<DATE> Contents

SOS - Shinjinrui on Sumo  
Chris Gould
Wrapping up his look at increasing the popularity of sumo, Chris Gould caps a series the NSK would do well to refer to.
Sumo Souvenirs  
Mark Buckton
Souvenirs are a part of every sport and sumo is no different - or is it? A look at collectibles and the downright trashy, the bona fide versus the unproven.
Rikishi of Old  
Joe Kuroda
Joe Kuroda's latest look at times past focuses on former makunouchi man Dewagatake.
Eric Evaluates  
Eric Blair
Eric takes a no-nonsense look at the claims of fixed bouts in the Japanese media.
Rikishi Diary  
Mark Kent
Mark Kent - English pro-wrestler and amateur heavyweight sumotori - takes us through the first month or so of his training and preparation for the various European events lined up in in 2007.
Heya Peek  
Chris Gould
SFM's Chris Gould was in Japan for the Hatsu Basho and popped along to the new Shikoroyama Beya to give SFM an online exclusive peek into sumo's newest heya.
SFM Interview  
Mark Buckton
Mark interviews Mark - Buckton on Kent that is as Mark Kent, the UK's only active heavyweight amateur answers a few questions on his own recent entry into the sport.
Photo Bonanzas  
Sumo Forum stepped in to take the weight off the shoulders of SFM as far as Hatsu went so we could sit back, relax, enjoy the sumo and take a few more select pics you won't see anywhere else.
Hatsu Basho Summary
Lon Howard
Lon wraps the Hatsu Basho and chucks in a few bits on the rush of henka that threatens to sully the good name of at least one foreign ozeki.
Sumo Menko  
Ryan Laughton
Sumo cards of old brought to life by expert collector Ryan Laughton. None of your BBM here.
Haru Ones To Watch
Carolyn Todd
Carolyn ponders and puts fingers to keys on the ones to watch come March and the Haru Basho.
Kimarite Focus  
Mikko Mattila
Mikko's latest look at sumo's kimarite offers unequalled analysis and in depth explanations.
Amateur Angles  
Howard Gilbert
Howard looks at the 'sumo factory' of lore - Nichidai.
Kokugi Konnections
Todd Lambert
Click on Todd's bimonthly focus on three of the best the WWW has to offer.
Fan Debate
Facilitator - Carolyn Todd
Moti Dichne comes back for more and takes on Bradley Sutton on the subject of 'Modernize the heya - yea or nay?'
SFM Cartoons
Benny Loh & Stephen Thompson
In this issue's cartoon bonanza, sit back and sample Benny's artistic offerings.
Sumo Odds & Ends
SFM's interactive elements - as always includes Henka Sightings, Elevator Rikishi and Eternal Banzuke!
Let's Hear From You
What was it that made you a sumo fan? Ryan Laughton - sumo fan and menko expert reveals all.
Readers' Letters  
See what our readers had to say since we last hit your screens.
Sumo Quiz
The Quizmaster
Answer the Qs and win yourself a genuine banzuke.

Mark Kent

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


Mark 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


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