Shikoroyama-oyakata welcomed Matsumoto Kota, a 3rd-year middle school student to his heya.
He comes over to the stable with the six years of judo experience he’s gathered since he was a third grader in elementary school. As Herouth noted, Shikoroyama wants to ingrain oshi-style skills in his young recruit to avoid injury. A versatile toolset is very important and we wish young Matsumoto well and look forward to covering his maezumo debut alongside the Ukrainian Sergey Sokolovksy.
This Twitter thread highlighted a very interesting point about whether throws and a throw-heavy style (perhaps like Enho’s?) leads to injury any more so than an oshi-style. I was also very interested in the fact that this youngster has elected to skip high school in favor of entering the sumo world. The article mentioned his father’s support and reminded me of the story of my great-grandfather, whose father told him one day that he needed to leave school (at 14) and take a job as a clerk in the local bank.
It’s obviously a big step and a big commitment from such a young kid but he will likely have more of a safety net in “The Heya Life” than what was available to my ancestor. Sumo seems to be a viable lifestyle for young Japanese boys who are not interested in going to join the corporate world and really makes me wonder if such options could be developed in the US, and obviously available to boys and girls.