Several weeks ago, I posted a recap of the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup. It was a wonderful tournament, and I was blessed to have Casey Burns and Cornelius Booker provide so much video from the event. I mentioned in my prior post that I would make a second post featuring more footage from the event. Unfortunately, I had to then travel for my work, and I was struggling to even post updates of North Americans in the Natsu Basho. . .so you can imagine that I was quite busy!
Fortunately, I am back at home for a bit, and I can now post more footage from the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup. I selected some of the most interesting matches and segments that include great demonstrations of technique. With the growing number of sumo tournaments around North America, I hope that readers can pick up some new techniques by watching these gifs. And don’t forget to look over my recap of the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup. It gives a fuller description of the event, whereas the current post is only highlights of a few matches.
I should also thank Casey Burns again, as each of these clips below are from his footage. Thank you Casey!
Lastly, I have even more footage to go through from both Casey and Cornelius, so there may even be a third post about the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup one day. If you have any requests for content, please feel free to email me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com. As always, thanks for reading!
To start, I have three video clips of Cornelius Booker. Not only was I provided a lot of footage for Cornelius’s matches, but he is also the reigning gold medalist in the lightweight division at the US Sumo Nationals. So, he is one of the top competitors in America in addition to one of the most exciting.
In this first match, we have Cornelius against Baatar Munkhbold. I really enjoy this match because you can see how much Cornelius tries to stable his base during matches, but you can also see both competitors really trying to grit out the victory.
Did you see that (almost) split!? Cornelius made a great recovery, but it wasn’t enough to secure victory in the end. Baatar went on to win lightweight gold, whereas Cornelius went on to win silver.
Next is Cornelius against Gabe Unick. Gabe finished with bronze in the US Sumo Nationals 2019, making him very tough competition for anyone.
What a hip toss attempt at the end! Once again, Cornelius shows off his stable base and his resistance to being moved or thrown. In the end, Gabe had to let himself fall to the floor – or else risk falling on his neck. Gabe did end up with a medal of his own, however.
Cornelius goes against Trent Sabo in this match. Any lightweight competitor in America will tell you that Trent is still the person to beat in the division. He has been around for quite awhile, and he always seems to have a trick up his sleeve. . .
And there is one of his tricks! What a clever and perfectly-executed pushdown with his forearm. I don’t know if I have ever seen that move performed as cleanly as that. What a show by the expert, and I am sure that we will start seeing Cornelius use that move in the near future. Trent ended up with a bronze in the openweight division.
These next two matches go together thematically. I often have readers ask me why so many North American sumo wrestlers hold back on the tachiai, especially in the openweight division. I could give a long answer to that question, or we can watch the match below between Gabe Unick and George Ferris.
As seen in this video, Gabe went for the henka in the beginning, but George’s reserved tachiai prevented the easy victory. George was then able to get firm footing because, after all, it would be Gabe that wound need to figure out how to move George rather than the other way around. Once George got his preferred grip, he was able to get the victory – despite some acrobatics by Gabe! George ended up with multiple medals for himself.
On the other hand, here is another match featuring the henka. . .
As you can see, Matt Anderson put all his chips on the table for his tachiai, and Ronnie Galloway was able to get the henka victory. Ronnie even got both hands on Matt to push him out at the end. When going up against smaller and/or more agile competition, most North American competitors will be prepared for the henka, and thereby be more likely to have a reserved tachiai – or else you may lose in the blink of an eye. Both Matt and Ronnie ended up medaling.
The last men’s match that I will include is between Kelly Gneiting, the organizer of the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup, and Matt Anderson. Any fan of American sumo knows that Kelly has been in the game for a long time, but Matt has also been competing for several years. But who will come out the victor?
Kelly wins! Well, you couldn’t see it in the gif because the match was too long, but Kelly eventually pushed out Matt for the victory. Kelly shows that he still has gas (and a lot of strength) still left in the tank. Great way to grind out a victory. Kelly won gold himself in the Master’s Division
Now, I feature several of the women’s matches, starting with Janna Van Witbeck against Stacie Clyde. Janna is a previous gold medalist at the US Sumo Nationals, whereas Stacie is a newcomer to sumo (I believe). It is always exciting to see what the newcomers can do. While their technique is not as refined, they may go for maneuvers that are not commonly – or ever – seen performed by seasoned sumo athletes.
And we saw exactly that in this match – resulting in a victory for Stacie! Sometimes you just need to grab whatever you can get. If that is a leg, then grab on to that leg, get your opponent off balanced, and push out for the victory. Really wonderful tenacity shown by Stacie, which resulted in her getting the gold medal (and Janna the silver).
The next match is Cody Stout against an unknown competitor that I couldn’t identify (sorry!). Cody co-runs Welcome Mat Sumo NOLA, which hosts some of the best sumo events in the United States. So, Cody has a good chance of winning any match that she competes in, and it would be a tall task to expect a newcomer to defeat her.
And, as expected, Cody wins. I really enjoyed the tachiai in this match. The tachiai is not only about generating force, but it also involves getting proper hand placement as soon as possible. As seen in this gif, Cody predetermined exactly where she wanted to place her hands: one on the elbow and the other on the mawashi. This allowed Cody to generate some pull with one arm, while rotating her opponent’s body with the other. Really great technique seen in this match! Cody ended up with a bronze in the heavyweight division.
This final pair of matches is between Natalie Burns and Manhattan Fredrickson for heavyweight gold and silver. Natalie is a seasoned sumo veteran, and she is one of the most dominant women in America. On the other hand, I believe that Manhattan is new to sumo, and this may have been her first event ever. So, from the outside, it seems that these matches should be an easy win for Natalie. . .
What a surprise! Manhattan gets the victory! A really wonderful showing for the newcomer.
In a following match, Natalie pushed Manhattan out for the quick victory. This put their head-to-head record at 1 and 1, leaving one final match to determine the gold medal. . .
And Natalie wins! Manhattan showed a lot of heart, but Natalie had the size and the experience in the end. Coming so close to gold against Natalie Burns is quite the accomplishment, however, and Manhattan should be very proud of herself. . .as should Natalie for winning gold!
That is all for this post. As mentioned, I may uploaded even more from the Fitcon2019 Sumo Cup one day. Please email me at NorthAmericanSumo@Gmail.com if you have any questions or comments.