Kimarite Focus #8
Susoharai, Chongake & Nimaigeri
by Mikko Mattila
by Aminishiki against Tokitsuumi on day 6 in the 2006 Haru basho.
Another descriptive example of a static sideways-stance susoharai is
Tochinonada vs. Kyokushuzan on day 14 in Natsu basho 2000. Both rikishi
had tried susoharai once before, but ‘Shuzan launched the decisive move
from a very innocent-looking stance.
Susoharai been the winning technique in makuuchi only 26 times since 1990. Quite a number of rikishi have only one susoharai victory on their makuuchi records, but Tokitenku is the only one with three susoharai in makuuchi. Susoharai frequency has gone up in the last three years. In 2004 there were four susoharai in makuuchi and the record year came in 2005 when as many five were demonstrated on the makuuchi dohyo, to the joy of the audience. In 2005 all five winners were different rikishi. In 2006 there have been two susoharai in makuuchi so far - once by Aminishiki (his first ever makuuchi susoharai,) and then by Tokitenku the regular leg technique user in these pages.
Chongake doesn't ring a bell in an average sumo fan's mind because it hasn't been on exhibition much.
Let’s continue on the chosen path of covering rare techniques before
returning to more commonly seen ones. Last time we went through some
rare defensive kimarite, but now the spotlight will be on somewhat or
even very rare leg techniques. Susoharai is the best known of the three
covered in this issue and is also, clearly, the most commonly seen.
Chongake and nimaigeri are true collector's items if there happen to be
other people besides myself who collect kimarite sightings with
Susoharai is a classic sweeping technique. Anybody can easily learn the move as such but to perfect the timing is the challenge. In susoharai, the attacker sweeps his opponent's foot from behind from the lateral aspect of the foot. In order to get into a position where an opening for a susoharai sweep comes, one must either be in a sideways stance with the foe or use a
move to force the opponent to take a step forward and then with good
timing and coordination of upper and lower body work, sweep that moving
leg, causing a complete collapse to the opponent. Excellent examples of
a rough susoharai where the set-ups for the sweep are dynamic are
Asashoryu's susoharai against Miyabiyama on day 3 in Aki basho 2005,
and possibly the roughest susoharai of recent history in sumo -
Chiyotaikai's overwhelming susoharai against Kotooshu after maneuvering
him into perfect position with a kotenage carousel before kicking his
right foot hard from behind, causing an utter defeat to the tall
Bulgarian. That bout was seen on day 2 in the 2005 Nagoya basho and is
a “must see” for any sumo fan who appreciates leg techniques.
On the other hand, a susoharai from a reasonably immobile sideways stance is brilliantly