January 2017, Day 4, Hakuho v Tochinoshin

This is a great example of the way that sumo wrestlers have to start the bout on their own, whenever they’re both ready. It’s up to them to sync up their timing, and this is a large reason for all the back-and-f0rth of the pre-bout ritual. Tochinoshin, eager to pick up his first win (and realizing he needs a good jump at the tachiai to have any hope against Hakuho), pulls the trigger too early and launches before Hakuho is ready. The referee calls them back to reset, and this time they both kind of flinch without really committing. This is no way to start a bout, so they both stand up to reset again, head nods of apology directed towards the head judge who is no doubt admonishing them with rather direct language. Once the bout starts, it’s great, with Tochinoshin getting a hold on Hakuho’s belt, and Hakuho struggling to get any kind of leverage on Tochinoshin’s incredibly loosely wrapped mawashi. But Hakuho sinks his hips and keeps his head glued to Tochinoshin’s chest, preventing any kind of escape. The end comes soon enough.

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