Faithful Lieutenant Was Key To Training
Kisenosato has perpetually been second best, always just behind tournament winners. But in his stoic and stubborn nature, he continued to train, working to improve with the mindless drive to one day succeed. All valid concerns aside, this past Sunday he finally reached that goal that he has devoted his entire life to achieving.
But it would likely never have been possible without the dedicated, relentless devotion of Takayasu, Kisenosato’s right hand man and boon companion.
Some rikishi are naturally gifted athletes. This includes people like Hakuho and Harumafuji. Anyone can learn the basics of sumo, the rules are quite simple. And like any physical sport, a handful seem to have natural talent and skill. Others are driven to train themselves to the point where they can compete with these natural talents. This is where I believe Kisenosato falls. He has an overflowing love of sumo, but he is not the gifted natural that some others are.
So he trains. But that training is really only effective if Kisenosato has a sparring partner who drives him to excel, who is good enough and tough enough to make him better. Reports are that Takayasu and Kisenosato have been training endlessly, dozens of bouts per day. This allowed the Hatsu champion to hone his skills, and arrive at the first day of the tournament ready to win.
I find it touching that in one of his victory speeches, Kisenosato thanked Takayasu directly.
Should the YDC promote Kisenosato to Yokozuna this week, I will be looking for Takayasu to carry his katana.