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MUSINGS / June 27, 2018

The Yomiuri ShimbunThe following is a translation of the Henshu Techo column from The Yomiuri Shimbun’s June 27 issue.

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When professional wrestling was flourishing in the Showa era (1926-1989), some people apparently noticed: Although wrestler Giant Baba was a right-handed pitcher in his Yomiuri Giants days, he used his left arm to perform a headlock to constrict an opponent’s head.

According to a person with good knowledge of the sport, Baba is not the only wrestler to have used his left weaker arm for this technique. It is said to be a gentleman’s agreement in the ring. In many cases, a wrestler put in a headlock often counters with a backdrop, a powerful technique to throw the opponent backward. Practicing defensive falls is essential to withstand the dangerous move, so it has been said that the side on which this throwing move is made was decided.

It has been quite a while since weekly coverage of wrestling disappeared from TV, but I heard about headlocks in a recent report on the suspension of a former 59-year-old department chief of the city government of Akashi, Hyogo Prefecture.

He slapped his subordinates and others, put them in headlocks, sprayed insecticide in their face and even sexually harassed women by tenaciously inviting them to take a trip with him. There’s a saying that martial arts are a department store of techniques and this manager can be said to have a department store of harassment.

I have a favorite anecdote about Baba. Because he concentrated so much on practicing his falls before a match at gymnasiums on tour, it is said he remembered all the ceilings of gymnasiums around the country. He could identify the gymnasiums just by looking at photos [of the ceilings.] This is also a story about a wrestling technique for which earnest efforts were made. Speech

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