Hidenotora

"Plane of the dohyo" and its (non-)existence?

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Posted (edited)

Hi guys. I searched the forum for this, there's plenty of mentions in individual posts but there's never been a specific thread about it, it seems.
I also apologise if it's something that's been discussed before, or is a potential flashpoint or whatever, I"m just trying to get some answers.

I see people have been discussing this concept for decades now so this is nothing new, but it still comes up: is the "plane of the dohyo" a thing that is taken into consideration for calling the winner of the match?

The consenus seems to be that it is not part of the rules, and has no bearing on a match's outcome. John Gunning made a post on Reddit a while back where he agreed with someone that it was not a rule (the post is now deleted, like most of his web presence unfortunately), but he's about as authoritative as it gets in the English speaking world.
However, there's been a couple of occasions where one of the commentators (both English and Japanese) have said something about it, either directly (I believe Murray has specifically talked about it before, but consensus seems to be he made a mistake mentioning it; I believe this is what spurred the Reddit post where John Gunning agreed with someone that there is no such rule) or indirectly (the Japanese commentators, which obviously include guys like Kitanofuji, Mainoumi and various other guest oyakata who you would expect to know if such a rule existed, have made oblique references to people's foot being "beyond the perimeter"). It's hard finding the specific examples now but I believe the perimeter thing was brought up on the NHK Japanese broadcast on day 9 of the Nagoya 2021 basho, in Abi's 2nd mono-ii. Those better at Japanese than me can chime in with what's being said here if they have access to that match with JP commentary. Or, if the rule really is a thing, I'm sure there'd be a myriad of other examples that can be pointed to.

I know trying to show it doesn't exist is proving a negative and there's no set of gospel, 100% correct rules we can point to to confirm it for definite, but what are people's thoughts on this?
If this is a rule, what are the specifics of it, as far as we know? Are we talking about a vertical plane (ie. perpendicular to the surface of the dohyo), or a horizontal one? If it does exist, it feels like a really subtle, almost unwritten thing like shinitai/dead body (though we at least know that does exist, even if they apply it inconsistently)
If this isn't a rule, where did it originate from?

It feels like something is going on, but it seems like I don't have the full picture or something. I'm also willing to accept the reality that the shimpan just make some awful calls sometimes and people have justified them with mental gymnastics and come up with this non-existent rule. Many sports now have video referee facilities and yet terrible rulings continue to be made.

Thanks for any input!

Edited by Hidenotora
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I'm quite interested to hear the discussion, but have little to add of my own. My understanding was always that it was a horizontal plane - that is, if the dohyo extended outward indefinitely (or was just flush on the ground) and you would have hit the dirt, but didn't solely by virtue of the fact that the vertical edge of the dohyo needs to be somewhere, you've broken the plane and out to have lost the match. 

That said, as you note there seem to be a lot of matches where is clear one rikishi crossed the plane before the other hit the actual dirt and didn't lose, so I've always been somewhat confused about the references to it as it doesn't seem to be a rule. But am interested to get the more experienced members' take on things as it is referenced not infrequently. 

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The plane, if it exists, is definitely horizontal. Today's Chiyoshoma vs. Sadanoumi bout was close to providing an example, as Chiyoshoma's hand broke the plane at about the same time Sadanoumi's foot touched down. They reviewed it and confirmed the call for Chiyoshoma.

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Most indications are that it is a shinitai decision.  The vertical and horizontal planes exist, but they do not appear to be part of the decision.  It is an offense/defense/body position factor.  That brings us back to the old "What constitutes a shinitai?" problem.

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Reonito said:

The plane, if it exists, is definitely horizontal. Today's Chiyoshoma vs. Sadanoumi bout was close to providing an example, as Chiyoshoma's hand broke the plane at about the same time Sadanoumi's foot touched down. They reviewed it and confirmed the call for Chiyoshoma.

Yes, I thought this bout would prompt some discussion about the plane of the dohyo. Especially since Chiyoshoma seemed to have been repelled well and was flying out of the dohyo. However, I agree with Asojima that this decision was likely made more because Chiyoshoma was clearly on the attack and Sada's defense hadn't fully worked.

EDIT: This is poorly written by me, but I'm not in a state of mind to fix it.(Eh?)

Edited by Yarimotsu

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Posted (edited)

The bout today in makushita between Chiyonoo and Kamito is probably as clear an example as you'll see (replays start around the 25:50 mark); hopefully someone who speaks Japanese can translate Isegahama's explanation.

 

Edited by Reonito

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The setsumei is pretty basic: it just says that the gunbai was raised towards Kamito, his foot went out first, and therefore the gunbai was pointed incorrectly. That being said, it could just have equally been the fact that at the time Chiyonoo stepped out, Kamito was obviously irrecoverable, even though he had also breached the plane of the dohyo at that point.

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I think Kamito's lost that match by dead body rule as soon as he's gone airborne with momentum carrying him out of the ring, so plane of the dohyo doesn't factor in. I would have thought we were looking for the rarer case where a wrestler breaks the plane of the dohyo while still having one foot alive in the ring.

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Potential evidence for the plane of the dohyo tonight in Kiribayama/Wakamotoharu? I didn't hear what the mono-ii explanation was, but Kiribayama kept his feet in while executing a defensive throw and getting Wakamotoharu to touch down first. However, Kiribayama's arm was hanging off the dohyo, breaking the plane, and he lost.

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Posted (edited)

If there is any kind of rule about this, it has been completely left out of any explanation of the rules anywhere I've seen. If it does exist in whatever passes for an official rule book at the Kyokai, it is enforced in such a subjective manner that it can't really be called a rule.

Edited by Churaumi
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Posted (edited)
27 minutes ago, Churaumi said:

If there is any kind of rule about this, it has been completely left out of any explanation of the rules anywhere I've seen. If it does exist in whatever passes for an official rule book at the Kyokai, it is enforced in such a subjective manner that it can't really be called a rule.

I was going to say something similar, but more along the lines of: it is probably the case that breaching the plane of the dohyō is positively correlated with some other explicit rule that decides whether a rikishi wins or loses. Most likely whoever "dies" first, or exits the dohyō first. So to observers seeking to latch on to another explanation, plane of the dohyō looks like it might be it, but it is an inferior predictor compared to the explicit rule of the first exit. 

(Of course, this is not to say that the shimpan/gyoji get it right all the time, but plane of the dohyō explanations would not correctly decide those cases either.)

5 hours ago, Kaito said:

Potential evidence for the plane of the dohyo tonight in Kiribayama/Wakamotoharu? I didn't hear what the mono-ii explanation was, but Kiribayama kept his feet in while executing a defensive throw and getting Wakamotoharu to touch down first. However, Kiribayama's arm was hanging off the dohyo, breaking the plane, and he lost.

The rough translation of the setsumei is as follows:

"The gunbai was raised for Wakamotoharu. Both bodies seemed to exit at the same time, however, we found that Kiribayama was earlier, therefore the gunbai stands."

I suppose if you squint hard at it you could say that the arm passing through the plane of the dohyō might have been a contributory factor to the decision, however, it is not impossible to also see that Kiribayama was irrecoverable at the point where Wakamotoharu himself became off-balance. (Roughly 15:58 on Natto's digest: this is really a frame-by-frame thing, which considering the shimpan have access to slow-motion replay, it's not out of the question that this was indeed how they arrived at their decision.) When Wakamotoharu pitches forward and is clearly going to fall, Kiribayama has already been falling backwards for a while.

I guess the upshot of it all is, sure, plane of the dohyō could help rationalise some cases where it's not immediately clear why the win was awarded, but at best it's correlated to the true reasons for winning according to the NSK and (in my opinion) nothing more. It's such a technical term (土俵の平面, dohyō no heimen) that if it were actually a factor in the shimpan's decision-making, you'd think you'd hear about it more often in mono-iis.

Edited by Seiyashi
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I see this thread got moved, apologies if I didn't post it in the right place initially.

I think the general consensus here is that it doesn't exist as a rule, but some people have now latched onto the idea that it does and are in the "prove that it DOESN'T exist!" mindset. I would also expect the shimpan to mention it in rulings but to my knowledge, they've never done so.The language barrier is obviously a big issue for a lot of people and any time there's ever a monoii, the conspiracy theories are out right away because they've no idea what was just said. Sometimes the replay makes things clear but I can see how this kind of thinking could lead to people making up a non-existent rule.

I was hoping for more input from people who've been following for a while as to if they were aware of this concept back in the day, or if it suddenly appeared one day around a specific time period. Thanks!

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As far as I can tell, the NSK doesn't have a sponsorship deal with any airline to be the "official airline of Ōzumo." Therefore, there is no "Plane of the Dohyo." 

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On 28/03/2022 at 11:51, Sue said:

As far as I can tell, the NSK doesn't have a sponsorship deal with any airline to be the "official airline of Ōzumo." Therefore, there is no "Plane of the Dohyo." 

I spoke too soon: Plane of the Dohyo

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