Interview by Mark Buckton
| a traditional Japanese sport?
MK: Most people who know me know how seriously I take sport so they knew I wasn’t doing it for the proverbial ‘laugh.’ I did get the usual ribbing about wearing a “nappy,” but that’s the British sense of humour I suppose. My wife has been very supportive and when I was asked to go to Japan with only three weeks notice she said I couldn’t let an opportunity like that pass.
MB: You visited Japan in October 2006 to participate in the Sumo World Championships in Sakai near Osaka – can you share your feelings from that time?
MK: Looking out of the window as we flew over Japan the landscape looked so rugged that it seemed inhospitable, and when we landed the airport seemed so sterile and the staff were very efficient. I don’t know if it was the long flight or just the change of environment but I was beginning to think I had done the wrong thing in coming.
The first day was a bit of a blur; jet lag is a horrible thing. At the first training session I felt dreadful – it was early in the morning, in the open air and on a REAL dohyo. This, coupled with very little sleep over the previous 48 hours meant that all I wanted to do was go home. The next day, however, my eyes were open, Japan hit me and I was knocked off my feet. The park containing the dohyo looked stunning in the morning light and the training went great.
Walking back to the hotel later I
Kent's first mawashi adventure was less than a year ago but within
months of being introduced to the sport he was representing the United
Kingdom at the Sumo World Championships in Sakai City, near Osaka.
During the tournament he caught the SFM Editor-in-Chief's eye - sadly
for all the wrong reasons - as he left Japan without a single
shiroboshi to his name.|
Subsequently contacting SFM regarding a post-Sakai article written by (Ed-in-Chief) Mark Buckton, Mark (Kent) in England agreed to 'sit-down' with Mark (Buckton) in Japan to answer a few questions about his life in sumo to date, the future of the sport in the UK and the ongoing issues surrounding amateurs chasing the greenback.
MB: How did you get into amateur sumo?
MK: I was actually appearing in a local pro-wrestling show for the Dropkixx Wrestling Academy when the promoter came up to me and said there was someone in the audience who wanted to talk to me. It turned out he was from an amateur wrestling club, and had been asked by the British Sumo Federation if he knew anyone interested in doing sumo. He gave me their number and two days later I was driving 130 miles to Derby for my first taste of sumo.
MB: What were your initial
|impressions of the sport?
MK: Having taken part in many other contact sports, I enjoyed the physicality of the training, although my legs ached a lot the next morning. I wasn’t looking forward to wearing a mawashi but it wasn’t as bad or as uncomfortable as I (had) thought it would be - in saying that I wouldn’t like to wear one all day.
MB: Had you ever seen sumo on TV or live prior to giving it a go?
MK: I used to watch sumo on British TV’s Channel 4 and it was then that I found out just how technical it could be; not just two big guys pushing each other. My favorite rikishi was Chiyonofuji. His physique was second to none and in my opinion he was in a class of his own.
MB: How does sumo compare to other sports you have tried?
MK: In football (soccer), rugby, gridiron, boxing, strongman and pro-wrestling, if you make a mistake you normally have time to make up for it but in sumo you have no such luck as one mistake normally means the other wrestler wins – something I found out to my cost in Japan. I suppose judo is the closest sport to sumo in that respect but you can still drop to the ground to prevent being thrown.
MB: What did / do your family and friends think about your donning a mawashi and entering