Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Nearly unbelievable display of athleticism

This post is about Sumo but you don't have to understand anything about it except that the first guy to touch the ground in the ring with anything other than his feet OR is pushed/carried/thrown out of the ring loses.

A few days ago, during day 8 of the Nagoya-basho, Yokozuna (Grant Champion) Asashoryu had a match against Kotonowaka, one of the higher ranked top level rikishi (wrestler). Asa is not only the sole Yokozuna but he's one of the smaller guys competing. However, he is one of (if not the) strongest men in Sumo and his technical ability is way above that of the competition (as demonstrated further on).

The bout took only about 9 seconds (an normal time in Sumo). At the start Koto was able to get a good grip on Asa's Mawashi (loincloth, not diaper!) and did a real impressive job of turning him around. He started a high shoulder throw that actually spun Asa so that his back was to the floor. As they both went down it seemed obvious that Asa was going to lose this bout (he was unbeaten up to this point). But this is where the Yokozuna showed why he is the Yokozuna. Asa did an unbelievable back bridge with only one arm on Koto and his feet just inside the ring. OMG! I couldn't believe my eyes. You can see a video, with some slow-motion replays, at http://www.banzuke.com/~movies/nagoya2004/080704mov.html (Banzuke.com is the Sumo video archive site).

It doesn't matter if you like or understand Sumo. Go see this match. You won't believe your eyes either.

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