16 thoughts on “Tachiai 2017 Kyushu Video Podcast

  1. Good recap! I think we need a donation incentive to get you guys some “Last Week Tonight” style informative visuals up in the corner to go along with the discussion topics. Especially “wheels falling off” Kisenosato and some TeruKaiju vs KotoMothra battles over Fukuoka.

    I like good Henka too, but give the elderly more credit – Aminishiki will have to mix it up to stay relevant against the upper division youngsters.

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  2. From the Jungyo updates, it seems Kakuryu is in good shape, most looking forward to hopefully seeing him back somewhere close to his best. Kakuryu v Hakuho for the yusho would be a great watch.

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  3. The problem that Mitakeumi is running into, and the reason I think Ishiura is in Juryo, is that younger guys have reliable sumo techniques that get them high up the banzuke. However, the veterans in the highest level, especially the San’yaku, constantly have to learn new techniques to continue to be successful. So, the question isn’t how hard rikishi in the Makuuchi division work. But, how diligently they work on learning new skills to keep their opponents unprepared for their attacks.

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    • I don’t know about that. Quite a few one-trick ponies have made it as far as ozeki, not to mention the much greater number who have carved out long-time makuuchi careers. (Toyohibiki has spent nearly a decade up there…) IMHO it’s not so much that techniques have a shelf-life before they become ineffective against the same competition, it’s more that some techniques simply don’t play well against certain opponents in the first place. The higher you go up the rankings, the shorter the list of stuff that still works and/or the better you need to be at executing it.

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  4. Finally got to watch the whole thing. Thank you very much for all the mentions and compliments!

    This basho is going to be like the red wedding from Game of Thrones for the joi part of the banzuke. I already said once that four yokozuna are a health hazard. You were talking about Kisenosato wanting to make a good impression for at least a year or so after he earned the title. I think his situation is not very different from that of Asahifuji in his day (the famous four-yokozuna 1991/1992). He became Yokozuna in the end of 1990, managed to win a Yusho in 1991, and then had a bare kachi-koshi followed by two kyujo, followed by retirement. He only was a Yokozuna for less than a year and a half. Then, of course, he set up an excellent heya. And Kisenosato also has a kabu.

    Hakuho seems to be very tight-mouthed. There’s no way of knowing what the situation of his knee is, but seriously, I still don’t see him dropping more than one or two bouts.

    Harumafuji is talking big – about getting his 10th yusho and a second one in a row and whatnot. But the man is falling apart, and there were worrying signs in the Aki basho that he was losing his edge and unable to compete with youngsters. With hardly any practice other than on his tachiai, I don’t know. I think he’ll be the first Yokozuna down. His kinboshi leakage is increasing. The sanyaku consists of people who have already grabbed wins from him, and three Yokozuna. Yes, Kisenosato is only 70% of a Yokozuna, but Harumafuji is not even 70%. Those two are going to be racing for the intai.

    I’m in complete disagreement with Andy about Goeido and the subject of henkas. Sumo is not your regular sport. You don’t see Lebron James taking two of his teammates and a referee and go to some famous church to perform a basketball sacrament. That would be ridiculous anywhere outside Japan, really. You don’t see athletes living at their clubs, or being told what to wear and how to do their hair. No official in any sports association is going to stop a leading athlete’s practice session in order to give him a lesson in proper trash-talk (well, that’s the closest thing to an intimidating shikiri that I can think of).

    And in sumo, henka is considered something that you don’t resort to when you have the power and technique to beat any opponent. When you become an Ozeki, you take an oath to maintain the dignity of the rank. When you become a Yokozuna, you take that same oath again. It’s sumo, not boxing or Judo. It’s not dignified for Hakuho, it’s not dignified for Terunofuji, and it’s not dignified for Goeido. If any of them is injured or something and it’s that or bust… OK, fine. But a man in full health and great sumo capabilities like Goeido? Furthermore, he was not losing the basho at that time. And those two henkas were just a part of a whole series of backward shuffling bouts. They were not funny, not elegant, and really, just pathetic.

    I would love to see Goeido in what Bruce calls “version 2.0” put the fear of god in the entire joi and win a yusho. I would not like to see him win a yusho or a jun-yusho the way he did in the last basho.

    I’m a bit more optimistic than you two are about Asanoyama. He is not in the joi yet. He has had some excellent practice sessions. Not just butsukari, but good san-ban sessions with Kakuryu and Kisenosato, which means he got to see his weaknesses, and got to see what his opponents were doing against him. And with all due respect to Terunofuji’s hurting knee, if Asanoyama beats him 4 times out of 7, then (a) Asanoyama is not half bad, and (b) Terunofuji should worry.

    The only problem with Asanoyama is his dedication. He is not the Onosho type. But I think he can get a kachi-koshi if he applies himself.

    Speaking of Terunofuji, I have a bad feeling there. He looked quite nice for most of the part of the jungyo that he’s been participating in, and he’s been working out, which he wasn’t doing before the previous basho. But he still weighs way too much, and that final session with Asanoyama was worrying, even if he did manage to beat Mitakeumi following that. With the murderous upper ranks we will have in Kyushu, I am not sure Kotoshogiku will be the only thing to separate him from his Ozekihood forever.

    Speaking of Kotoshogiku – he is really serious about regaining his Ozeki rank. I don’t know that he can do it, but he is certainly pumping himself up both mentally and physically.

    Dropping all the way down to the bottom of Juryo: Yago managed to hang in there, but from what I saw, it’s going to be temporary. Goeido mentioned the fact that he doesn’t have any footwork to talk about, and only uses his upper body. That wouldn’t do in Juryo. Especially not with a highly motivated and weight-gaining Takagenji around… Looks like his stablemaster was right in not assigning him a shikona yet.

    And one thing that’s going to be sad to watch in this basho is Ichinojo. He’s ranked too high for his condition right now, and is going to be butchered every day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Asanoyama’s going to face virtually the same strength of schedule as he did last time. As long as he’s healthy, anything other than KK would be a big surprise, IMHO.

      That being said, the likelihood that rikishi will end up performing completely different in honbasho than they had in keiko beforehand tends to be rather high, as any sumo gamer can sadly attest to.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Any time I try to read one of those Banzuke posters, it gives me a headache. I don’t know how the layout artist can do it, if not at 500x zoom in Illustrator.

    And google translate comes up with crazy nonsense, I don’t think anyone has tried to teach it to recognize sumo terminology up in SV.

    Liked by 1 person

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