Juergen Horn and Mike Powell are packing in as much as they can before they leave Tokyo to go live somewhere else for 91 days. No, that doesn’t include training as sumo wrestlers, just a couple of hours observing the athletes at the Kitanoumi Beya Stable as they go through their morning training routine.
After about an hour of watching from the sidelines, I started to learn. Mass is an advantage, for sure, but the larger guy doesn’t always win. Agility counts for a lot. Most matches are quick, and smart wrestlers can end their bouts before their opponents even know what happened. Balance is equally important to strength, and speed is most crucial of all.
To amuse myself while watching in silence, I gave each of the wrestlers a nickname and graded them on their performance in the sparring sessions. There was the Prodigy, the Veteran, the Thinker, Cannonball, Shifty, Newbie, Cream Puff, the Natural, Beauty, Sleepy and Workhorse. Prodigy was amazing, while Shifty was small but clever, and usually emerged the victor. His matches with the Thinker were excellent, but he stood no chance against Cream Puff. Cannonball was great fun to watch, as explosive and round as his name, and the Natural looked exactly like how you’d imagine a “sumo wrestler”.
It was an exhausting experience. After watching the big guys work out for two hours, they were so hungry they had to go get breakfast at Denny’s. Read the rest, and see many pictures and a video at For 91 Days.