March 2018, Day 13, Okinoumi v Asanoyama

Asanoyama gets his kachi-koshi on Day 13, earning a guaranteed promotion next tournament and potentially a spot in the middle of the division if he wins a couple more in the next two days. He gets an overarm grip with his left hand but quickly loses it, and readjusts during the ensuing scramble for the deep left-handed underarm grip. That’s all he needs to toss Okinoumi in the center of the ring, perfect technique on the hip shift apparent in his solid balance at the end of the throw. Shitatenage (underarm throw) for the win.

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March 2018, Day 12, Mitakeumi v Shodai

This was literally the only throwing technique in the entire top division today, and it’s beautiful. Mitakeumi looks good at the start, getting a right-handed overarm grip while clamping down on the other side on Shodai’s right arm. But Shodai reaches in for a left-handed underarm grip of his own, and it’s deep on the far side of Mitakeumi’s mawashi knot. Mitakeumi turns to throw Shodai, but his arm trails behind him without applying much force, and his grip on the belt isn’t secure enough to really move Shodai’s hips. Shodai uses his stronger belt grip to keep from falling over. Now it looks like Shodai’s got the advantage, with his left arm high under Mitakeumi’s armpit, hurting Mitakeumi’s posture and keeping that overarm grip relatively harmless. And then, the picture-perfect underarm throw. Stepping in front of Mitakeumi’s right foot with his left, Shodai plants his foot and uses his thigh as a fulcrum, putting all his force into that underarm grip and tossing Mitakeumi onto his back. Slow. Clap. Mitakeumi is now one loss away from his make-koshi at 5-7, while Shodai pulls even at 6-6.

March 2018, Day 7, Takarafuji v Goeido

Ozeki Goeido gets in all kinds of trouble during this bout, but to his credit he doesn’t resort to his usual defense of retreat-and-pull. Granted, his heels are on the edge of the ring so he doesn’t have anywhere to retreat to, but he plants his foot and pushes back until he gets enough space to slip out the side with an armlock throw that’s more for defense than offense. Charging back into the fray, he gets both arms around Takarafuji and uses the right-handed underarm grip to throw Takarafuji to the ground. 5-2 for Goeido, 0-7 for Takarafuji.

January 2018, Day 14, Ryuden v Kaisei

Ryuden gets double-digit wins, no small feat for someone in their first top-division tournament. His grip strength proves to be one of his most powerful weapons, as he grabs a hold of Kaisei’s mawashi by the knot and controls the match from there. Things only get worse for Kaisei when Ryuden slips his left arm even farther around the back and tightens his grip on the belt proper. Kaisei’s grasp on one thin layer of Ryuden’s mawashi isn’t enough to reverse the throw at the edge, and Ryuden wins by shitatenage (underarm throw).

January 2018, Day 7, Ichinojo v Takayasu

This is not how I expected this bout to go, but it proves Ichinojo can be a force when he’s bothered to show an ounce of effort. Takayasu ends up getting the left-handed overarm belt grip, but cannot move the mountain of flesh that the belt is attached to. Ichinojo shifts his hips a smidgen and sends the Ozeki tumbling to a 4-3 record.

January 2018, Day 5, Chiyoshoma v Kaisei

Weird, floaty tachiai by Chiyoshoma today, putting himself at an immediate disadvantage against Kaisei. But he recovers well, getting both arms underneath on Kaisei’s belt and torquing the big man’s torso down to the clay. Shitatenage (underarm throw) for the Chiyoshoma’s fourth win in five days.

January 2018, Day 3, Ishiura v Daiamami

Ishiura bringing some of that Harumafuji magic back to the dohyo, with the quick sidestep to land the deep overarm grip on the back of Daiamami’s belt. Once in the driver’s seat Ishiura goes for the quick exit, but Daiamami’s size saves him. So Ishiura reattaches with the deep left-side grip, this time underneath Daiamami’s arm, and he puts a right hand on Daiamami’s right leg so the big man can’t catch his balance. In other news, I typed “Daiamami” on the first try today, so that’s a win for me.