationship with him?
NI : He was a very strict person. However, he was not only strict, but also treated newcomers like he was their father. He seriously faced each of them and really thought. I really feel his kindness because I got through the rigorous training. About relationship with him, I’m still in contact with him nowadays.

JPC : What was the most difficult for you in Japan?
NI : I thought the relationship between seniors and juniors was difficult. It usually doesn’t appear so clearly in Russia. However, the relationship in the sumo room was clear. I think it is common in the general society of Japan.

JPC : And during the training?
NI : About sumo training, in sumo world we say “Eating is also training”. For me “Eating training” was not easy. When I entered to Heya, my weight is just 187 lb. My body constitution is very slim as usual it calls “Soppu gata” in sumo word. When you are eating a lot but you are not gaining any weight, you are such this kind of rikishi. Since there was no rice-based culture in Russia, it was a pain for me to eat plain white rice every day. That was one of the factors that prevented me from gaining weight.

JPC : Can you tell us about the Senpai-kohai system within a Heya?
NI : I think that the human relationships in the Sumo Room are common in many Japanese societies. In a sumo room, a newcomer must take care of the seniors’ personal surroundings and perform a wide range of tasks in cleaning, laundry, and cooking in the interval between keiko. In a way, it also motivated me because it was clear that strong people would have an advantage.

JPC : How does a training is organized?
NI : Actually, keiko has not decided any schedule. Of course, I did a fixed move such as shiko and matawari, but Oyakata were watching the situation of the surrounding wrestlers and moving on a different schedule each day.

JPC : How many Shiko do the Rikishi on average during training?
NI : Average around 300 times per day.

JPC : Can you describe for us the grueling exercise of Butsugari-keiko in keiko-ba?
NI : “Butukari Keiko” is a practice of sumo performed separately for the receiving side and the hitting side. The hitting side hits with pushing force, stepping out, and when it falls down, it rehearses passively. If you can’t press it when you hit it, you will be forced to slip while being pressed down on your neck, and it will be rolled. The receiving side is performed by a wrestler who is a little stronger than the side that collides. On the receiving side, spread your legs wide and split your hips, spread your hands and step on your right foot, receive the opponent’s hit, and even put your finger on it. Training times are average 10-15 mins up to day.

JPC : How many training fights did you practiced in a session?
NI : Maximum 70 training fights per session.

JPC : Which Rikishi have marked you during your career?
NI : Honestly, I have no idea. However I respected Oyakata ( Ex- Masurao).

JPC : How did you feel when you became a Juryô? Is this really a big change in the life of a rikishi?
NI : It took me 9 years to finally reach Juryo. Of course, I have the feeling that I was honestly happy, but at the same time, the range of life has expanded. Wrestlers can live alone when they go up to Juryo, and their salaries will be staggering. Above all, in my home country of Russia, from only juryo games are shown on TV, so I was glad to tell my family what I was doing.

JPC : You became a strong Rikishi and you proved it by becoming Maegashira; can we speak of your makuuchi period as the peak of your career?
NI : It was the best moment ever on my sumo life. I feel that my efforts so far have paid off.

JPC : Have you otherwise had a goal never achieved? Was becoming Yokozuna possible?
NI : To be honest, I wanted to be much stronger. After injuring my knees, I couldn’t get the sumo I wanted and I felt very disappointed. However, from that experience, I now have a second dream. I want to be the sports trainer and tell as many people as possible the importance of preventing injuries. Right now, I am working hard toward that dream.

JPC : Do you think Mongols are still the best rikishi at the moment?
NI : Yes, that is one of truth nowadays in Japanese sumo world. They have also sumo culture by themselves. So many experienced guys come here to do Japanese sumo as professional.

JPC : How much was non-Heya training in your month’s schedule at the heya?
NI : 3 times per week I did training by myself includes at sports gym.

JPC : You must have had contact with the Japanese fans towards the Rikishi; do you have any anecdotes about this?
NI : Unfortunately, I have not much that interesting story.

JPC : Let’s talk about your homeland; how is Sumô perceived in Russia?
NI : Sumo is spreading in Russia. Amateur match tournaments are being held.

JPC : Is Russia now a land of sumo?
NI : I think there are still a minority of people who do sumo wrestling in Russia. I also believe that one of the missions of the future is that I will send it from Japan to expand it.

JPC : Did the Nihon Sumo Kyokai help you in your career change?
NI : That is not their business, I think. My surrounding supports who are fans did help me a lot.

Edited by Bombur
Punctuation.
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Thanks for the post. They could have made a tiny effort with the translation instead of feeding it to GT. These guys run a serious site and quite frankly, if they're going to translate (IF. They have no obligation of course) they could make the extra effort that will take less than ten minutes to correct the GT mess.. Or ask me to help..  

Edited by Kintamayama
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10 hours ago, Kintamayama said:

Thanks for the post. They could have made a tiny effort with the translation instead of feeding it to GT. These guys run a serious site and quite frankly, if they're going to translate (IF. They have no obligation of course) they could make the extra effort that will take less than ten minutes to correct the GT mess.. Or ask me to help..  

Yeah, I did not read the English version since French is my mother tongue but quickly looking over it, some sentences seemed a little clunky. I might touch it up a bit when I got a bit of time :) .

Edited by Bombur

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2 hours ago, Bombur said:

Yeah, I did not read the English version since French is my mother tongue but quickly looking over it, some sentences seemed a little clunky. I might touch it up a bit when I got a bit of time :) .

Again, I will gladly help you out by sorting out GT.

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5 hours ago, Bombur said:

Yeah, I did not read the English version since French is my mother tongue but quickly looking over it, some sentences seemed a little clunky. I might touch it up a bit when I got a bit of time :) .

Since I have you on the spot here, you can answer a question I've thought about a lot: is Google Translate as bad for Japanese/French as it is for Japanese/English?

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Worse. GT uses English as its middle man, meaning when translating a text from language A to language B (where none is English), it actually makes two translations, going A -> English -> B, which means you can theoretically get double the amount of errors. In reality, it varies on which languages as involved, as some are closer to each other and have overall a better (bigger) corpus of texts on the internet).

Edited by Bombur

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12 minutes ago, Bombur said:

Worse. GT uses English as its middle man, meaning when translating a text from language A to language B (where none is English), it actually makes two translations, going A -> English -> B, which means you can theoretically get double the amount of errors. In reality, it varies on which languages as involved, as some are closer to each other and have overall a better (bigger) corpus of texts on the internet).

Thanks very much! (I'm out of reactions for "today")

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