Aki YDC Soken Report

Aki 2018 Soken

For tournaments that happen in Tokyo, the Yokozuna Deliberation Council conducts a supervised practice session, referred to as the “Soken”. The YDC is a body of sumo enthusiasts who are outside the Japan Sumo Association, who advise the Association on matters concerning the sport, and the leading men of sumo. They frequently state opinions on all manner of rikishi, but it’s undefined how much actual sway they have over the Sumo Association.

The Aki Soken was conducted on Friday August 31st, and most of the rikishi who are part of the joi-jin were present, going through training routines, and a few practice bouts under the watchful eye of the council. One notable absences was Ozeki Takayasu, who did not even appear. This is typically a sign that a rikishi is in poor health, and we may now consider him doubtful for the Aki basho.

His stablemate, the perpetually injured Kisenosato, was present, and in fighting form. He faced fellow Yokozuna Kakuryu, and Ozekis Tochinoshin and Goeido, finishing with a 4-4 record. He dropped 2 bouts to Kakuryu, but his 4 matches against Goeido were of the most interest. After a rough start against Goeido, Yokozuna Hakuho encouraged Kisenosato to re-engage and re-challenge himself. Entering the ring, he proceeded to dominate Goeido in what can best be described as rough and vigorous sumo. His form still looked a bit off, but his fighting spirit was on full display.

More disappointing was Ozeki hopeful Mitakeumi, who turned in a dismal 1-13 result against a variety of opponents, including a pounding by Yokozuna Hakuho. Fans pulling for Mitakeumi to reach Ozeki should take note that he seldom shines in these events, and is generally considered much weaker in practice than he is on the dohyo. A video below for your review.

8 thoughts on “Aki YDC Soken Report

    • This is the blog’s raison d’être. I’m happy when someone learns something…and super happy when I learn something. :)

  1. Thanks for the update. From the brief clip it looked like there was a lot more intensity in these bouts than a lot of the jungyo match ups

    • This is a session that’s specifically intended to show the YDC members and other viewers what you are all about. It’s very important for the Yokozuna and Ozeki who want to become Yokozuna, as the YDC does have a clout when it comes to Yokozuna promotions or punishments. The Ys and Os don’t want to be perceived as bad, lazy or disrespectful when the next deliberation comes.

      But even the others show respect for the spectators. They are there to see your best action so you are supposed to produce your best action. Jungyo is a bit lighter in this respect – you have to keep the customers happy, but you need to be more entertaining than serious to do that.

  2. It looks pretty grim for Takayasu. I thought that the top men were expected to show up for this event and do a few moves even if they didn’t actually fight any matches. Is that right?

    • Luckily he isn’t kadoban this time. But he really needs to get healthy again. Better he sits out this basho if that helps getting back to form.

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