Amateur Sumo – the sport as it should be
Mark Buckton
Sakai World Sumo Champs – not all about winning

Las Vegas Koen
Joe Kuroda
Our man reports from the fight capital of the world

Rikishi of Old
Joe Kuroda
A look at a rikishi of yesterday with Kotozakura – our man for October

Heya Peek
John Gunning
John’s early morning dash to Azumazeki-beya & report on TKOTU

SFM Interview
Katrina Watts sits down with SFM’s Mark Buckton to discuss amateur sumo

Photo Bonanza
SFM’s best yet – Aki Basho/ Las Vegas / Amateur World Champs / Azumazeki-beya visit – seen nowhere else

Aki Basho Review
Lon Howard
Lon gives us his Aki Basho summary, along with the henka sightings results, and his take on the tournament while ‘gem’ of the basho takes a break

Lower Division Rikishi
Mikko Mattila
Mikko Mattila returns to cover lower division ups and downs

Kyushu Basho Forecast
Pierre Wohlleben & Mark Buckton
Pierre predicts the Kyushu Basho banzuke while Mark previews the ones to watch next time out

Sumo 101
Barbara Ann Klein
Discovers and explains amasumo & ozumo variations

Kimarite Focus
Mikko Mattila
Mikko once again walks us through his chosen kimarite

John McTague
John’s unique bimonthly view of news from outside the dohyo

Online Gaming
Zenjimoto of ‘game fame’ covers some of the very best sumo games around – his own!

Kokugi Connections
Todd Lambert
Todd’s focus on 3 of the most interesting online sumo sites today

Fan Debate
Is the limit on foreign rikishi fair? See what our debaters had to say

SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh
In the first of our cartoon bonanzas, sit back and chuckle at Benny Loh’s offerings

Let’s Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Gernobono tells all

Readers’ Letters
See what SFM readers had to say since our last issue

Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself next basho’s banzuke.

Sotogake, Uchigake & Watashikomi

by Mikko Mattila
wins with sotogake. An interesting detail is that Asashoryu has beaten Wakanosato three times with sotogake and twice with a sotogake-attempt, that was the crucial set up move for the ultimate win with a more common technique. Wakanosato is evidently vulnerable to Asashoryu’s sotogake but even more so is Jumonji against Aminishiki of whose 10 sotogake, five have come against Jumonji.

Since Hatsu basho 1990, sotogake has been the winning technique in makuuchi 105 times. That is less than once in every 250 bouts. Statistically speaking, one can expect to see one or two sotogake in makuuchi per tournament Also, the ratio is not significantly different when counting in the lower divisions.

The second most common tripping technique, uchigake, is seen much less than sotogake in makuuchi, but the emergence of Mongolian leg-technique wizard Tokitenku has increased the frequency a lot. In the first half of the 1990’s, Mainoumi was the main uchigake technician and almost single-handedly kept uchigake alive in makuuchi with some help from another rikishi known for his vast technical

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In sumo, tripping techniques are the decisive techniques only in a small fraction of bouts. A large majority of rikishi very rarely, if ever, use them. On the other hand, some technical rikishi try leg trips at reasonably steady intervals. Depending on whether kirikaeshi is counted as a “trip”, sotogake is either the most or second most common tripping technique in sumo. Certainly, it is the most common technique with the suffix “gake” attached to its name. Sotogake is an outside leg trip where the attacker hooks his leg around the opponent’s leg on the same side (usually, the attacker hooks his right leg around his opponent’s left leg) and exerts pressure enough to cause a loss of balance to the opponent. Some sotogake take time and the movement is indeed more like hooking one’s leg around opponent’s leg and then proceeding with continuous pressure on that side, trying to fell the opponent using a grip on the belt as leverage (Takanonami used to do this often from kime-arm clamp too). Some sotogake do have a more smooth sweeping motion which disrupts the opponent’s balance almost immediately. This type of sotogake is mostly seen in a mobile situation. Sotogake can be used effectively as a counter move to an opponent’s attempt as was well witnessed in the recent Aki basho, where Aminishiki reacted to Asashoryu’s movements by deploying a perfectly-timed sotogake which caused a complete loss of balance to the circling yokozuna. Also, when Takanonami was still active, he often went for kimedashi carry-outs, at which some rikishi started to react by trying a fast sotogake, occasionally succeeding in blocking the usually irresistible pivot/carry out combination.

Sotogake is a move almost exclusively done by rikishi who are skillful at belt sumo. Takanonami was the master of it, winning 17 times in makuuchi division with sotogake. Of current rikishi, Yokozuna Asashoryu and Aminishiki are the most active sotogake users; both having 10
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