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SUMO ABC (82) / Never-give-up mind-set is part of Endo’s broad popularity

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Endo, left, and Myogiryu tumble out of the dohyo together during their initial match on the eighth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament.

By Shuji Miki / Yomiuri Shimbun Senior WriterIt was an amazing bout. The matchup between Endo and Myogiryu on the eighth day of the Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament got a do-over, but their initial meeting showed how important it is for one to play out the game.

Myogiryu appeared to have dominated the bout. Endo thrust against the No. 9 maegashira from the jump-off, but received a counterattack and was driven to the edge of the ring in a moment, holding his ground with his right foot on the bales. Endo then did something before both wrestlers flew out of the dohyo together and flipped over to the east side of the ring.

I was watching the bout from a press seat on the east side, located at the edge of the ringside seats. From this side I could see Endo falling from behind, but I couldn’t see the “something” the No. 6 maegashira did as a last-ditch effort. I later viewed the match on video.

Driven to the edge, Endo held his ground with his right foot while using his other foot to push away Myogiryu’s right foot, before attempting a left-arm throw. It was definitely a desperate effort.

Myogiryu was trying to remain in the ring with his left foot, while Endo was doing the same with his right foot when they flew out of the ring together. The referee declared Myogiryu the winner, apparently because he considered his offensive move to be better. However, the decision was called into question by ringside judges, who overturned it, saying the two had landed at the same time.

In the rematch, Endo gained a sound victory that prevented him from adding another loss to his tally. The result seemed to have been brought about by Endo’s tenacity, which outweighed his opponent’s.

Endo has injuries to many parts of his body — including one to his right ankle, which he used as a pivot in his initial matchup against Myogiryu. But he never straps the injured parts of his body with bandages or tape, partly because he doesn’t want to show his vulnerabilities to his opponents. However, he also has another reason: “It won’t do any good to cover them,” he often says. I think this remark indicates this wrestler’s professional mind-set.

In the world of sumo, it is traditionally thought that not knowing when to give up is the ugliest thing.

Sumo wrestlers prepare for bouts with a serene state of mind and return to this state of mind when they leave the ring after competing. But during bouts, they never give up, right down to the last moment. There is a great difference between their stillness and motion, and this is one of sumo’s main charms. To this end, this particular bout between Endo and Myogiryu was indeed great.

— Miki is a sumo expert.

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