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Kimarite, (Sumo winning technique)

Uchigake is an inside leg trip ("uchi" is "inside" and "gake" is here "wrap leg/foot around opponent's leg/foot". The wrestlers will be grappling, and the winner will pull his opponent close with a good grip on mawashi (the belt) while forcing him backwards. He will then hook the other wrestler's lead leg with his own with a cirkular motion from the inside. Both wrestlers will fall with the winner on top.

Uchigake is the second most common tripping technique, sotogake being the most common. The two kimarite look very much alike, since the only difference is whether the loser's leg is hooked from the inside or the outside. The most agile wrestler with the best turn of speed may have an advantage, as it is crucial to get the loser to lean backwards. If the attacked wrestler evades the attack, he will have a good chance of throwing his opponent, eg. with a shitatenage (an under-arm throw), as his opponent will have compromised his own balance.

As you can tell from the statistics below uchigake is very rarely seen, but one wrestler in particular used to be known for "keeping the uchigake alive": the renowned Mainoumi, who retired in 1999. Maegashira1 Tokitenku has also been known to use tripping techniques when he was in juryo2, but since his promotion to makuuchi he has been relying on less risky moves.

Of the 82 official kimarite, 29 involve the legs (15 are "leg to leg" tripping techniques, and 14 are "hand to leg"), but only a total of 7 (3 and 4) bouts out of the 571 mentioned below were won by using one of these 29 kimarite.

Of 571 bouts in the Makuuchi division (Haru and Natsu Basho, 2005) none (0%) were won by uchigake.

Back to the kimarite menu

  1. Maegashira are the rank-and-file wrestlers of the makuuchi, the highest division in sumo.
  2. Juryo is the second highest division in sumo.

My sources are www.scgroup.com/sumo and www.sumo.or.jp/eng/index.html

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