Anything related to Sumo (the Japanese sport) goes in this thread.
I have a soft spot for Sumo as well. I don’t understand all aspect of the sport like baseball or basketball, but something about it is just so interesting.
Yeah I love it. One of the few remaining collision sports. The rules are actually simple, although it’s not quite as simple as first wrestler to touch any part of himself other than the bottoms of his feet to the surface loses.
I think the two most difficult positions in all of pro sports are sumo wrestler and NFL qb. In both cases the athlete has about 2 seconds to make a good decision. Any longer and he’s out. A bad decision, also out. Intense pressure.
I would love to see a sumo wrestler make the transition to the NFL one day. I don’t see why they couldn’t play defensive tackle for an defense that uses 3-4. Or a maybe offensive line at center. I know the skills don’t fully translate, but they are good athletes and can train at it imo. Would be cool to see.
Google Wakanohana, brother of the legendary Takanohana. Both were Yokozuna, the highest rank in Sumo. He went to the States and tried football, but failed. One of the reason is that they don’t train to have stamina. One fight and they rest for a day. You cannot just do one tackle in the NFL and than go home.
Stamina can be trained, these guys are elite athletes, they could train for football. I would never expect someone to just be able to play football right away. But they have enough of the same skills that I think it could work if they tried.
Found this, maybe he actually was fit enough:
Masaru Hanada had hoped to pull a Kurt Warner.
The retired yokozuna known as Wakanohana-turned footballer tried recently to emulate the star St. Louis Rams quarterback and use the Arena Football League in the United States as a steppingstone to the NFL.
Alas, Waka’s plan has-at least temporarily-been scuttled by, of all things, red tape.
Last month, Hanada looked like he had earned a good shot at a job with the Arizona Rattlers of the eight men-aside, indoor, spring-summer AFL. Waka had survived a special pre-training camp tryout-he was among 31 players (out of 150 candidates) selected to compete for a spot on the final 20-man Rattlers roster.
Starting out as an offensive-defensive lineman, Hanada was seeking to tread the same path to gridiron glory as Warner, who had started out with the Arena League’s Iowa Barnstormers before going on to the Amsterdam Admirals of NFL Europe and finally landing with the Rams, who he led to a Super Bowl title.
Waka’s Rattlers’ opportunity had come about after he had gone through a crash course in football last spring in Arizona with a personal coach and a season with the X League’s Onward Skylarks this past fall to work on his grid skills.
He was light years from where he was last spring,'' Rattlers vice president Gene Nudo told me. His skills were minimal last year (when Waka failed a similar tryout). This year he was much more experienced, more comfortable.’’
The Phoenix-based Rattlers, owned by the NBA Suns and coached by former Dallas Cowboys star QB Danny White, liked the improvement they saw.
We successfully lobbied the league for an international exemption'' said Nudo. We were able to add him to the preseason roster.’’
But at that point the, umm, fit hit the shan. ``We ran into a lot of legal problems,’’ Nudo said.
For starters, Hanada was in the United States on a tourist visa. Legally, he couldn’t play for Arizona without a work visa.
And there were insurance concerns. The Rattler players are covered by government workman’s compensation and Waka didn’t qualify.
``Can you imagine if he got hurt and wasn’t insured, we’d have had an international incident on our hands,’’ Nudo said.
So, when the headknocking part of camp began, Hanada had to sit it out on the sideline.
He attended every team practice, every meeting but he couldn't play,'' Nudo said. Our staff was very impressed by his dedication and attitude.’’
Eventually, Hanada and his agent Alan Nero grew frustrated with the situation and Waka came back to Japan. Nudo emphasized that Waka was not cut, he left of his own accord.
He would have had a shot,'' Nudo said. He weighed 291 pounds (131 kilos) and came to camp in great football shape. He’s only just over 6-feet (1.8 meters), but football is all about leverage. And the guy’s a world class athlete.’’
Before Hanada left, Nudo suggested he try AFL 2, a slightly lower level league. The original Arena League is played in mostly major cities while the AFL 2 consists of franchises in midsized U.S. cities located in collegiate football hotbeds-Tallahassee, Florida, and Augusta, Georgia, for example.
``Although he’s improved greatly, Masaru is still behind these guys who have been playing the game since grade school,’’ Nudo said.
Before the Arena League, Warner was stacking grocery shelves. He had little choice but to try to continue his football quest. Hanada’s situation is a lot different.
Whether the 31-year-old ex-sumo superstar is now willing to further humble himself, will go a long way in determining if he does successfully pull a Warner. Special to The Asahi Shimbun
(IHT/Asahi: April 26,2002)
Some people say it is impossible for Japanese football players to make it in the NFL because they are not big enough.
But linebacker Masafumi Kawaguchi has never given up his dream of playing in the NFL and he is now knocking on the door.
The NFL has been trying to expand the popularity of American football worldwide. Its first attempt was in 1991. The NFL established the World League of American Football, a league based in the United States and Europe. In 1995, it was renamed NFL Europe (NFLEL).
Kawaguchi became the first Japanese player to join in the NFLEL and he has a good shot at playing in the regular NFL.
Kawaguchi, who stands 180centimeters and weighs 102kilograms, has played linebacker for the Amsterdam Admirals of the NFLEL since 1996.
The 28-year-old Kawaguchi, who started playing football while he attended San Clemente High School in California for a year, said he has wanted to play in the NFL for the last few years.
He joined the Green Bay Packers as a guest player when the team played an exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Bowl at Tokyo Dome in 1998.
From that experience, he noticed that the difference between between the NFL and the NFLEL is extremely high, although not impossible for Japanese players to scale.
The NFL regular players are super,'' Kawaguchi says. But I don’t think Japanese players are physically different from players who are on the borderline between the NFL and the NFLEL.’’
Although a lot of Japanese players can be physically equal with the Americans, you need other things as well as athletic ability,'' Kawaguchi says. But no (Japanese) has played in the NFL yet so we don’t know what is really needed to play in the league.’’
Masaru Hanada, retired yokozuna Wakanohana, recently announced he would take a shot at the NFL. He is now training in the United States and hopes to play defensive tackle.
But many football pundits say he is not good enough and too small to play defense.
They say Hanada should learn how to play football and understand the complex plays before trying the NFL. And others add that at age 30, he is too old to start thinking about a career in the NFL.
But Kawaguchi welcomes the former sumo wrestler’s attempt.
Sumo guys are real athletes,'' Kawaguchi says. He’s a yokozuna and you can’t underestimate the power of a yokozuna. I don’t think he’s too small for the defensive line.’’
Both Kawaguchi and Hanada believe a strong will can make them a better and tougher player.
Kawaguchi, the NFLEL’s National Player of the Year in 1999, says he is still getting stronger every day. But he says he wants to jump to the NFL by age 29, while his physical strength is at its best. He says if he doesn’t make the NFL, he will retire.
I want to make American football popular in Japan,'' Kawaguchi says. Even if I can’t play in the NFL, I would like to help another Japanese be the first to do it.’’
For those who dream of joining the NFL like Kawaguchi, training camp begins in August, a few weeks before the NFL season starts on Sept. 6.
So far, Kawaguchi has not received an invitation from an NFL team.
Sure, they’re done for the day but that’s a match day. Their pre-match training is quite exhausting. Or seems to be. Lots of footage of these guys pushing each other around almost without stop, for hours each afternoon. They’re covered in clay and sweat, and obviously train to exhaustion.
Now, it’s true that they’re barefoot and on a surface that lets their feet slide, but I don’t think it makes them less fit. This is ~roughly~ what offensive linemen spend less time doing in daily practice, even in college.
I wonder how long it would take to adapt their fitness to the specifics of the NFL, offense or defense: not long I reckon. The bigger problem, though, is technique. I know it may not look like much to the casual fan, but there’s a lot of technique for linemen to know. Where to place their heads, their hands, open stance or closed … and faking, or movements made to deceive, which is partly where linemen make the cut in the NFL.
Quarterback is very difficult, much more difficult than either side of the line. It’s similar to sumo in that, as has been said, a qb has about 2 seconds in extremely chaotic conditions to make a good decision, the quality of which determines his fate. Very difficult position to learn as an adult.
Another similarity between yokozuna and defensive players is that playing defense in the NFL requires an inherent mean streak. As an old coach of mine put it, a stripe of nasty down your back. Sumo who become yokozuna don’t stay in sumo long if they lack what is frankly a side of them that is uncomfortably comfortable with extreme violence. Same with NFL defensive players.
I would love to see it happen, though. At any position. I do think sumo provides relevant and valuable preparation, especially for those who don’t play quarterback.
There are some sumo clubs in California. I wish the USA could get more involved in international sumo, enough to import some Japanese guys who could possibly learn football as kids growing up in America. Then maybe we’d see some crossover.
He was awesome too. I used to watch a lot back then, few other sports options.
Frantic face slapping and an extra push after a bout has been decided is as mean as sumo wrestlers get
I think the Japanese talk a little sideways about Hakuho, famous for slapping his opponent at the tachii.
Saw a yt vid a while back of sumo wrestlers getting KO’d in the ring. Legally, I guess.
The most intense bouts in recent memory l remember were the ones between Hakuho and Asashoryo. Those Mongols had a good rivalry going. The sumo association has a bad habit of banning their best horses.
I’ve been watching highlights of the Grand Sumo.
Highlights show the matches and skip through all traditional activity between matches.
NHK World MOD channel 560
Haven’t watched Sumo in quite some while. Is Hakuho still fighting?
Just checked. No. Probably injured again. Age get everyone eventually.
I don’t know most of these names
He is, but not as much as before. He is absent current season due to injury.
Right now is May tournament. Highlights are on NHK a few times daily. Saw some really good matches.
Yes some good matches! Too bad nothing in Taiwan or any local sumo
July tournament is near the end, good to see it has run well.