Today’s news are mostly brought to you from hospitals and ambulances, but there is a musubi as well.
Enho injured, leaves Jungyo
During today’s practice session, Enho fell off the dohyo and injured his ankle. He was carried on a stretcher to the Jungyo’s on-hand ambulance, which got him to a local hospital, where his ankle was bandaged. He was then hurried back to Tokyo for further care. “It hurts both on the inner and the outer side. And it makes crunching sounds.” said Enho “but there is still time until the Kyushu basho”.
Tachiai wishes Hakuho’s uchi-deshi a quick recovery and continued health.
Ikioi joins the Jungyo
On a happier note, Ikioi has joined the Jungyo today. I think he would have wanted to join it yesterday, as his home town of Katano is much closer to Hirakata than it is to Kishiwada. But the Jungyo is still in Osaka Prefecture and I’m sure his local fans were happy to travel the distance to welcome him back.
He was assigned to Ichinojo on the torikumi form, but I do not have any information about the content of that bout.
Update on Nishonoseki Oyakata
As it turns out, when the oyakata had his accident, he was on his way home from a visit to a sauna, where he had a fainting incident. Nevertheless he decided to bike home, and doing that he collapsed with his bicycle and received the head injury that brought about his current condition.
His anesthetic medication has been reduced to encourage him to regain autonomous breathing, and the doctors observed some positive response.
Shohozan, who is Nishonoseki’s only sekitori, expressed his concern and promised to do his best sumo “for the oyakata” while away on the Jungyo.
This is a bit of late news from yesterday. After his first day, doing reverse butsukari, he followed that up by teaming with Chiyoshoma for a tachiai practice.
When asked if he is bothered by his elbow, he frowned: “I am not worried, but it hurts. There is almost no inflammation, though. I’ll gambarize”.
And a little bit of actual sumo
The musubi of the day. I think Hakuho decided that if Kisenosato is taking this seriously, then so does he. Hakuho 5 – Kisenosato 2.
Yep, today’s main sports news item is Ozekiwake Terunofuji (above, saying hi to Uncle Aminishiki) joining the Jungyo after his serious knee injury during the Aki basho. Which, I remind you, was only a month ago.
How bad was his injury? “Well, at first I couldn’t even use the toilet” remarked the fallen Ozeki (TMI! Please don’t say anything that will cause me to imagine Shunba helping you there, ever again! Somebody hand me the brain-bleach, please!). He was unable to properly extend his leg. Apparently, this was a new injury to his meniscus, unrelated to previous knee problems he had.
He received some treatment and some rehabilitation, and alongside that (wisely) concentrated on building up his muscles. “I worked out vigorously”, he said.
Today he refrained from doing any on-dohyo practice, and opted instead for shiko, suri-ashi, tachiai practices with his loyal Sancho-Panza, Shunba. And of course, strength training, as you can see here.
But if you think he is taking it easy, like his anideshi Yokozuna, you’re wrong. Tomorrow, when the Jungyo hits Osaka, he intends to join the rest of the sekitori and do some actual keiko.
Moreover, he was in the torikumi today. And the schedulers matched him up with Mitakeumi, no less. When I read that torikumi I was pretty sure Fish-Mouth will make himself a kaiju sandwich. But surprisingly, he didn’t. Mitakeumi did a quick nihon-zashi, and got the ozekiwake all the way to the tawara, but in the end, Terunofuji lifted the sekiwake with both arms (both uwate!) and got him out by Utchari. Video below!
Terunofuji’s problems are far from over, though. “If I told you that there is no pain, I’d be lying. But even if I rested, it won’t heal. I’ll just have to live with it”. He said.
About his demotion from Ozeki after 14 basho in that rank, he had this to say: “If my injuries are healed, I’ll be able to attain that rank again any time. The fact that I ended up with a completely new, unrelated injury that time does not make me happy, but I’m not wasting time thinking about a drop down the banzuke. I have to have self-confidence, and I’ll gain self-confidence by training and competing.”
And as usual, Tachiai wishes our favorite Kaiju a safe and healthy continued career.
It’s kisenosato’s turn to play with Asanoyama
The Yokozuna has apparently forgiven the kanto-sho winner for playing hooky from keiko the other day.
He invited him to a 14-bout sanban today, of which the Yokozuna won 9, and Asanoyama a respectable 5. Half way through the series, the two were pretty much even, and you could hear the Yokozuna grunting unhappily.
Those two have kenka-yotsu – the Yokozuna is hidari-yotsu, while Asanoyama is migi-yotsu. In those bouts in which the Yokozuna achieved his favorite grip, he easily dominated. But not so much when he didn’t. “I couldn’t push forward, so it wasn’t good sumo”, said Asanoyama, “but when I got my right hand in I could somehow negotiate at my own pace”.
Following yesterday’s 11-bout session with Kakuryu, this has been Asanoyama’s sixth time to be called for sanban by Yokozuna in this jungyo. “When I lose a bout, I can tell from the experience itself what the reason for having lost was. The angle at which Kisenosato hits you delivers a huge impact. Then he follows that by rapid attacks. Everybody should learn how to position themselves and quickly attack, from watching him”.
The Yokozuna, when asked about the training, narrowed his eyes: “He is skilled, and he has power. I can use him to assess my own state right now. He is the best opponent for that, as he vigorously produces power” he nodded his head.
One thing I’d like to see is Terunofuji taking up Asanoyama (if the Yokozuna let him play with their toy). The youngster seems to be a certified self-assessment tool for high-ranking wrestlers.
Harumafuji is back on the dohyo
The Yusho winner who has, so far, settled for workouts below the dohyo, except for a couple of torikumi in the beginning of the jungyo, decided to do some butsukari geiko.
This was actually a reverse butsukari. That is, usually it’s the Yokozuna who lends his chest, and the lower-ranked wrestler who attempts to push him out. Given that a butsukari is usually a show of superiority, not just a form of practice, it’s relatively rare to see reverse ones.
Harumafuji commented that the reason he did not participate so far was finding himself “slow to recover from the fatigue of the honbasho”.
(Taken from Daily Sports Online. And if you read the article to the end and get to the part where they say that sumo originates from Israel, and that the calls “Haikioi” and “Nokotta” are actually Hebrew, well, that’s utter nonsense alternative reality).
Apparently, Nishonoseki Oyakata (60) was found unconscious by passers-by after an accident with his bike. He was taken to a local hospital and underwent surgery, but so far is still in a coma due to a brain contusion. (Sponichi)
After a short break in which the rikishi went back from Ibaraki to Tokyo, they got on their buses again and traveled back to Shizuoka prefecture, venturing further than before, south to Hamamatsu. By now, even Aminishiki is gently complaining in his blog about the busy schedule.
That is, all got on buses but the Yokozuna, who instead took the Tokaido shinkansen along with their respective retinues, straight to Hamamatsu. It’s good to be the King.
It’s actually rare for all participating Yokozuna to travel together, as usually each makes his own arrangements (or has them made for him). This time they all had a reception to attend, and therefore traveled together.
Let’s see what they have been up to since finishing with their non-sumo obligations:
Kisenosato gives Daieisho a nosebleed
Kisenosato once again engaged Daieisho in san-ban. They did 10 bouts, of which Kisenosato won 8 and lost 2. And Daieisho, as you can see, also lost a bit of blood.
Sponichi reports that Kisenosato was in good form, used his left arm, and entertained the viewers with excellent mobility. Me? I’ll believe that when I see it. Unfortunately, it seems that no obasan was kind enough to record any of the events. If I see any video, I’ll be sure to edit it in later on.
Kakuryu practices with Asanoyama
Having been dumped by Kisenosato in favor of Daieisho, Asanoyama has been batting his pretty eyelashes at Kakuryu. Apparently Kakuryu couldn’t resist much longer, and offered him some Yokozuna love. That is, a sanban. I suppose Asanoyama’s tachiai is better than Shodai’s.
Harumafuji gives Ichinojo personal tutoring
Harumafuji, in addition to all the other responsibilities he seems to enjoy accepting, has taken it upon himself to give sumo lessons to anybody around the dohyo who is willing to listen. In the Natsu jungyo, he taught Goeido his arm and shoulders workout routine. In this Jungyo, at Chikusei, he picked Meisei and demonstrated waza to him (seemed to be ashitori), patiently placing Meisei’s hands on his own person to clarify the points. Today he took up Ichinojo.
While the other sekitori were busy with moshi-ai geiko (winner picks next opponent), the Yokozuna spent about half an hour making Ichinojo do suri-ashi repeatedly, and at the same time physically corrected his technique, such as the use of his left arm. “It was a tachiai practice. I just taught him what I know. But whether he’ll diligently ingest this or not is up to him,” said Harumafuji.
Ichinojo himself was dutifully thankful, and noted that it has been a long time since he received guidance from the Yokozuna. “If I can get this down pat, I’ll have confidence facing the next basho”, he added. The Yokozuna remarked: “That depends on him”.
Ichinojo himself paid it forward, picking Yago for butsukari:
Now, this makes a lot more sense than Nishikigi offering his chest to Yago. This is a butsukari whose video I’d love to find. I’m sure when those two bodies clashed, seismographs around Shizuoka went into the red.
Terunofuji achieves pole position in race for Darwin Award
Terunofuji, the knee disaster personified, announced today that he will… oy… be joining the… oy… Jungyo as of October 19th, when it stops at Kashiba in Nara. Sorry, it’s really painful for me to type this. Oy.
Reminder: last time the fallen Ozeki prematurely returned to action, it ended up as you see on the left. And he just refuses to learn. I wonder how much more of this Shunba can take.
A less painful addition to the Jungyo occured today, as the recovering Yutakayama joined forces with the rest of the Makuuchi.
Yes, it’s already Monday, and you’d expect the media to come up with some real beef to feed us after a dry weekend, but no. The only article on Nikkan sports, for example, is about… Aminishiki caught reading a book! A book! I’m sure there is a rule against that somewhere…
So today, like yesterday, we’ll settle for a short summary. But let’s start with a little tidbit that escaped me a couple of days ago:
New Shokkiri performer: Baraki
Baraki, who definitely has the right looks for Shokkiri, with a short stature (164cm) and a comical face, joins veteran Shokkiri man Akua to perform the traditional, but not-so-serious duties in this Jungyo.
Three Yokozuna exercise outdoors
After the regular asa-geiko, all three Yokozuna opted to exercise outdoors. Harumafuji performed shiko and mostly exercised his (already well-developed) smile muscles. Still no dohyo practices or torikumi. Still cites fatigue.
Kisenosato, who took a 9-bout sanban with Daieisho, opted for some fundamental exercises with his tsukebito for half an hour in the sun.
Kakuryu opted for nearly 40 minutes of walking around. “I drew power from the sun”, he said.
Nishikigi offered his chest to Yago, but this was a rather short affair, as the muscular and bulky Juryo man easily pushed the medium-sized Maegashira across the dohyo.
Note: I’ll do my best to make this newsreel a daily feature during the Jungyo, but this is subject to (a) work and other demands on my time, and (b) the availability of news on Japanese media outlets and twitter, so no promises made.
Kisenosato spars with Asanoyama 17 times, wins 15-2
Kisenosato summoned Asanoyama for a rather lengthy sanban session, consisting of 17 bouts, of which he won 15. There was still no sign of the Yokozuna’s famous left ottsuke, but he did grab Asanoyama’s upper right arm for a Yorikiri and did a left-hand uwatenage.
Kisenosato sounded rather pleased with the practice, saying he “tested out various things”, and that “he worked hard to be ready to work with sekitori”. Asanoyama’s comment: “The Yokozuna is heavy and has a low stance”. Yes, sunshine, learn.
Aminishiki celebrates 39th birthday and new age record
Everybody’s favorite Uncle Sumo celebrated his 39th birthday a few days ago, but received a belated cake from the press at the opening of the Autumn Jungyo, to celebrate a new record: being the oldest to return to the Makuuchi division. Aminishiki thanked his family for their support during “The most difficult 39th year of my life”, and vowed to strive to advance to a level that will allow him to face Ozeki and Yokozuna once again. “I’d like to wrestle with Hakuho again”.
Don’t kid us, Uncle, we know there’s a Yokozuna, not from your heya, off of whom you still haven’t peeled a Kinboshi. And that’s not Hakuho.
Hakuho to join jungyo on October 14th together with Enho
Hakuho expressed his intention of joining the tour on October 14th, when it hits Kanazawa. He will probably be accompanied by the Sandanme Yusho winner Enho, who hails from Kanazawa.
Kakuryu does butsukari with Daieisho
Kakuryu gave Daieisho a butsukari session. Commented afterwards: “I have been working out sufficiently, and now I am aiming to gain my sense of the dohyo again”.
Kisenosato beats Harumafuji again
I termed this on twitter “a Paralympic bout”, as it’s hard to tell which of the two has a worse disability. Better tachiai than the one in Beyond2020, though:
Earlier today, another exhibition event took place at the Kokugikan, just before the Autumn Jungyo starts, called “Beyond2020”.
In this event, in addition to the usual fare (low-ranking rikishi practicing, keiko with kids, and later a full torikumi), there were two feature exhibitions.
The first, featuring Kisenosato and Hakuho, is called “san-dan-gamae”. Basically “Three level stances”. The two Yokozuna face each other in symbolic poses – upper, middle and lower – representing, respectively, fighting spirit, offense and defense.
Last year, this exhibition was renewed after 20 years, featuring Harumafuji and Kakuryu. This year it was the other two Yokozuna’s turn.
The second feature, a little more active, was the “Gonin-gakari”. This pits a Yokozuna against five simultaneous rivals on the dohyo. He takes the first at the tachiai, and then the rest tackle him one after the other from the sides. This is the first such exhibition to take place since 2001, when it was performed by Takanohana. This time it featured Harumafuji:
I won’t blame anybody who thinks that this looks scripted, but somehow, it seems Mitakeumi didn’t get the memo.
The feature exhibitions were followed by a regular set of Makuuchi torikumi. I’ll post all results if and as I get them, but these are the ones I got to see live (Yay, no geo-restrictions):
Chiyoshoma vs. Takarafuji. Chiyoshoma wins, but thinks he didn’t, as Takarafuji picked him up and got him out of the dohyo. But he did so with one foot out…
Chiyonokuni vs. Ikioi. Ikioi wins after a Monoii and a Torinaoshi.
Ichinojo vs. Kagayaki. Ichinojo wins by being bigger.
Shodai vs. Takakeisho. Shodai wins. What?
Shohozan vs. Chiyotairyu. Chiyotairyu picks Shohozan at least half a meter above ground and wins by a fancy kimarite. I know, I know, I should have written it down.
Hokutofuji vs. Onosho. Starts off on equal footing, then Onosho sidesteps, gets behind Hokutofuji and sends him outside.
Kotoshogiku vs. Tochiozan. Tochionzan wins.
Mitakeumi vs. Tamawashi. Turns out that given enough time, Mitakeumi knows what to do with a morozashi. Well, Tamawashi is not Harumafuji. Mitakeumi first holds him high, just below his armpits, then corrects this to a full mawashi grip and out goes the eagle.
Goeido vs. Kakuryu. Well, if I find a video of this torikumi I’ll be sure to add it here. Kakuryu wins convincingly. Slightly favors leg, though.
Musubi no ichiban: Kisenosato vs. Harumafuji. This was… disappointing. It reminded me a bit of that strange matta in the Aki basho. Harumafuji got into a bad tachiai, Kise pushed him a bit so he jumped back, and then jumped back again and out of the dohyo. It was set down as an oshi-dashi, but Kisenosato was still in the middle of the dohyo at the end of the bout. I’d call it an isami-ashi. Fans are now worrying about Haruma’s health.
First of all, Takayasu versus Yoshikaze is my bout of the day. I just can’t put into words how excited I am to see these two fighting together with Takayasu not only chasing ozeki rank – but in yusho contention. Yoshikaze was built to be a spoiler; will he throw a wrench into Takayasu’s coronation?
Hakuho and Harumafuji look healthy and are fighting well. Both have been quite dominant and aggressive, with the exception of the one “almost henka” from Harumafuji…I believe against Daieisho on Day 5. I’ve got a few theories about that but no sense risking injury against a guy who should not even be at this level. Harumafuji will face Chiyoshoma for the first time so I’m expecting a quick sidestep/spin to check the box and move on to Day 9.
Hakuho, on the other hand, will face a desperate Kotoshogiku. If Giku loses tomorrow, he will be on the verge of makekoshi, and certain demotion to the maegashira ranks with Japan’s darlings, Kisenosato & Mitakeumi, waiting in the wings. After that, 5 more days of certain humiliation as he fights lowly maegashira for the privilege of staying in the upper ranks. And with Hakuho as dominant as he has been the last few days, as his own sumo has had to evolve, I’m not expecting him to let Giku get a bear hug to even try a hug-and-chug.
If he can keep him at arms length, battering him with slaps, I will be VERY curious to see how the sekiwake will react. As his lower body fails him, he needs more options with the upper body. Does he have it in him to go toe-to-toe in a street brawl? I want to see that so bad. To whom does Sadogatake beya turn if he retires? Kotoyuki’s been fizzling – with Myogiryu, Kaisei, and Tochinoshin – facing newly promoted Yutakayama.
Wakaichiro will face an interesting test tomorrow. Takaseiryu has spent almost four years in this Jonidan division. Never kyujo, just up and down with setbacks in between spurts of steady improvement. Not long ago he was at his highest position in the division, managing a 3-4 record at Jd5. He doesn’t seem to be a big guy if 112kg from the SumoDB is accurate. Is that what’s holding him back? With both rikishi close in size, it is certainly an interesting bout between experience and raw strength.