We saw a brilliant match today between Takayasu and Chiyonokuni, in which the latter survived after doing the splits and won the day.
Well, this time he accepted the victory (and Takayasu’s fat wad of kensho envelopes) squatting on his own feet. It ended differently in Nagoya 2013:
Although he won, he got seriously injured, went kyujo for the rest of that tournament, dropped down to Juryo, and had a hard time recovering (followed by additional injuries that threw him all the way to Sandanme) (Hat tip to Twitter user Vikram Hegde for the history lesson).
Rikishi often find themselves with their legs placed in very awkward positions. Unlike impact injuries, pulled tendons can often be avoided by diligently doing this:
Don’t let interaction with fans come between you and your splits:
— mie (@bryan_mie) April 9, 2017
While I don’t have evidence that prior to Nagoya 2013 Chiyonokuni has been lax about his flexibility drills, it is clear that he is now very diligent about them (The video is from 2017, the pictures from April 2018). And today it paid off.