January 2018, Day 10, Takarafuji v Kaisei

Takarafuji emerges from the tachiai with the advantage, securing a left-handed underarm belt grip that keeps Kaisei’s right arm elevated, and clamping down nicely on Kaisei’s left arm, preventing Kaisei from getting his own underarm grip on that side. Both men reach out for the right-handed overarm grip at the same time, breaking the stalemate, and Takarafuji loses his underarm grip. But he works his way around to a nearly identical grappling position, this time with the overarm grip on the right side and a left arm high underneath Kaisei’s armpit. When he uses the overarm grip to try and muscle out Kaisei, Kaisei strains to defend at the edge of the ring, and Hokutofuji feels him leaning. So Hokutofuji lets go of the overarm grip and commits to the left-side sukuinage (beltless arm throw), rolling Kaisei to his fourth loss. Hokutofuji improves to 7-3.


January 2018, Day 7, Abi v Nishikigi

Nishikigi’s all like, “dude, I just want a hug” and Abi’s all like, “dude, no way, get outta here” and Nishikigi’s like “come on man, I’m gonna hug you if you like it or not” and Abi’s like “bye, Felicia.”

January 2018, Day 4, Shohozan v Aminishiki

Aminishiki is showing his age. He did a fine job working back up out of Juryo for what is probably his last hurrah in Makuuchi, but it looks like this might be his last tournament in the spotlight. We’ll see how much longer his experience and guile can make up for the loss of strength and agility. My knees hurt just watching him.

January 2018, Day 3, Goeido v Kotoshogiku

Kotoshogiku’s woes continue, but the upside is Ozeki Goeido is winning bouts that he’s supposed to win, in strong fashion. Just a pretty beltless arm throw (sukuinage) from the left side, set up by a good tachiai where he dives headfirst into Kotoshogiku’s chest.

January 2018, Day 3, Shodai v Arawashi

Palpable disappointment on Shodai’s face after a tough loss to Arawashi. He throws a big right shoulder at the tachiai which seems to stun Arawashi for the briefest of moments, but still gives up the left hand grip on the front of his belt. And while he’s busy fighting off that attack, Arawashi deftly maneuvers around the other side and sneaks a right arm in deep for the beltless arm throw. Pulled off balance from two attachment points, Shodai only has the armlock on Arawashi’s throwing arm to defend, and it’s not enough.

January 2018, Day 2, Takarafuji v Chiyoshoma

It’s a battle of balance at the edge, with Takarafuji working on a kotenage (armlock throw) and Chiyoshoma using that locked-up arm for a sukuinage (beltless arm throw). Takarafuji gets his hips shifted in the right spot to boost Chiyoshoma over his left thigh, but Chiyoshoma gets the last little hop necessary to catch himself with his left foot. Takarafuji has twisted and committed, so Chiyoshoma has the advantage and drops him. Sukuinage for the win.

January 2018, Day 1, Takarafuji v Endo

Endo gets our hopes up again with a great performance on the first day. But Endo’s secret ability is finding a way to lose shockingly against any given opponent, so don’t see this as portending a successful tournament. I’m a fan, don’t get me wrong. I’ve just been burned too many times. Anyway, yay Endo! (for now)