A sumo wrestler has drawn ire after using the adorably named nekodamashi, or “deceiving cat,” technique to win a match.

Sumo has quite the history in addition to its cultural significance, so it’s hardly surprising that some people in Japan especially have strong opinions about it. Like any sport, there are written rules and then there are unwritten rules, so a wrestler can win using a totally legal move and still piss off plenty of people.

Wrestler Sho Hakuho provided an excellent example of that earlier this month when he won a bout after using the adorably named technique nekodamashi or “deceiving cat” twice in one match.

As unusual as the name may seem, it’s actually quite appropriate when you consider what’s involved. The move basically consists of raising one’s hands and clapping in the opponent’s face, usually at the very start of a match, to distract and throw them off-balance. It’s a risky move to attempt—if the opponent isn’t distracted, the nekodamashi-user will be relatively defenseless—but it’s also considered kind of a cheap trick since, as its name implies, it’s basically a way of tricking your way to victory. Hakuho, a native of Mongoloia, is a yokozuna, the highest sumo ranking, and a record-setting wrestler, so some have called his use of the technique inappropriate.

▼ You can see the bout and slow-motion replay below. In the blink of an eye, Hakuho claps his hands in his opponent’s face and sidesteps him before he even realizes what has happened.

Hideshige Moriya, the chairperson of the Yokozuna Promotion Committee was quoted as saying, “There are some who say there’s nothing to be done if he was really just wanted to win, but for the majority of people, it’s a matter of it not being appropriate for a yokozuna.” Toshimitsu Obata, who was a yokozuna himself and chairperson of the Japan Sumo Association before passing away suddenly on November 20, concurred that nekodamashi is a technique ill-befitting a wrestler of Hakuho’s rank.

Of course, not everyone agrees with the criticism, and we at RocketNews24 thought it was actually cool to see the technique used in a tournament, since it isn’t broken out so often. Plus, considering how much of a gamble it is to use nekodamashi, and that it is a perfectly legal move, we have a hard time understanding the criticism. Of course, we can see how it wouldn’t be very fun to be on the receiving end, especially since Hakuho used it twice in the same bout, but we were still entertained nevertheless!

Sources:YouTube/動画のアップロード, Yahoo! Japan NewsLivedoor,
GIF: YouTube/動画のアップロード