January 2018, Day 11, Takekaze v Chiyonokuni

Takekaze deals with Chiyonokuni in stages, pulling down a couple of times to get Chiyonokuni stumbling forward and off-balance before grabbing him by the throat and slamming him down. After rolling off of Chiyonokuni, and then the dohyo, Takekaze takes a minute to disentangle himself from Ikioi’s lap. Both wrestlers have a makekoshi (losing record) of 3-8.

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January 2018, Day 3, Takekaze v Abi

Finally, on Day 3, Abi’s full-throttle tsuppari attack sees some results. Takekaze only gets a couple of chances to swat Abi’s arms aside before he finds himself chatting with the fans in the second row. Abi picks up his first-ever win in the top division. Congrats, young man.

November 2017, Day 2, Takekaze v Kotoyuki

Alright, first-day jitters are out of the way and wrestlers are starting to loosen up, smash heads and sling tsuppari. Takekaze demolishes Kotoyuki off the tachiai, getting a right hand underneath Kotoyuki’s left arm and pushing him off balance before toppling him at the edge of the ring. Takekaze gets tangled up in Kotoyuki’s legs and goes overboard himself, and it’s only the wide Fukuoka Arena aisle that prevents a large spectator casualty count when the two men hit the ground. Oshitaoshi (front push down) for Takekaze’s first win.

September 2017, Day 9, Chiyonokuni v Takekaze

Fantastic match-up between Chiyonokuni and Takekaze, showing a good mix of full-on tsuppari (open-palm thrusts/slaps), grappling, and belt work. Takekaze uses a knee-buckling outside leg sweep to get his left arm deep around Chiyonokuni’s belt, securing the right-handed belt grip shortly after. His left arm is high underneath Chiyonokuni’s right, keeping it away from his belt, so Chiyonokuni has to stretch his left hand for the overarm belt grip in order to get some kind of leverage. Chiyonokuni pulls hard with the left hand, breaking Takekaze’s left-handed grip and slinging Takekaze around towards the edge of the ring. But Takekaze returns the favor, using the momentum to his advantage and twisting down hard with his right hand to crumple Chiyonokuni to the clay. Official technique is kirikaeshi (twisting backward knee trip), but I didn’t see Takekaze use his knee at all behind Chiyonokuni’s leg. To this amateur’s eye it looked more like a shitatehineri (twisting underarm throw), but I don’t have access to the slow-mo replays or the decades of experience it takes to make the official call.

September 2017, Day 8, Daishomaru v Takekaze

Dinner roll, jelly roll, sushi roll, why am I hungry all of a sudden? Sumo wrestlers train in falling techniques to prevent themselves from getting injured when they hit the hard-packed clay surface of the dohyo, and Takekaze executes a beautiful shoulder roll once he feels himself headed inevitably dirtwards. With the win, Daishomaru is the sole representative from the bottom half of the rankings still tied at one loss with the tournament leaders. Takekaze rolls to 2-6.