View Full Version : Internal Power and Sumo

Brently Keen
29th January 2014, 19:01
Hi everyone, it's a long time since I've posted anything on here. So I thought I'd come out of the shadows just for a bit :cool:

Here is a rare move from last week's Sumo Tournament: Hakuho wins with a nice, Uchimuso kimarite...


Obviously a nice minimal motion move, please feel free to analyze and discuss what (if any) principles or elements of Internal Power, Ki, Kokyu, Aiki techniques or Aiki Concepts you think were employed in this winning technique!

~ Brently Keen

Cady Goldfield
30th January 2014, 02:09
I'm tempted to say that Hakuho is using ground-based torsion to the 胯 to buckle and take out his opponent's knee. But on closer look, the opponent's knee area is bandaged tightly on both legs, which makes me wonder whether Hakuho might have known of a weak spot he could apply simple force to, to cause the opponent to withdraw and collapse his own knee and leg.
Hakuho does seem to be pivoting in a way that makes the former theory plausible, however.

Todd Lambert
30th January 2014, 14:37
Via Sumo Forum:

...it is all Giku's own force. But Hakuho crafted this masterfully (well he is The master after all). This technique is commonly used in Mongolian wrestling. The wrestlers are opposing each other with lots of force, but at the same time watching, or feeling each other's move so carefully that any small movement will start their next round of attacks. It is extremely heightened situation. In a fleeting moment Hakuho makes such a slight movement as if he is beginning a big push. Giku's reflex responds even though his mind probably knew what Hakuho is up to. Giku's body stiffens and braces for Hakuho's push in a fleeting moment almost involuntarily by reflex. Now Giku lost his frontal footing, positioning his body in extreme angle, and his other leg is so far behind to counter Hakuho's push. It is time for Hakuho to tap that back leg even further while pulling Giku's upper body forward and down.

It is timing. If Hakuho missed Giku's reflex response then this would have been ineffective. Hakuho's preparation for this move is so subtle that we may not be able to see it from TV, but Giku probably felt stiffening of Hakuho's body in tenths of a second before realizing what it was.

In a way, Hakuho controlled Giku's reflex, true show of a master.

30th January 2014, 16:21
Uchimuso is a rare kimarite as Brently stated (welcome back BTW). Modern sumo tends to rely on power and size and less on technique but as you can see there are some great technical rikishi such as Hakuho. Here is another video of Hakuho using the same kimarite: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gfGVs7NhL0o. In the 90's Mainoumi was another such rikishi. Here is a video of him using the same kimarite on a much larger opponent: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZclcVnKIOw.

For more information on it see: http://idahosumo.webs.com/rulesandweightclasses.htm


(inner thigh propping twist down) - This technique can be done from either an inside or outside grip. The attacker will sweep one of the defender's legs up by hitting the inner thigh with the back of his free hand. As that hand makes contact with the opponent's thigh, he will pull with his other hand in the same direction as the sweeping hand.


Nathan Scott
31st January 2014, 18:27
Hey Chris,

Sounds like the same operating principle as a hanmi handachi technique Ueshiba Sensei used to do in Aikido. The video footage clearly shows the same method. It is a very light technique that requires little effort when done correctly. I'm sure you understand what I'm referring to.

Cady Goldfield
31st January 2014, 19:13
It does have an "internal feel" to it. Whenever a light touch can cause kuzushi, there must be a unified body behind it.

31st January 2014, 21:20

Agreed. The same method is common in Daito-ryu as well (as I'm sure you know). It would make sense to see overlap though since Takeda Sokaku was an amasumo rikishi. There are a number of kata and principles Daito-ryu and sumo share. It only makes sense.


You may want to look into Shinsumo. It is amateur lady's sumo. Amasumo (amateur sumo) has weight divisions unlike Osumo (pro sumo). I'm sure by studying it a little you would find it helpful in figuring out a lot of the methods used in arts like Daito-ryu and aikido.


Cady Goldfield
1st February 2014, 00:50
Thanks, Chris. Women's sumo sounds interesting; however, I do have a DR background, and I am more interested in any actual internal body methodology that old sumo might have possessed that is no longer extant in contemporary sumo -- not as interested in the external expression of specific techniques themselves. If old-style sumo shared something with DR, Takeda's sumo-coach father would have possessed these skills, too, don't you think? ;)

As for this clip, I find it intriguing because to the eye it looks like more than external structure and touching a pressure point are involved. Hakuhou presses into the knee with shuto, but it is not arm strength doing the work. That seems unusual in contemporary sumo, which has become "external" on so many levels. Watching Hakuhou's feet, legs and hips is the key, IMO. It does look like a very familiar DR internal mechanism at play, and this is part and parcel to the internal Chinese martial arts as well.

Ellis Amdur
1st February 2014, 03:09
This is not more (particularly) a manifestation of internal strength than ashi-barai in judo. Yes, one needs to be balanced and a good base (as nage), but a proper ashi-barai is usually a whisper touch, based on timing, just when the other person is transferring weight. A good ashi-barai is not even felt. It's like walking in the dark and tripping over a string in your path.

This technique is the same. When I was starting out in Araki-ryu, I had it done to me many times in our sumo practice. My training partner was just a good judoka, half my size, who had played sumo as a kid. I didn't even feel it.

Of course, a person who had trained in IS would be able to do this technique using a body functioning with that type of nervous system/physical organization.

But honestly, this is just good sumo - or as is often said in other contexts - just good jujutsu. Timing, coordination and a good angle of attack.

The uninitiated may think that sumo <these days> is just power techniques, but this is incorrect. It's like watching two 5th dan judoka together, and they seem to be just pushing or tugging. I've trained against some of those same people, and against someone of lesser skill, such as myself, their allegedly absent technique emerges with incredible grace. Similarly, if you go to a sumobeya, and watch some of the higher ranked wrestlers with juniors, they show remarkable techniques.

If someone - a trained observer - is claiming that this particular sumotori is showing a balancing of six directional force, ki/kokyu and all of that, fine - prove it please. What criteria do you establish that. But if your criteria is the subtle technique in this film, and the proof is the effect, then my kohai, Mr. Imai, was an IS genius, because he used to send me flying the same way, when we did sumo, before I learned not to lean forward when stepping forwards.

Ellis Amdur

Nathan Scott
1st February 2014, 04:01
I'm afraid I have to agree with Ellis. I was trying to avoid seeming dismissive of some of the other theories that have been posted here, so I'm glad someone else posted the answer. Yeah, this is basically a "trick" if you will (but a cool trick at that). Nothing based on IP skills, or pressure points.

Damn good sumo though. A lot of the amateur sumo is pretty interesting to watch from a technical standpoint too.


Cady Goldfield
1st February 2014, 05:00
Oh, for sure, it's probable that it was a matter of superb timing more than any kind of internal mechanics; the opponent already had overextended beyond his center. Just saying that there were movements there that were intriguing and reminiscent of some of the torsion-based (i.e. "winding") movements that internal martial artists use to move a person or to make kuzushi.

1st February 2014, 13:28
This has been an interesting thread. We get a glimpse of different peoples understanding of how the body works. If I may make a suggestion; maybe we can move this thread to the often neglected Sumo forum? Maybe it can breath some life into it?

Best regards,

Cady Goldfield
1st February 2014, 15:23
I have watched that clip numerous times, and agree that it does not appear to be consistent with any kind if internal action. But, again, I have found it intriguing because some of his outer movements do share some similarities with what you would see outwardly from internal movement.

As an aside, and this is not in any way supporting the above video, it is quite possible to use certain discrete elements of internal method successfully without having the "6 Directions," when it's applied against someone with no internal training, with a conventionally athletic body. Winding (powering by torsion) from the ground to femoral joints can be done by anyone with little training, and it will make his external movements more powerful than someone who uses "traditional" hip-turning movement.