Kyushu Day 2 Highlights

Today was Oshidashi Day in Fukuoka. Well, in reality, nearly every day is oshidashi day. But 8 makuuchi bouts, or nearly half of the matchups, were decided by this most basic of the basic kimarite. In my mind, tsukidashi is basically oshidashi with velocity (think Abi’s Superman) while yorikiri is oshidashi with intimacy (think Kotoshogiku and “hug-n-chug”).

So it’s fitting that we start out with Kotoeko’s oshidashi win over a hobbled Arawashi. After a well-met tachiai, Arawashi pulled to his left which may not have been the best idea on that heavily wrapped knee. Kotoeko adjusted and drove through the straw bales. The announcer said yorikiri but that finish really lacked the 四つ身 intimacy one would think of. Kotoeko had Arawashi at arm’s length, like one would hold my son’s socks, rather than in close like Bogart and Bergman. The distinctions I’m drawing here are my own and (as is usual) could be wrong…it’s just the way I think of it and welcome discussion in the comments. Arawashi is 0-2 and looking Juryo bound.

Meisei followed up by showing us what Arawashi likely meant to do. The quick left pivot and firm hold on Chiyomaru’s right arm left Chiyomaru struggling (briefly) to maintain his balance before getting tipped over the side and rolling down the slope of the dohyo. Kotenage, one of two finishing throws in the top division today. Meisei’s off to a great start at 2-0. Chiyomaru is not at 0-2.

After an initial yotsu tussle, Chiyoshoma seemed to realize that would not be wise paired with someone 50 kilos larger. So he disengaged but tried to keep hold of Daiamami’s mawashi. That wasn’t working so he backed away altogether, skirting the tawara when, Bam!. Landing the slap to the giant’s face turned the retreating Chiyoshoma back into the aggressor. He dove for Daiamami’s belt and as the larger man attempted to circle, a quick kick out brought Daiamami earthward. Clever kekaeshi to go to 2-0. I like those. Herouth’s post from yesterday has another great example from the flying monkey. Daiamami is level, 1-1.

Daishomaru had a plan. And thinking back on it, this approach may have served Arawashi well earlier. At the tachiai, Daishomaru’s paw found its way to the back of Takanosho’s neck. Backing away to the left, as Arawashi had tried before, along with the addition of downward force of the right hand dispatched Takanosho. Hatakikomi under duress (distinct from henka-ki-komi). Daishomaru improved to 1-1 while Takanosho is still looking for his first win, 0-2.

Onosho is looking good early in this tournament. It’s too soon to start handing out special prizes but he’s in a position to clean up. Aoiyama, on the other hand, is looking shaky. This starts off with a brief slapping tussle that ends when Aoiyama gets his hand behind Onosho’s head and retreats, attempting another hatakikomi. However, Onosho was far too high and well balanced for this to be effective. Onosho countered quickly by driving forward and sending Aoiyama over the edge, stumbling into the spectators, nearly squashing Endo. Lacking intimacy, and lacking the force required to turn a mountain into a projectile, we have an oshidashi #2. Onosho is rocking to a 2-0 start; Aoiyama heading in the opposite direction, falls to 0-2.

Endo proved unfazed by his near-death experience and quickly beat Okinoumi. A motivated Endo is great to see. Strong tachiai, driving forward, Okinoumi could only hope for a last minute change of direction. But Endo locked on, engaged, and Okinoumi had nowhere to go but out. Oshidashi #3. Both wrestlers are 1-1.

Sadanoumi copied Endo’s lead against Chiyonokuni. Lock on, engage, drive forward. The difference, this time, was rather than having his arms extended, Sadanoumi immediately gripped Chiyonokuni’s mawashi before getting into gear. Chiyonokuni ended up in a painful-looking heap at the base of the dohyo. The intimacy gives us “yori-” and Chiyonokuni couldn’t keep his feet, we get -taoshi. The yoritaoshi win means Sadanoumi is off to a great 2-0 start. Chiyonokuni is 1-1.

Yutakayama squared up against Daieisho for a great, thrusting slapfest. Both wrestlers committed early to pushing/thrusting attacks. After taking a battering, Daieisho yielded in retreat and Yutakayama followed in hot pursuit. Yutakayama may have been a bit overeager to end things as a subtle shift redirected the mountain over the cliff-face…with a little help…dropping like a boulder to 0-2. Daieisho improves to 1-1. Tsukiotoshi is one of the hinerite, twisting kimarite, not one of the similarly named tsukidashi/tsukitaoshi “basic” kihonwaza.

Next, Kotoshogiku was able to lock in his patented hug-n-chug against Ikioi. Yorikiri. Ikioi falls to 0-2 on a shaky looking ankle. Kotoshogiku’s off to a great 2-0 start. Next, Shohozan seemed determined to prove Takarafuji has a neck. He nearly decapitated Isegahama’s senior sekitori at the tachiai and kept pressing, eventually convincing Takarafuji to yield, as he stepped out for oshidashi #4. Takarafuji is starting off winless while a confident Shohozan is 2-0.

Abi’s next against Takanoiwa. Hmmm…belt battle? No, silly question. Abi charged forward, fighting to his strength. Takanoiwa retreated quickly, falling to oshidashi #5 and 0-2 while Abi gets his first win his way.

Kagayaki and Asanoyama locked in quickly for a belt battle. Kagayaki’s left arm wrapped around Asanoyama’s right, but while he was seeking a good belt grip with the left, Asanoyama dropped his shoulder, working his arm free, and planted his hand firmly behind Kagayaki’s head. With a firm left-handed belt grip, he pivoted, throwing Kagayaki to the clay. Uwatenage. Asanoyama improved to 2-0 and Kagayaki fell to 1-1.

After his great start yesterday, Shodai somehow went back into “sleep” mode. You can’t just absorb Chiyotairyu’s tachiai at full force and expect to stay at the top of the dohyo. Ryuden chugged forward into an overwhelmed Yoshikaze. And Mitakeumi followed up fiercely driving through Tamawashi. Oshidashi #6, #7, and #8 and all six men are 1-1.

Tochiozan is looking chuffed. I’ve got my eye on this confident veteran. Today he battled Ichinojo. He wasn’t going to be able to drive through the much larger Mongolian but he stood his ground pretty well and when the opportunity presented itself, he quickly twisted left and let gravity do its thing, as Ichinojo dropped to 1-1 and Tochiozan stays undefeated early.

Takakei-yusho? It’s still far two early, obviously, but after two days Takakeisho has now dispatched two of his toughest competitors. There’s really not much to say about this one but a real disappointing loss from Goeido. There was no plan but to slap a few times and fight Takakeisho’s fight? He telegraphed his second shoulder charge giving Takakeisho enough time to slip outside and have a smoke. Takakeisho 2-0, Goeido 1-1.

Nishikigi’s plan going into the Tochinoshin bout was likely, “keep him off your belt.” Job done. However, he didn’t seem ready for Tochinoshin to pivot and shift direction. After taking a Georgian forearm to the chin at the tachiai, Nishikigi seemed out of sorts as Tochinoshin was in front…and then not. Tochinoshin pivoted, and charged in from the side, keeping Nishikigi on the defensive and turning until he charged him out over the side.

Not to disrespect Takakeisho’s upsets but Takayasu must be the yusho favorite now, though. His bout today against Hokutofuji is my bout of the day. This was a great oshi brawl. After a good while trading thrusts, Hokutofuji got Takayasu spun around and saw his chance! But as an Ozeki should, Takayasu recovered quickly, maintained his balance, read Hokutofuji’s final charge, and timed his hatakikomi beautifully. Takayasu escapes and stays undefeated and while Hokutofuji’s 0-2, he’s looking strong.

After an embarrassingly quick loss to Takayasu yesterday, Myogiryu was looking for redemption…and a kinboshi. He’s not had many chances lately and unless he pulls off something unexpected and near kachi-koshi, today would likely be his only chance with Kisenosato as the lone Yokozuna. Boy did he buckle down. After an initial tussle, Myogiryu must have been stunned to find himself with morozashi and superior position as the Yokozuna was far too upright. He charged forward and importantly kept his balance as Kisenosato tried to twist out of the way, before tumbling into the head shimpan.

26 thoughts on “Kyushu Day 2 Highlights

  1. I do like Chiyoshoma (did I mention that before?). He henkas, he runs away, he smacks to the chops and he kicks the shin. Every night, when he goes to sleep there is a book under his pillow: it is called “1001 Sneaky, Dirty, Devious Sumo Moves Which Are Not Actually Cheating”. The new, expanded edition of “1001…” will include new chapters entitled “No-one ever gets disqualified for punching” and “Choke? What Choke? The art of Nodowa”.

    • Haha! That shin kick was ridiculous! All the other Chiyos are lovely. I can picture Chiyoshoma just sitting in the corner of the heya by himself, growling.

      • I think the original author of the book is Hakuho, who is famous – among other things – for using that move, twice, in the same bout. Always two there are, a master and an apprentice.

    • The only black mark on Chiyoshoma’s record for me is when he shoved his opponents face after a match recently. I don’t have a problem with “wily” opponents. Hell, Aminishiki is one of my favorites. But, you’re right that there’s something about Chiyoshoma that makes me think he drinks whiskey and grumbles about how “these young’uns don’t understand” in the heya.

      • I tend to agree about the wily moves vs. Ugly moves. That shove to Hokutofuji after a matta (Hokutofuji seems to draw bad luck mattas) last year. I also dislike him pulling pranks on his tsukebito – that’s abuse of rank. But the moves – certainly low kicks – are perfectly legal. He is not a Yokozuna who has to maintain “hinkaku”.

        I wouldn’t count on him being a lonely drunk or anything, though. He gets along fine with the Mongolian rikishi.

  2. Arawashi is definitely Juryo bound due to busted knees. :(

    Asanoyama and Onosho are showing fine form and we even have a genki Kotoshogiku. Hokotofuji gave his all, but he’s angry and frustrated as he should be with his losses. I think he’ll get there eventually, but things aren’t going his way right now. There are a boatload of questions at the top of the banzuke and I know I’m not the only one who is wondering if we’re going to see Kisenosato heading for a haircut very soon. Everyone who has taken on Takakeisho has danced to his routine and Goeido is back at his old antics of losing bouts he should have won. I still think Tochinoshin was shaky today because of mental issues and nothing physical. Now that he has the win lead for the year, we’ll see if I’m right. Takayasu is the choice for the yusho win for a lot of people, but he’s also still really shaky. He pulled a win out of his magic hat today and that won’t work next week.

    • “Everyone who has taken on Takakeisho has danced to his routine. . . ” I too am puzzled by this. I’m a big Takakeisho fan but can’t help wondering why all his opponents just stand there and wait for him when he pulls back for his wave tactic. Seems like the obvious counter would be to go with him when he pulls back and keep pushing before he gets the chance to regroup. But, what do I know?

  3. tigerboy1966 made an astute observation about Takakeisho’s win over Goeido in the comments of Jason’s video: Takakeisho delivered three headbutts to Goeido during their match including a real smasher during the tachiai that left a mark on Goeido’s face. It must be hard to fight well if your bell’s been rung that hard.

  4. Is grabbing the sagari allowed? I know it signifies the Gentleman’s Special Area you’re not allowed to go for, but I assumed that meant the sagari itself is also out of bounds? Takayasu grabbed Hokutofuji’s and pulled, and re-grabbed for a better grip. Watching a couple of commentaries, nobody mentioned it, so I suppose it’s OK – but in that case, why don’t they do it all the time?

    • They usually just come right off. I was puzzled by that myself. I figured he was holding it because that just happened to be what he was able to get a hold of.

    • Sagari don’t really stand for private parts. They stand for kesho mawashi. Who may have been used in the past as part of men’s modesty, but not as a mark where you shouldn’t grab. It’s forbidden to pull at the “Frontal sack” part of the mawashi. But sagari are not significant.

      • The only time I recall seeing the front strap grabbed was when komusubi Ama welcomed M14 makuuchi debutant Goeido to the top division in spectacular fashion with an okuritsuriotoshi (Aki 2007, day 12; Goeido was at 10-2). For whatever reason the move was permitted.


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