STUMP » Articles » Sunday Sumo: Some Winning Moves on the Middle Day » 21 May 2023, 05:31

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Sunday Sumo: Some Winning Moves on the Middle Day  


21 May 2023, 05:31

Today was Nakabi [literally, the middle (naka) day (bi)] of the May Grand Sumo Tournament in Tokyo.

So, let’s celebrate!

Hmmm, I think we can do better than that.

Happy Retirement to Tochinoshin

Tochinoshin announced his retirement:

As noted, his nickname was the Georgian Forklift because of one of his signature moves, which involves picking up the other guy by his belt, with the guy kicking his legs in the air, and depositing him outside the ring — a kimarite (explanation in a moment) called tsuridashi:

And via reddit’s supreme subreddit, SumoMemes:

I will be coming back to Tochi’s kimarite in a moment.

Winning (and non-winning) Moves

I mentioned kimarite in my prior sumo post, Sunday Sumo: Preparing for the May Tournament, as my favorite sumo podcast, Sumo Kaboom, did a three-episode series on kimarite.

There is an official list of all the ways one can win, and you can see such a list here. There are also “non-winning” techniques (meaning, you didn’t really win so much as the other guy screwed up) and two other non-wins (default and foul). The last two don’t actually happen all that often (I just checked).

Oh, and you may wonder — how did I check?


Let’s suppose I want to know all the kimarite that a rikishi (wrestler) won by over his career — let’s say, Tochinoshin: [this is just a partial screenshot]

By the way, the “win by default or foul” that I said was unusual — in this list, “win by default” is fusen — as noted above, the overall rate is 0.54%.

“Win by foul” is hansoku, the overall rate is 0.05%. Fouls are extremely rare, especially at the top levels. They’re usually accidental (at least they look so), but they still lose by foul even if it’s an accident. That’s sumo.

Let’s focus on Tochinoshin’s top winning moves:

Tsuridashi is not at the very top, but it is a tough move to pull off. Still, it’s up there, and it’s not a common move – you’ve got to be super strong to do it.

Let’s check his stats against the usual: 4.09% vs overall of 0.22%. Impressive.

Initial Kimarite Graph

Anyway, I’ve started exploring ways to graph kimarite … and to start with, I decided just to do it for the May 2023 tournament.

So, the interesting observation so far:

Makuuchi (the highest division in professional sumo) uses kihonwaza techniques the least — these are the most common ones (yorikiri, oshidashi, etc.).

The lower down the divisions (I put these in their hierarchical order), the more often they use common techniques.

But then, Makuuchi uses hinerite (twist down) techniques more often than lower divisions.

Anyway, I just started looking at this stuff, so that’s pretty basic.

UPDATE: Here are a few of the single specific kimarite as lines -

Oshidashi and yorikiri are among the kihonwaza category. Yoritaoshi is also in the kihonwaza category, but note it is a high percentage of the lowest division wins, but nowhere else. Yoritaoshi is also known as “front crush out”.

Tsukiotoshi, which has a relatively high percentage in Makuuchi, is part of the hinerite category.

Hatakikomi is among tokushuwaza category.


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