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Olenishiki

Ama's decline

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Smaller rikishi need to use different tactics, be it circling around and try to get behind to negate their opponent's power, using throws which use their opponent's momentum, or taking a step back and slapping down at the tachiai or afterwards.

I know it feels dirty to lots of people, and I don't like seeing it a lot, but sumo would be a far far far less interesting sport without it being on the table as an option for desperate rikishi and for smaller rikishi facing someone whose charge they just can't fully absorb.

The Baruto discussion, not surprisingly, has taken a turn toward the henka. The case made for the henka over there by SalParadise (quoted above) seems to me to shed some light on our beloved Ama's plight. I think Ama is someone who should do MORE henka. He has great technical skill, but when his opponent has to expect only straight-forward "big-man" sumo from this little man, Ama doesn't have that brief but crucial moment of an opponent's hesitation in which to insert his technical inspirations from the get-go. I believe a henka or two per basho would keep his opponents just enough off-balance at the tachi-ai to make him even more effective. These past two disastrous bashos for him: I'm not sure, but I don't think he's done a henka even once. The few he's done in the past certainly have not been sufficient to change his opponents' (correct) assessment that he's going to come straight ahead. By the way, there was never any significant clucking of tongues when Mainoumi did a henka. Even the occasional vertical henka. The move was admired--and even delighted in--as smart sumo from a man wisely using the talents and advantages that are unique to him.

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Guest pahayama

What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? (Chucking salt...)

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What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? (Chucking salt...)

That's the only thing I can call some of Mainoumi's most spectacular moves! He would basically leap up and over his opponent.

Edited by Olenishiki

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What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? (Chucking salt...)

Right. And Mainoumi was a dilettant compared to Hayateumi.

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Back on the original topic, I don't quite agree with Olenishiki. Admittedly, Ama seems to be out of his depth at his current rank. But his "big-man" sumo should earn him a lot of wins from the lower-mid maegashira. He might not have the potential for a sanyaku regular - where henka won't help him much either - but his kind of sumo is good enough to have a Kakizoe-like career.

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... but his kind of sumo is good enough to have a Kakizoe-like career.

or even a Terao-like (Chucking salt...)

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I think that Ama has been injured for a couple basho now (since making his komosubi debut), and has shown a different brand of sumo from what he had previously. I think that he takes the 'rikishi' label to heart too much, and refuses to henka out of pride, even if he knows in his head that it's the right thing to do. He's the smallest lightest rikishi in Makuuchi, and yet he tries to fight like he's Iwakiyama. Not that that's a bad thing (as far as entertainment is concerned), but it's a likely reason he got injured, and a likely reason he couldn't maintain that komosubi rank.

Ozeki fall for henka often. That much has been proven in recent basho. If he did it all the time, it'd be ineffective. But with Ama's brand of sumo, the occasional henka could give him that split second advantage when he's pushing that he needs to get the opponent off balance or with a high center of gravity. He should henka more, despite his pride, if he wants to reach the top of his game.

I'm not saying he should henka every time, only that he should show that it's in his arsenal, and he isn't afraid to use it. Even if he doesn't use it against miyabiyama (or another 170+ kilo rikishi), the ability to make the opponent hesitate, or at least not charge full strength, would give him a massive advantage.

The problem is that there are too many foreign rikishi who employ henka (I'm looking at you, russians) I think, and that makes it tougher for Ama to make that decision, even though it obviously is a weapon in his arsenal that he needs.

Ideally he would be healthy, and going full-out at the tachiai with no thought of henka, and win or lose on his strength, but that just isn't realistic at the 120 kilos or so that he's at. So take a henka, now and again, and show your opponents that you can win even without putting your all into it, so that they don't put their all into it at the start in fear of something that you will rarely do.

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Back on the original topic, I don't quite agree with Olenishiki. Admittedly, Ama seems to be out of his depth at his current rank. But his "big-man" sumo should earn him a lot of wins from the lower-mid maegashira. He might not have the potential for a sanyaku regular - where henka won't help him much either - but his kind of sumo is good enough to have a Kakizoe-like career.

Don't get me wrong. I adore his "big-man" sumo. It's a big part of why I like him so much. But it wouldn't devalue that aspect of his sumo if he mixed in a rare but often-enough-to-be-a-threat off-center tachiai. It would make his straight-ahead sumo even more effective.

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What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? :-P

Hassou-tobi

八双跳び

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What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? :-P

Hassou-tobi

八双跳び

Wasn't it 八艘飛び or 八艘跳び? Meaning a jump over 8 ships?

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The problem is that there are too many foreign rikishi who employ henka

Just for what it's worth, here's the list of the top ten henka perpetrators over the past year, as cut and pasted from the current issue of Sumo Fan Magazine's Henka Sightings:

"Here is the list of the top ten henka perpetrators for the first full year of study, listed in order of the percentage of their bouts henka'd. Shunketsu, Wakatoba and Takanowaka haven't appeared in makuuchi lately but I'll keep them on there for now."

Kyokushuzan 20

Shunketsu 13 *

Wakatoba 11 *

Takanowaka 10 *

Hokutoriki 9

Roho 8

Hakurozan 6

Toyozakura 5

Kyokutenho 4

Kaio 4

* Only their makuuchi bouts were studied

Here's the link: http://www.sumofanmag.com/content/Issue_7/Wrap_Up8.htm

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I think I would tend to agree with Sal on this one....A small man is "ALLOWED" to do henka in my book (big men aren't as they shouldn't need it, and as far as im concerned NONONE should be allowed to do a hatakikomi off the tachiai for a cheap win over an opponent (Sign of disapproval) .) I will agree that at the present moment Ama seems to be a bit out of his league with regards to his opponents (I belive he just barely ripped off a come from behind 8-7 record his last trip at upper meagashira...) MAybe not necessarily a henka but an inashi of sorts at the tachia to nullify the effect of his heavier opponents tachia's and to give himself an advantage with regards to positioning on his opponents. Noneltheless I do admire his agressive and fearless style (if only poor Kotooshu would take a page from Ama's book) which is a big reason he is where he is.....good post!

Edited by Ryukaze

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A small man is "ALLOWED" to do henka in my book (big men aren't as they shouldn't need it, and as far as im concerned NONONE should be allowed to do a hatakikomi off the tachiai for a cheap win over an opponent (Sign of disapproval) .)

Can we make a list of 'small' men who qualify for a henka card? Hmmm...if Ama, why not Katayama? If Katayama, why not Toyonoshima? If Toyonoshima, why not Toyozakura? Then you couldn't leave out Kakizoe or Yoshikaze. And if them, why not Takekaze and Aminishiki? Well, since eventually we'll work our way up to Miyabiyama, I guess we'll just have to call it the Ama rule. (Scratching chin...)

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"Here is the list of the top ten henka perpetrators for the first full year of study, listed in order of the percentage of their bouts henka'd. Shunketsu, Wakatoba and Takanowaka haven't appeared in makuuchi lately but I'll keep them on there for now."

I guess it's implied, but I didn't see it spelled out in the article...those percentage are based on the bouts that were in fact voted as henka, not just nominated, right?

Mostly I'm wondering how Toyozakura only got 5%, because he seems to be nominated at least 3 times each basho. (Scratching chin...)

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"Here is the list of the top ten henka perpetrators for the first full year of study, listed in order of the percentage of their bouts henka'd. Shunketsu, Wakatoba and Takanowaka haven't appeared in makuuchi lately but I'll keep them on there for now."

I guess it's implied, but I didn't see it spelled out in the article...those percentage are based on the bouts that were in fact voted as henka, not just nominated, right?

Mostly I'm wondering how Toyozakura only got 5%, because he seems to be nominated at least 3 times each basho. (Scratching chin...)

That's right. The bouts nominated but not validated are ignored when determining those percentages, so the percentages reflect actual henkas. And now I see that I'll have to spell that out directly from now on. Thanks for that.

And Toyozakura has been nominated 10 times in four basho over the six basho studied so far (he was in juryo for two of them) - so it's 2.5 nominations per basho. Incidently, none of his first seven nominations were validated, but the last three have been. This doesn't include the two nominations so far in this basho.

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A small man is "ALLOWED" to do henka in my book (big men aren't as they shouldn't need it, and as far as im concerned NONONE should be allowed to do a hatakikomi off the tachiai for a cheap win over an opponent (Sign of disapproval) .)

Can we make a list of 'small' men who qualify for a henka card? Hmmm...if Ama, why not Katayama? If Katayama, why not Toyonoshima? If Toyonoshima, why not Toyozakura? Then you couldn't leave out Kakizoe or Yoshikaze. And if them, why not Takekaze and Aminishiki? Well, since eventually we'll work our way up to Miyabiyama, I guess we'll just have to call it the Ama rule. (Scratching chin...)

How's about I stop you right there at the beginning by saying "NO" to Katayama (who like the rest of the rikishi you just listed are at or very near 300+ lbs, and therefore "NO" to everyone else you listed) "HMMMMMMM"? (Kensho parade...)

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A small man is "ALLOWED" to do henka in my book (big men aren't as they shouldn't need it, and as far as im concerned NONONE should be allowed to do a hatakikomi off the tachiai for a cheap win over an opponent (Sign of disapproval) .)

Can we make a list of 'small' men who qualify for a henka card? Hmmm...if Ama, why not Katayama? If Katayama, why not Toyonoshima? If Toyonoshima, why not Toyozakura? Then you couldn't leave out Kakizoe or Yoshikaze. And if them, why not Takekaze and Aminishiki? Well, since eventually we'll work our way up to Miyabiyama, I guess we'll just have to call it the Ama rule. (Scratching chin...)

How's about I stop you right there at the beginning by saying "NO" to Katayama (who like the rest of the rikishi you just listed are at or very near 300+ lbs, and therefore "NO" to everyone else you listed) "HMMMMMMM"? (Kensho parade...)

That's fine...just trying to figure out where the line would be drawn. Right now it seems to be somewhere between 250 and 288 pounds. 275 Sound about right?

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What's a "vertical henka"? Jumping over the opponent? (Scratching chin...)

Hassou-tobi

八双跳び

Wasn't it 八艘飛び or 八艘跳び? Meaning a jump over 8 ships?

八艘飛び is right Kanji.

壇之浦の戦い

Yoshitsune(義経) did 八艘飛び at Dannoura no Tatakai(壇之浦の戦い).

He did not fight with one of the opponents Noritsune (教経),

so Yoshitsune jumped a ship one by one to escape.

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In spite of his banged-up body, in spite of his size, in spite of what some us might think is a certain predictability in his small-man's tachiai, today he quite elegantly picks Tosanoumi up and puts him out. This is why we love the guy. (Poking the other guy...)

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The problem is that there are too many foreign rikishi who employ henka

Just for what it's worth, here's the list of the top ten henka perpetrators over the past year, as cut and pasted from the current issue of Sumo Fan Magazine's Henka Sightings:

"Here is the list of the top ten henka perpetrators for the first full year of study, listed in order of the percentage of their bouts henka'd. Shunketsu, Wakatoba and Takanowaka haven't appeared in makuuchi lately but I'll keep them on there for now."

Kyokushuzan 20

Shunketsu 13 *

Wakatoba 11 *

Takanowaka 10 *

Hokutoriki 9

Roho 8

Hakurozan 6

Toyozakura 5

Kyokutenho 4

Kaio 4

* Only their makuuchi bouts were studied

Here's the link: http://www.sumofanmag.com/content/Issue_7/Wrap_Up8.htm

Note that most of them are rikishi on their way out, or foreigners. Shuzan is a clear perpetrator. Shunketsu (formerly Ishide), Wakatoba, and Takanowaka, are all struggling in Juryo (which is to say they aren't rebounding back into Makuuchi). Hokutoriki has been performing miserably, and has been getting his wins by, well, henka mostly, save for the occasional basho where he is in form for some reason, before falling back below mediocrity. Then you have the two russians, another washed up rikishi, another foreigner, and an Ozeki who's had serious challenges to maintaining his rank...

There are plenty of rikishi who do henka who aren't foreign -- but they're generally on the downturn of their career. Seeing Kyokutenho or the Russian Brothers using Henka while still being young and trying to rise up on the banzuke is just bad form. Baruto using it was bad form, but it got him a win against an Ozeki, and has been a rare rare occurrence for him. While I don't want him to continue with that style, using it once shouldn't be the cause of people calling for blood is all...

Ama is overpowered and needs to find a method of getting the opposing rikishi off balance. Henka is one way. I'd like to see him try it at least occasionally...

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Seeing Kyokutenho ..... using Henka while still being young and trying to rise up on the banzuke is just bad form.

That is funny. (Gyoji...) Sorry couldn't resist.

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Care to clarify?

Isn't it obvious? If I may ask, how long have you been following sumo? He is not the youngest guy around there more like the opposite and he has been past his best form like hundred years ago. So instead of "trying to rise up on the banzuke", he is more like trying to not to go down me thinks.

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2 years+, give or take.

Kyokutenho has been playing with sanyaku consistently as of late, which he hadn't done before. On his way down you state (because he's, well, old), but he's doing better than I've ever seen him. Was there a time in the distant past where he was consistently threatening to enter sekiwake or something?

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