The Road to Taiwan

This July, eight American sumo wrestlers will journey to Taoyuan City with one goal in mind: becoming World Champion. It's a feat that no American has accomplished in 23 years. But with U.S. athletes winning world medals in 2016 and 2017, the members of Team USA have their sights set on gold.
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Photo credit: Craig Stanton via Flickr [CC BY-NC-SA 2.0] 


Kimarite Korner by Tom Zabel


“Uwate” is “overarm”, or as we say in sumo, having an “outside grip”. “Nage” is “throw”. This is the most common throwing technique. After establishing an outside grip on the mawashi, the attacker throws his opponent by heaving him down at a sharp angle as he turns away, twisting his hip under his opponent and leaning forward, throwing him down.

Step one

Start with an outside grip on the mawashi and an inside hold around the back or grip on the mawashi. Position your jaw on your opponent’s neck or shoulder and pull your opponent into you with the inside grip.


Step TWO

As you twist, use your hip to get your opponent off balance. With your inside hold or grip, pull your opponent around and down (at some point you will have to release your hold or grip).

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Use your inside foot as a pivot point while turning away from your opponent, twisting him around your body and down. You may also use your head and/or shoulders to force him down. Maintain balance and keep your center of gravity low.

For more kimarite and other sumo techniques, check out Sumo Skills by Tom Zabel.


The Next Generation

With well over a dozen National Championships to his name, Kena Heffernan is working to develop the next generation of sumo champions. In January, Heffernan brought 6 boys from the team he coaches in Hawaii to the 8th annual Hakuho Cup in Japan. The competition featured 1,500 competitors from 8 different countries. All of Kena's boys won matches, but most importantly, the team had the opportunity to train with Hakuho and other rikishi from Miyagino, Tomozuna, and Musashigawa beya. Kena says the team has developed "a very tight relationship with Musashimaru and his boys. He treats them like family, and the team all looks up to him. Musashikuni is their sumo big brother for life." Still a highly successful competitor himself, Heffernan is not ready to pass the torch just yet, but his commitment to youth sumo ensures that when he does, it will be in good hands.