Kintamayama

Hakuhou caught watching Judo

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9 minutes ago, yorikiried by fate said:

### This is a scripted auto-response to annual football incident revisionism ###

Asashoryu was shanghaied by officials to participate in a fun football much against children at a UNICEF related event in Mongolia, were he spent some time after his latest yusho. He was kyujo at the time and officially allowed to be in Mongolia, because he had sustained a *shoulder* injury in the previous basho. The pictures at the time showed him running around a bit with children, laughing. The story got cooked up weaks later and led to his repulsive two basho suspension.

### If you have triggered this message you should be ashamed, because you -- like quite a few before you -- have participated in the propaganda spin that painted -- for once unjust -- Asashoryu as the culprit ###

Oh

 

9 minutes ago, yorikiried by fate said:

### This is a scripted auto-response to annual football incident revisionism ###

Asashoryu was shanghaied by officials to participate in a fun football much against children at a UNICEF related event in Mongolia, were he spent some time after his latest yusho. He was kyujo at the time and officially allowed to be in Mongolia, because he had sustained a *shoulder* injury in the previous basho. The pictures at the time showed him running around a bit with children, laughing. The story got cooked up weaks later and led to his repulsive two basho suspension.

### If you have triggered this message you should be ashamed, because you -- like quite a few before you -- have participated in the propaganda spin that painted -- for once unjust -- Asashoryu as the culprit ###

Thank you, I forgot all the story 

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Tradition and good judgment are certainly fine qualities, but truly, the NSK needs more modern voices to be heard if ozumo is to prosper (Their silly ruling on social media sealed that view's voracity). Even a 36-year-old would be a breath of fresh air over there, so it will be a serious blow to the future of the sport to lose Hakuho. By early evidence, he might be a better sensei than he has been a rikishi. That's probably what some on the NSK fear the most, that he might be astoundingly successful, again. We will see what they decide. The political/social environment is going to play in the outcome here, as it so often does.

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My response to this

is in the limerick thread

so go have a look…

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Kaminariyuki said:

Tradition and good judgment are certainly fine qualities, but truly, the NSK needs more modern voices to be heard if ozumo is to prosper (Their silly ruling on social media sealed that view's voracity). Even a 36-year-old would be a breath of fresh air over there, so it will be a serious blow to the future of the sport to lose Hakuho. By early evidence, he might be a better sensei than he has been a rikishi. That's probably what some on the NSK fear the most, that he might be astoundingly successful, again. We will see what they decide. The political/social environment is going to play in the outcome here, as it so often does.

For the sake of being contrarian, I'd say even if the NSK needs fresh air, Hakuho's relative youth alone does not make him a good candidate. If anything, he has shown poor judgment and a lack of restraint. To be clear, this has nothing to do with whether he has done is right or wrong, but his ability to sense the mood.

So soon after being publicly lambasted for his behaviour in Nagoya, he turns up at the Olympics despite ordinary spectators not being allowed, not notifying the NSK, and not really serving any key or core function - even one like just giving out a medal or something. Connections or not, he ought to have known that attending the Olympics was not 100% kosher given the rules that are supposed to be in place to prevent infection (never mind the fact that a tank can be driven through the supposed bubble).

The conclusions are that either he really thought this was fine - which is oblivious - or he knew and did it anyway, which is deliberate provocation. Considering Miyagino's non-response, I'm inclined to favour provocation, but then again the last time Miyagino said something about Hakuho he got majorly embarrassed for his troubles, so it might just be that too. But either way, it speaks volumes about Hakuho's ability to gauge the mood. Not caring about the mood works when you've only got to win bouts, but not if you're trying to make headway as a junior in a fresh hierarchy and have pissed off key members of the board in the process. If Shibatayama, Oguruma, and Musashigawa are the only ones grumbling about him, that's all well and good, but somehow I don't think so.

IMO the ones more likely to be a modernising force within the NSK will be Kakuryu and Kisenosato - Kisenosato in terms of training methods and philosophies, and Kakuryu in terms of actual concern for rikishi welfare and morale. One or both of them will perhaps make rijicho and be the ones to bring sumo to greater heights. With each further incident blighting the tail end of an illustrious career, whether justified or otherwise, I'm inclining more and more towards Kintamayama's view that Hakuho might well be better off outside the NSK than inside it. The parallels to Takanohana are, in a very eerie fashion, taking shape once again.

Edited by Seiyashi
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8 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

For the sake of being contrarian, I'd say even if the NSK needs fresh air, Hakuho's relative youth alone does not make him a good candidate. If anything, he has shown poor judgment and a lack of restraint. To be clear, this has nothing to do with whether he has done is right or wrong, but his ability to sense the mood.

So soon after being publicly lambasted for his behaviour in Nagoya, he turns up at the Olympics despite ordinary spectators not being allowed, not notifying the NSK, and not really serving any key or core function - even one like just giving out a medal or something. Connections or not, he ought to have known that attending the Olympics was not 100% kosher given the rules that are supposed to be in place to prevent infection (never mind the fact that a tank can be driven through the supposed bubble).

The conclusions are that either he really thought this was fine - which is oblivious - or he knew and did it anyway, which is deliberate provocation. Considering Miyagino's non-response, I'm inclined to favour provocation, but then again the last time Miyagino said something about Hakuho he got majorly embarrassed for his troubles, so it might just be that too. But either way, it speaks volumes about Hakuho's ability to gauge the mood. Not caring about the mood works when you've only got to win bouts, but not if you're trying to make headway as a junior in a fresh hierarchy and have pissed off key members of the board in the process. If Shibatayama, Oguruma, and Musashigawa are the only ones grumbling about him, that's all well and good, but somehow I don't think so.

IMO the ones more likely to be a modernising force within the NSK will be Kakuryu and Kisenosato - Kisenosato in terms of training methods and philosophies, and Kakuryu in terms of actual concern for rikishi welfare and morale. One or both of them will perhaps make rijicho and be the ones to bring sumo to greater heights. With each further incident blighting the tail end of an illustrious career, whether justified or otherwise, I'm inclining more and more towards Kintamayama's view that Hakuho might well be better off outside the NSK than inside it. The parallels to Takanohana are, in a very eerie fashion, taking shape once again.

I fear you are correct about the "mood," and I know you have a better grasp of what's going on and being said in the kyokai, but I hold out some hope that Hakuho knows what he's doing and that it will turn out OK. Kakuryu and Kisenosato may hold promise for rejuvenating sumo, but I think Hakuho has more potential for mentoring the next wave of sanyaku rikishi. Just my less knowledgeable opinion. 

I admit that it's entirely possible that he was not calculating here, but I think you might be ruling out this possibility in your analysis above. He is nothing if not strategic. It is also possible that this was just the little boy who "had" to go be a part of the Olympics, particularly since the torch-carrying and dohyo-iri that were planned had been canceled. I relate to that little boy syndrome, as I have it myself.

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It just sums up the NSK that "Hakuho caught watching judo" is a genuine scandal thread and not a wind-up. 

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59 minutes ago, ryafuji said:

It just sums up the NSK that "Hakuho caught watching judo" is a genuine scandal thread and not a wind-up. 

There used to be riots in pre war Hawaii when someone got accused of doing judo during sumo tournaments so maybe there is some acrimonious history there. (Iwakiyama...)

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Seiyashi said:

IMO the ones more likely to be a modernising force within the NSK will be Kakuryu and Kisenosato - Kisenosato in terms of training methods and philosophies, and Kakuryu in terms of actual concern for rikishi welfare and morale. One or both of them will perhaps make rijicho and be the ones to bring sumo to greater heights. With each further incident blighting the tail end of an illustrious career, whether justified or otherwise, I'm inclining more and more towards Kintamayama's view that Hakuho might well be better off outside the NSK than inside it. The parallels to Takanohana are, in a very eerie fashion, taking shape once again.

And not to forget, Takanohana was not only heralded as an expected breath of fresh air for the Kyokai hierarchy at one time, too, he actually had large parts of Japanese public (and even moreso published) opinion on his side for it. Hakuho's major support base is...a lot of foreign fans, I guess. Many of whom weren't even around for the majority of his yokozuna tenure, from what I can tell, and only got into sumo once the "there's a sport out there that has the GOAT of all GOATs competing in it right now" news started making the rounds a few years ago.

Maybe Hakuho can try to revolutionize sumo through the IFS on the amateur side, though I suspect getting something meaningful done in that org would be even more of an uphill struggle.

Edited by Asashosakari
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6 minutes ago, Asashosakari said:

Hakuho's major support base is...a lot of foreign fans, I guess. Many of whom weren't even around for the majority of his yokozuna tenure, from what I can tell, and only got into sumo once the "there's a sport out there that has the GOAT of all GOATs competing in it right now" news started making the rounds a few years ago.

This may be true -- in my case, I had seen some of the NHK highlight packages back in the late 1980s, when I was younger and poorer, on a monochrome set from a local multicultural TV station in Japanese only.  Then, probably because I never could figure out why it would be on for a week or two and then disappear, I lost track and when the same program in colour and in English hit my YouTube feed in early 2017, I developed an interest and (key difference 25 years later) quickly found the answers to many questions about sumo online.  The first basho I saw as it was happening was May 2017, without having found this forum or sumodb yet, but I quickly 'upgraded' to the Kintamayama nightly videos that showed all the top-division matches.  Once that basho ended I watched the stored highlights of several previous ones, going back almost a full year, before actually realizing that Hakuho was the top dog.  That he was not Japanese was something I learned much later.

What foreign fans do notice is that sumo is slow to react to the idea of foreign born participants.  When I was a child over 90% of pro hockey players were Canadian, even though the majority of pro teams were in American cities.  Since then, hockey has had waves of American players, Western European players, Iron Curtain players enter at the top levels in the past half-century and the game is better for it.  Other sports are the same.  Even the board game Go, invented in China but developed and played at the highest levels in Japan for centuries, has now gone international and is not dominated by mostly Japanese as it was just a half-century ago.  By contrast, sumo's top brass seems to take great public pleasure in making things as hard as possible for foreigners, from limiting entry to forced immersion in Japanese culture to more harshly criticizing transgressions to open favoritism of Japanese over foreigners: and no one incident or story is as fully damning as the trend over time.

I was unfamiliar with Hakuho's latest mouthy critic's record so I looked it up.  Four years to get to Juryo, a 5-10 record sent him back down to the Makushita joi for three more tournaments, where he advanced slowly for three tournaments while adding bulk.  Then he returned to Juryo and scored a 10-5, then 11-4Y, and found himself at M9, went 8-7 and was promoted all the way to M2!  If that ain't smoothing the path for the Japanese hopeful, I don't know what is, but then it continued: 6-9 at M2, down to M5, then, with a mere 8-7, boom, up to Komusubi!  Those who watched his rise will probably say that the signs were there, and he did have a strong stint in sanyaku, ozeki, and then as yokozuna before injuries caught up.  What I am saying from my point of view, not having actually seen it happen at the time, is that there seems no way the path would be that easy were he not Japanese.

Plus, as many have commented, the consternation over the dominance of foreign-born rikishi is making the people who make the rules look ridiculous.  You force stables to recruit only the very best, burden these recruits with the added responsibility of learning Japanese culture, leaving no time in their lives for distractions, and you're surprised at their success rates?  Really?  Are you serious in telling a 36-year old champion that he must fight like he is 24 and finding alternate legal ways to win is not proper?  In any other sport, finding a legal way to win with declining skills would be seen as commendable, and when Aminishiki began racking up the rare kimarite, it was, but for Hakuho, the default reaction is to look for reasons to bash.  Does anyone really think that a Japanese yokozuna, invited to an Olympic event and given accreditation to do so, who didn't ask the NSK for permission, would get the angry tirade Hakuho got?  If it had been Kisenosato's father who won an Olympic wrestling medal and he made the same hopeful statement about participation in the opening ceremony, don't you think a few strings would have been pulled by the elders running the show, instead of what looks at best like looking the other way and at worst like cruelly and publicly cutting those same strings with scissors?

This double standard irks foreign fans to no end.  There's a lot to like about sumo beyond the fact that its current top guy has compiled a record for the ages: I think I would have stuck with it upon my rediscovery whatever the GOAT situation was.  I find the slow and unpredictable changing of the guard and the mysteries of the ranking system fascinating.  But the trend toward unpreferential treatment for some is perpetually troubling and does not seem to be going away.

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2 hours ago, Asashosakari said:

 "there's a sport out there that has the GOAT of all GOATs competing in it right now" news started making the rounds a few years ago.

Don Bradman is the GOAT of all GOATS. ;). 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ichimawashi said:

Plus, as many have commented, the consternation over the dominance of foreign-born rikishi is making the people who make the rules look ridiculous.  You force stables to recruit only the very best, burden these recruits with the added responsibility of learning Japanese culture, leaving no time in their lives for distractions, and you're surprised at their success rates?  Really?  Are you serious in telling a 36-year old champion that he must fight like he is 24 and finding alternate legal ways to win is not proper?  In any other sport, finding a legal way to win with declining skills would be seen as commendable, and when Aminishiki began racking up the rare kimarite, it was, but for Hakuho, the default reaction is to look for reasons to bash.  Does anyone really think that a Japanese yokozuna, invited to an Olympic event and given accreditation to do so, who didn't ask the NSK for permission, would get the angry tirade Hakuho got?  If it had been Kisenosato's father who won an Olympic wrestling medal and he made the same hopeful statement about participation in the opening ceremony, don't you think a few strings would have been pulled by the elders running the show, instead of what looks at best like looking the other way and at worst like cruelly and publicly cutting those same strings with scissors?

I generally agree with most of the rest of your post, but I can at least cite Japanese counterexamples - admittedly dated - that make it a bit less clear cut that there is active discrimination by the powers that be about this para and discipline in general that is expected of top wrestlers:

  • Raiden Tame'emon, disallowed from using his favourite techniques so others could win against him
  • Onomatsu (6th yokozuna, not the elder), criticised for often using matta to throw opponents off
  • Maedayama, forced to retire after being caught at a baseball game while kyujo
  • Also Maedayama, controversy over his harite style
  • Kitanofuji, caught surfing in Hawaii while kyujo, cautioned by the NSK
  • Yoshibayama, favourite technique was ketaguri, but seen as unacceptable at the yokozuna rank

You can say that these can be differentiated, but in broad strokes they're also pretty similar to what Hakuho has done - and all in one man, to boot!

And on the kyujo front, Hakuho's got a lot of latitude for being out for so long - a few more basho and he would have broken another (dubious) record held by Kisenosato/Takanohana. The warning looks bad, yes, but he at least was coming back in some style until he invited controversy on the last two days.

At least there's one thing good about this list: despite his relatively controversial time as a rikishi, Maedayama mellowed out as Takasago oyakata, recruited Takamiyama, raised an ozeki and a yokozuna (Asashio III), and - despite not being permitted to do so by the NSK, or not being authorised - went on a recruiting tour of the US. A pretty successful oyakata overall and one whose legacy includes all Americans in sumo thanks to Takamiyama - meaning 2 yokozuna (Akebono, Musashimaru) and 1 ozeki (Konishiki), all of whom took up Japanese citizenship and were/are elders, and who embraced Japanese culture wholeheartedly. One hopes that Maedayama is a better maverick example for Hakuho to follow rather than Takanohana.

Edited by Seiyashi
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22 minutes ago, Godango said:

Don Bradman is the GOAT of all GOATS. ;). 

Despite being a North American, I do like to watch sports from elsewhere and I am aware of Mr. Bradman of course.  There was some talk of Sachin Tendulkar getting close to the title and when I saw that one of the cable stations was showing IPL matches a few years ago, I watched a few, checked online to find out that he was on one of the rosters, smiled at the uniforms (only league I have ever seen where some players have three-digit uniform numbers and 24-letter surnames!), and set an alarm to watch a championship match so I could say I saw him play before he retired, and it turned out he was either injured or too old to be effective.  Oh well.  :)

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Posted (edited)
18 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

At least there's one thing good about this list: despite his relatively controversial time as a rikishi, Maedayama mellowed out as Takasago oyakata, recruited Takamiyama, raised an ozeki and a yokozuna (Asashio III), and - despite not being permitted to do so by the NSK, or not being authorised - went on a recruiting tour of the US. One hopes that Maedayama is a better maverick example for Hakuho to follow rather than Takanohana.

Right. It's sometimes easy to fall victim to recentism and forget that athletes who came across as hot-headed or as very self-centered while active become good coaches or executives all the time. Depends on whether their behaviour was a matter of them just not giving a crap about other people (those probably aren't who you want to employ), or if they were simply hyper-focused on the task at hand, i.e. competing, where demonstrating good public social skills just wasn't a necessity. Ol' grumpyface Kisenosato strikes me as a potential case of the latter; his transformation really has been quite remarkable.

So I'm not about to indict Hakuho's oyakata potential based on the last few years. But continually upsetting your future co-workers is almost definitely going to make it more difficult for somebody to realize their potential. Does that apply to Hakuho? Who knows. We've had that debate just recently, and it remains true that we just don't have a good handle on how he might be seen by different factions on the inside. Maybe it's really just the over-50's who have a problem with him, and the guys closer to him in age see it all as just business as usual. Maybe it's the other way around, and Shibatayama et al. are just rattling the sabers because they think it's expected of them in their managerial positions, while younger guys hate Hakuho's guts for his behaviour both on and off the dohyo. Maybe everything's peachy all around, and we're all just getting played (or playing ourselves into it).

I would guess Hakuho has enough of a handle on those perceptions, though, and that's going to affect how he will proceed from here. From the outside, I still think it's extremely unlikely that he just retires from active competition to leave sumo altogether, but the likelihood of an eventual Takanohana-like flameout certainly feels quite a bit higher than it did even just a couple of years ago. And that's a shame.

Edited by Asashosakari
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17 minutes ago, Asashosakari said:

Right. It's sometimes easy to fall victim to recentism and forget that athletes who came across as hot-headed or as very self-centered while active become good coaches or executives all the time. Depends on whether their behaviour was a matter of them just not giving a crap about other people (those probably aren't who you want to employ), or if they were simply hyper-focused on the task at hand, i.e. competing, where demonstrating good public social skills just wasn't a necessity. Ol' grumpyface Kisenosato strikes me as a potential case of the latter; his transformation really has been quite remarkable.

So I'm not about to indict Hakuho's oyakata potential based on the last few years. But continually upsetting your future co-workers is almost definitely going to make it more difficult for somebody to realize their potential. Does that apply to Hakuho? Who knows. We've had that debate just recently, and it remains true that we just don't have a good handle on how he might be seen by different factions on the inside. Maybe it's really just the over-50's who have a problem with him, and the guys closer to him in age see it all as just business as usual. Maybe it's the other way around, and Shibatayama et al. are just rattling the sabers because they think it's expected of them in their managerial positions, while younger guys hate Hakuho's guts for his behaviour both on and off the dohyo. Maybe everything's peachy all around, and we're all just getting played (or playing ourselves into it).

I would guess Hakuho has enough of a handle on those perceptions, though, and that's going to affect how he will proceed from here. From the outside, I still think it's extremely unlikely that he just retires from active competition to leave sumo altogether, but the likelihood of an eventual Takanohana-like flameout certainly feels quite a bit higher than it did even just a couple of years ago. And that's a shame.

Well, it wouldn't be much of a board if we all just waited for the more knowledgable to speak, but maybe I'll now veer in that direction. I can accept his retirement, even forced but if he's booted from sumo altogether I wonder if my interest in sumo will survive. I would certainly be heart broken.

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6 minutes ago, Seiyashi said:

I generally agree with most of the rest of your post, but I can at least cite Japanese counterexamples

I welcome them and concede the good points you made, and I am relieved to have been able to make the points I did without giving offense, although I do appreciate (and often cringe) that many of Hakuho's foreign base of fans are less diplomatic when making such points.  It may simply be that sumo has such a long history that it is natural that its acclimatization period for foreign involvement will be longer than other sports.  I mentioned hockey above, and the first Europeans in the NHL were stuck with the 'can't take a hit' tag, while the Russians were seen as non-individualist robots when they starting beating us in the 1970s: now anyone who applies the old stereotypes usually loses, whether it is a coach, or a high-profile commentator, for the imports have adapted and few of them ever fit the stereotypes in the first place.  If you told me in 1976 that in 35 years my favorite player of all time would be a Swede who preferred passing to shooting, who with his twin brother found new ways to gain back possession with pure skill while getting roughed up on the boards, and took my city's hopeless franchise to within a win of the championship, I would have looked at you like you had escaped from an asylum.  But it happened.

 

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They're probably just worried that if Hakuho watches judo, he might decide to expand his obviously limited technical repertoire and become a serious contender. 

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Posted (edited)
2 minutes ago, Benevolance said:

They're probably just worried that if Hakuho watches judo, he might decide to expand his obviously limited technical repertoire and become a serious contender. 

Imagine if Hakuho's 900th (and maybe final) win is an ipponzeoi. I'd like to see the board/YDC member who's trying to contend with a straight face that that isn't yokozuna sumo.

Some interesting trivia: Terunofuji was coached by Hakuho's father in judo when still a child. Maybe Hakuho's just getting a refresher in case Terunofuji decides to use his old man's Super Secret Judo Move of Ultimate Destiny on him in the next basho.

Edited by Seiyashi

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, Benevolance said:

They're probably just worried that if Hakuho watches judo, he might decide to expand his obviously limited technical repertoire and become a serious contender. 

… and finally start wrestling for real.

Edited by Yaochozuna
spelling

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1 hour ago, Ichimawashi said:

Despite being a North American, I do like to watch sports from elsewhere and I am aware of Mr. Bradman of course.  

SIR Bradman ;). In terms of statistics and being standard deviations higher than others, his batting average is the single greatest achievement in all sports. But back to the topic...

After having overnight to process this and cool down a little, I still think this is much ado about nothing. There is so much separating this from recent precedent. We're talking about:

  • Openly attending perhaps THE global sporting event, clearly in some official capacity given the pass.
  • Thinking it's so 'not a big deal' that you pose for photos with officials for their social media use, in full yukata.

Versus

  • Covertly attending hostess bars or seeing your mistress -- wearing a hoodie to hide your identity.
  • Lying about it/attempting to cover it up
  • Only admitting the truth when backed into a corner

If they want to warn him because he should have asked them first, fine. That seems reasonable. Anything beyond that would be lunacy. And so of course, I expect the lunacy.

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6 hours ago, ryafuji said:

It just sums up the NSK that "Hakuho caught watching judo" is a genuine scandal thread and not a wind-up. 

“Caught” threads always deliver. 

NSK really excels at “catching”. They may even be overachievers in that regard.

We should consider that perhaps secret kimarite-type nomenclature exists for punishing or otherwise expelling undesirables from the sport when they overstep the bounds of acceptable conduct. To wit, “Catching slap down”, “Catching force-out”, etc.

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1 minute ago, since_94 said:

“Caught” threads always deliver. 

NSK really excels at “catching”. They may even be overachievers in that regard.

We should consider that perhaps secret kimarite-type nomenclature exists for punishing or otherwise expelling undesirables from the sport when they overstep the bounds of acceptable conduct. To wit, “Catching slap down”, “Catching force-out”, etc.

It wasn't that hard to "catch" Hakuho at this latest heinous act when the photo was plastered all over Twitter.  

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It seems everything takes on sinister overtones when the culprit is wearing a mask.

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