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Iwagakki

Sumo in K-1 and Pride

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Tomorrow I am making Mochi.

The next day, Akebono is fighting Royce Gracie, and Sentoryu, who is now going by the name Henry Miller, apparently, is fighting Makoto Takimoto. Takimoto is an olympic gold medalist in Judo, and is making his Pride Debut. Sentoryu doesn`t look like a bad pick in this fight.

Sentoryu won his last fight, against a guy named Mal Foki, in a rather dramatic fashion. It took him all of 21 seconds to score a convincing knockout. After the knockout he shouted out "Sumo is STRONG!!!"

He has a bit of a chip on his shoulder about Akebono being a total loser. He has said as much, in standard diplomatic fashion, in several interviews. Sentoryu has lost a lot of weight lately, and is now looking just "ripped". At least as far as ex-rikishi can look ripped. Sumo is strong. And so is Henry Miller. I know a lot of people don`t want to hear about the "unbecoming" exploits of a couple of old rikishi, but at least Henry is making a stand on behalf of sumo. I think he can be as proud of his status in Pride. He is a Marquee name, and he`s definitely not a loser. Even if he loses, he`s got the goods. If he works at it, and learns quickly, he can do ok in Pride. To me, the fact that he is competitive says that Sumo spirit IS strong.

Akebono is fighting Royce Gracie. Akebono is the opposite of Sentoryu. Every one of his fights have been under the banner of "freak show". His debut against Sapp was a freak show, not anything like an athletic contest. Sapp is a freak. Akebono was the perfect complementary freak. Musashi, a TINY Japanese kickboxer, was one of his opponents. Another freak show. Akebono outweighed him by like 200 kilograms or something, and it ended up being a show of elephant lumbering around after mouse. Nonsense really. Last time around, Akebono was KO`D hard, by a super athletic Remy Bonjasky, who leaped high into the air, and kicked him right in the head. Like that was ever in doubt. The only thing that could have made it more of a complete embarrassment is if Akebono did a sword swallowing act immediately after the KO.

He is now 0-5 and has been beating in the most embarrassing possible way in each fight. I am now starting to wonder if that is the whole point. "Let`s find another absurd comic book way for him to lose again...."

Gracie is a perfect straight man to the freak show. He weighs 175 pounds to Akebono`s claimed 424 pounds. I think he is still actually around about 480 or so. Gracie is a "legend" in MMA. He won the Ultimate fighting Championship a few times in like 95 and 96 and has been rather inactive since. He won some big fights against guys much bigger than himself, and against all sorts of karate, Judo and wrestling types. A lot was made of the "Gracie Mystique" and how the various members of the Gracie family Jui-jitsu had never been defeated since like 1920 or something. So, back in the day, Royce Gracie seemed unbeatable, and so on. They claimed he was undefeated in like 700 fights or something absurd like that.

Gracie was beat convincingly, in 2000 by a Japanese pro wrestler named Kazushi Sakuraba. Sakuraba is really something. You guys should check him out.

(as an aside, Royce Gracie`s brother Rickson is said to have a record of 583-0 in no holds barred fighting, but nobody has ever been able to confirm more than a record of about 10-0)

Anyway, Akebono is strong. It is possible that he is in fact too strong for Gracie, and will somehow just get a hold of Royce, and just squeeze him or pound on him until its over. He did rock sapp a couple of times.

But I don`t think it will happen. Even a fraud like Gracie is better than Akebono. He wouldn`t stand much of a chance with any of the top billed guys in K-1 and would have no chance at all against most of the guys in Pride. They are a completely different type of fighter than the guys he fought before.

But, since this is a freakshow, and since we apparently like to see our national treasures, our paragons of hinkaku, get the snot beat out of them, we have to see Akebono get choked into submission. He has lost by Knockout a couple times, and by absolutely one sided decisions a couple times, so I guess now he needs to actually be made to submit to complete the disgrace, huh?

Anything to make a buck, I guess. It`s sad, really. I think Akebono actually believes he is a fighting legend, and he`s allowed his trainers and handlers to have fooled him into it, so they can take advantage of him.

Henry is not an embarrassment. In his case, I think, a mans got to do what a mans got to do. He didn`t have a place in Sumo after he retired, and maybe didn`t want it. Nobody expected anything of him, I think. He has always been a blue collar rikishi, just trying to get by, and make the best of it. He had to go on to something else, and I think the only thing he really knows how to do is fight, so he went on to Pride. All good and well.

Akebono was the champion of champions. He was more glorious than Asashoryu. He was above Kaio, and Takanohana, and Musashimaru. (once upon a time...)He was the epitome of what it meant to be strong, historic, honorable. He embodied bushido. He was the living representation of the sumo gods.

We had a right to believe in him. We had a right to admire and respect him. We had a right to feel in awe of him when he walked by. We had a right to revere him for what he represented. He was like looking at the sun.

It is sad. he is not on a losing streak. He has become a loser. Maybe, though, he deserves every last punch in the gut, or kick to the head. Maybe he deserves every last bit of pain that he suffers at the hands of these guys.

Maybe so. I think so. He was a Yokozuna. He wasn`t just some guy getting by in upper Makushita. He betrays everything it ever meant to be a yokozuna.

As for the inevitable-"he deserves to make a living"...He was a yokozuna for years. I bet he won millions of dollars in Kensho. He earned enough each month to choke a horse. He made tens of MILLIONS of dollars in his career.

Being a yokozuna means, by definition, that you don`t lower yourself. that you don`t ever play the fool. That you are above reproach, and that you are a disciplined, honorable, respectable, responsible person who inherently displays the traits of what it means to be a MAN. Not just a man, but the highest order of Man.

For Akebono to have squandered his earnings, to have made an astonishing series of poor business decisions, and find himself in a bad way financially is bad enough to insult the name of Yokozuna. For him to now prostitute himself, and worse, Sumo, is the lowest. He calls his gym, "team Yokozuna", and sells himself all over the K-1 website and shows as the `Zuna.

It`s disgusting. It really is.

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Akebono is fighting Royce Gracie...

Gracie is a perfect straight man to the freak show.  He weighs 175 pounds to Akebono`s claimed 424 pounds.  I think he is still actually around about 480 or so.  Gracie is a "legend" in MMA.  He won the Ultimate fighting Championship a few times in like 95 and 96 and has been rather inactive since.  He won some big fights against guys much bigger than himself, and against all sorts of karate, Judo and wrestling types.  A lot was made of the "Gracie Mystique" and how the various members of the Gracie family Jui-jitsu had never been defeated since like 1920 or something.  So, back in the day, Royce Gracie seemed unbeatable, and so on. They claimed he was undefeated in like 700 fights or something absurd like that. 

Gracie was beat convincingly, in 2000 by a Japanese pro wrestler named Kazushi Sakuraba.  Sakuraba is really something.  You guys should check him out. 

(as an aside, Royce Gracie`s brother Rickson is said to have a record of 583-0 in no holds barred fighting, but nobody has ever been able to confirm more than a record of about 10-0)...

It`s disgusting.  It really is.

Indeed, Helio Gracie, the father of Royce, Rickson, and 5? other boys, was beaten in 1951 (by a Japanese judoka) and in 1958 by a Brazilian jujutsu/capoeira/boxing dude...see JudoInfo.com.

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Whats all this talk about Akebono being a loser and such???? The guy is a sumo legend, a former Yokozuna come what may that will never change....If your referring to just his recent exploits as a (make-shift) K-1 fighter than you may have a point but I dont think just his deciding to go that rout qualifies him as a loser in life.

I am happy for Sentoryu nonetheless he was always 110 percent on the dohyo and very exciting to watch (1-0 against Asashoryu even! lol). Unfortunately his size was not such to lend him the necessary dominance over his opponents with his particular style of sumo (strictly push thrust or slap down) as he was useless with the mawashii, (had some injuries also). Either way I would expect him to be much more difficult to handle in a fight than on the dohyo (probably alot tougher to knock the guy into submission than to simply "hatakikomi" him lol).

I would also like to say as a kickboxing practitioner myself there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with any type of fighting sport be it "ultimate" fighting, "pride" "K-1" or what have you, they are all legitamite organized sports so to simply compare one to say "sumo" and critisize Akebono and say he is lowering his standards by participating in them is wrong. It is the fact perhaps that he may not be enjoying the same success (losing again and again) that may be disturbing but not just the fact that he's participating in a different sport. So dont go pointing bad about ultimate fighting or any sport like that just because it doesnt measure up to "sumo" in your eyes (ill take any number of those pride or k-1 fighters over a "rikishi" in a fight any day) -----

Edited by Ryukaze

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Whats all this talk about Akebono being a loser and such???? The guy is a sumo legend, a former Yokozuna come what may that will never change....

[...]

So dont go pointing bad about ultimate fighting or any sport like that just because it doesnt measure up to "sumo" in your eyes (ill take any number of those pride or k-1 fighters over a "rikishi" in a fight any day) -----

Yup, bored again - else I wouldn't be replying to this...

Precisely because Akebono was such a great yokozuna, because we admired and respected him so much did his move to K1 hurt. To me, it was like a slap in the face, to see such weakness in a man I believed to be ultimate among rikishi. He did so much, in his sumo career. He struggled through hardships I can't even imagine, he dominated sumo until impossibly perfect Takanohana rose to match him and even then kept up the pace and remained more than worthy rival. He was a dai-yokozuna, and he retired after winning a yusho, while still on top - it was so cool...

Which makes his move to K1 that much worse. I won't judge values of K1 compared to sumo or other combat sports, mostly because sumo is the only combat/martial art sport I watch and I find others less than interesting. The sad thing is that Ake went there mostly because he needed money, and he went there to play (as Iwagakki bluntly puts it) a freak. A freak that keeps reminding the audience that he was a sumo champion, a yokozuna, and by his constant and inept losses keeps dragging the image of sumo through the mud. What will K1 fans think of sumo after seeing Ake disgrace himself on the ring? That it's a sport for fat blobs... exactly the stereotype that makes sumo so hard to "sell" to younger generations.

So Ake not only sorely dissapointed me, who liked and respected the dai-yokozuna, he also keeps disgracing the name of yokozuna (which he has tatooed on one of his limbs) and the very sport of Ozumo. My respect for him is tattered, and I cannot even remember his past greatness without feeling the bitterness of his present state. In time, I guess, his K1 episode will be forgotten and his greatness in sumo will remain. But for now... (Just do not get it...)

Does this make him a loser? I don't know... depends on your definition of a loser. As far as K1 goes he certainly is, 'cause he keeps losing... :-(

As for your final sentence - I suppose K1 or Pride wrestler would kick sumotori's butt in a street-fight any day, because these combat disciplines come closer to a street-fight than sumo does. But I would also bet on a makushita rikishi over K1 or Pride wrestler in a sumo match. Or you, sir, could kick my butt from here to Nagoya any day, but I would knock you sensless in preparation and analysis of nanofilled materials. But neither fact makes any of us superior to another... at least in my eyes.

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Guest Vincentoryu

Ozumo is not just a sport it is a way of life.

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Yep, I also didn't enjoy the Akebono's ass kicking show in K-1. It really hurts, but if you take a closer look at the situation Akebono had to face, you simply realize that he may have taken the best decision for him and his family.

In the first issue of Le Monde du Sumo, I tried to understand his decision, and basically I realized the following points :

1. Being a sumo legend doesn't feed your family !

2. Being a yokozuna, there is no other way to stay within NSK wihtout becoming a shisho and owing your own heya. That cost LOTS of money, especially when you haven't got anymore your koenkai (fan club) to back you up finacially.

Before criticizing Akebono, you should all keep in mind that Akebono was not granted an ichidai toshiyori kabu, and the current Azumazeki oyakata was not about to retire, at least within 5 years to let Akebono inherit the heya.

So, the current NSK laws only gave to Akebono two choises :

1. Stay within NSK by borrowing a HUGE amount of money. Then, be in debt for a long long time, and try to climb within NSK while being an hawaian....

2. Move to K-1, take a lot of money while having your ass kicked for possibly 5 years. Then, turning forty, enjoy your life the way you want in complete freedom while being healthy.

Difficult choice, isn'it ?

Honestly, I know what I would have done if I were Akebono at that time. I am not saying Akebone is a perfect man, but definitely NSK should take much care of their own lengends on retire. Akebono had almost no choice but to move.

Greetings from Paris,

Chienoshima

PS: My article about Akebono moving to K-1 should be translated in the future.

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A freak that keeps reminding the audience that he was a sumo champion, a yokozuna, and by his constant and inept losses keeps dragging the image of sumo through the mud. What will K1 fans think of sumo after seeing Ake disgrace himself on the ring? That it's a sport for fat blobs... exactly the stereotype that makes sumo so hard to "sell" to younger generations.

So Ake not only sorely dissapointed me, who liked and respected the dai-yokozuna, he also keeps disgracing the name of yokozuna (which he has tatooed on one of his limbs) and the very sport of Ozumo.

I completly agree. It

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(I hope I don't start a flame war with this post)

But I don`t think it will happen. Even a fraud like Gracie is better than Akebono. He wouldn`t stand much of a chance with any of the top billed guys in K-1 and would have no chance at all against most of the guys in Pride. They are a completely different type of fighter than the guys he fought before.

Royce Gracie is not, and never was a fraud. Indeed he was badly beaten by Sakuraba two years ago, in the same fashion Sakuraba was beaten *four* times after that. (and I doubt you dare calling Sakuraba a "fraud" too)

In his days, Royce Gracie defeated fighters much stronger and bigger than him, like Dan Severn, Kimo and Ken Shamrock(?). I was there, I saw him fighting - this guy just *can't* be a fraud.

But for us brazilians, it is as shameful to watch this nonsense bout (with Royce Gracie putting shame on his surname), as it is for the japanese (and the rest of us) to watch Akebono put shame on his (fine) previous career. (Whistling...)

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In his days, Royce Gracie defeated fighters much stronger and bigger than him, like Dan Severn, Kimo and Ken Shamrock(?). I was there, I saw him fighting - this guy just *can't* be a fraud.

That historic draw between Gracie and Shamrock was monumental. It's a shame Shamrock decided to have that last hurrah against Ortiz. All told, minus the UFC 1 loss to Royce, Shamrock was pretty untouchable for a long time.

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I tried to understand his decision, and basically I realized the following points :

1. Being a sumo legend doesn't feed your family !

2. Being a yokozuna, there is no other way to stay within NSK wihtout becoming a shisho and owing your own heya. That cost LOTS of money, especially when you haven't got anymore your koenkai (fan club) to back you up finacially.

The points you raised are all valid and true but it's true for every Yokozuna before Akebono. As a yokozuna, I really admired Akebono. I always felt he had more yokozuna like intangible quality than any who came after him (including Takanohana).

Akebono got as much money as Chiyonofuji when he retired. Only Takanohana got more money than Akebono. His problems were more than financial unfortunately. Even if he stayed and got a Toshiyori share somehow, it's very unlikely that he inherited Azumazeki Beya - his relationship with Azumazeki oyakata was precarious at the best after he went ahead to get married without any prior discussion. He destroyed any amicable relationship with the supporters club members and the club dissolved. For a Yokozuna supporters club to disband itself was totally unheard of and extraordinary. Here he had a variety of individuals who could help him after his retirement - there were politicians, businessmen and professionals with the club.

These are the people who could have helped him when he went into the restaurant business - accountants, lawyers and finance company executives. Instead he figured he could do all on his own and opened up the restaurant which failed rather quickly. I don't know how much money he lost but it must have been enough to drive him into a personal bankruptcy or so the rumour says.

Akebono is still a name and still seems to attract fight fans in Japan but when and if he loses this market then I have no idea what he could do then. He is too proud to ask for help to people like KONISHIKI or even Yamato. I hope he is saving whatever he is earning now for that rainy day or he may end up becoming the new Minanogawa.

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I also find it strange (and somewhat hard to believe) akebono could have any valid reason for having financial problems (unless he bet all his money on Tochiazuma coming back for a full tournament without getting hurt by someone lol) But seriously as the primo man in the sport for years and years how in the world could he possibly have had any $$$ problems (aside from up and blowing it all...) in which case I dont think that deserves much "respect". Either way seems he would have been better off staying in sumo rather than tainting his image in K-1 (does he even know how to kick? lol).

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Before criticizing Akebono, you should all keep in mind that Akebono was not granted an ichidai toshiyori kabu, and the current Azumazeki oyakata was not about to retire, at least within 5 years to let Akebono inherit the heya.

why is this?

if anyone deserved it, it was him. was it because he was non-japanese?

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if anyone deserved it, it was him.

Why? No other Yokozuna with a comparable career (i.e. about 10 yusho) got ichidai toshiyori, either.

Or were you talking about him not inheriting Azumazeki-beya? It's somewhat difficult to tell from the way you quoted.

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Why? No other Yokozuna with a comparable career (i.e. about 10 yusho) got ichidai toshiyori, either.

Or were you talking about him not inheriting Azumazeki-beya? It's somewhat difficult to tell from the way you quoted.

Sorry for bad english.

I was saying that when Akebono did his move to K-1, Azumazeki oyakata was far from turning 65 and reached retirement. So, it was very very unlikely that Azumazeki oyakata gave his heya to Akebono, to have himself out of the Kyokai or to become a simple oyakata in its former own heya. I am not even talking about the cold situation between Akebono and him.

About granting ichidai toshiyori, it seems that the standard to get this is to reach the 20 yusho plateau. So, as former yokozuna Wajima (14 yusho), Akebono didn't make it, and was not granted the precious status. In my opinion, within a 6 basho per year system, 20 yusho is a fair standard for greatness, so I am not shocked by the NSK decision.

Akebono got as much money as Chiyonofuji when he retired.  Only Takanohana got more money than Akebono.  His problems were more than financial unfortunately.  Even if he stayed and got a Toshiyori share somehow, it's very unlikely that he inherited Azumazeki Beya - his relationship with Azumazeki oyakata was precarious at the best after he went ahead to get married without any prior discussion.  He destroyed any amicable relationship with the supporters club members and the club dissolved.  For a Yokozuna supporters club to disband itself was totally unheard of and extraordinary.  Here he had a variety of individuals who could help him after his retirement - there were politicians, businessmen and professionals with the club.

Even though they were given the same amount of money when they retired, in my opinion, you can't compare Akebono's situation with Chiyonofuji's situation. Chiyonofuji did not have any pressure about getting a toshiyori kabu, as he had already his ichidai toshiyori. Moreover, he knew that he was about to take over the Kokonoe beya and he probably one of the strongest koenkai in history to back him up. The whole Hokkaido cheer him up, let alone the powerfull Kokonoe beya supporters. So, Akebono and Chiyonofuji truly enjoyed two diametrically opposed situations.

About Akebono getting married without asking his oyakata's permission, you should also remember that, in the same period, Takanohana played it the "right" way and was eventually denied the right to marry the woman (Rie Miyazawa I guess) he was in love with. This was a real scar for Takanohana, and even at his retirement press conference, all the journalists were given specific orders in order not to speak about her. So, probably, Akebono was shocked by his archrival's dramatic situation, and just decided to be more effective for its own good, to the detriment of his future oyakata career.

Happy new year and best wishes for 2005,

Chienoshima

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About granting ichidai toshiyori, it seems that the standard to get this is to reach the 20 yusho plateau. So, as former yokozuna Wajima (14 yusho), Akebono didn't make it, and was not granted the precious status. In my opinion, within a 6 basho per year system, 20 yusho is a fair standard for greatness, so I am not shocked by the NSK decision.

but then why did musoyama get toshiyori status? he was a 'mere' ozeki with only a few yusho (don't know how much, 1 or 2 i thought)

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but then why did musoyama get toshiyori status? he was a 'mere' ozeki with only a few yusho (don't know how much, 1 or 2 i thought)

He wasn't given Ichidai Toshiyori status. He has a regular Toshiyori share.

There's a difference between Ichidai Toshiyori stock and a regular Toshiyori stock.

Ichidai Toshiyori are special one time only Toshiyori that are only given to great Yokozuna (the Yokozuna doesn't have to purchase it, he recieves it as a gift). Ichidai Toshiyori can never be sold to, or re-used, by any other rikishi. Once the holder reaches the retirement age (65), the Toshiyori is retired with him.

A regular Toshiyori stock share can be held by most any rikishi who has been sekitori long enough, or has reached at least Sanyaku. But it has to be either purchased from the current holder, or received on loan, or inherited.

Musoyama has a regular toshiyori which he had to acquire from the former holder of the stock.

The only current Ichidai Toshiyori holders are Takanohana, Kitanoumi and Taiho.

Regular Toshiyori holders (pretty much all the other oyakata) number around 100.

Edited by Zentoryu

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