KF 3

Eating a ginormous lunch and taking afternoon naps? Pff, no sweat! Doing 100 reps of a brutal weight training regimen? No thanks…

On January 24th, professional ozeki (a sumo wrestler of the second highest rank) Kotoshogiku (琴奨菊) defeated three yokozuna (grand champions) at the New Year Grand Sumo Tournament with an impressive 14-1 record, becoming the first Japanese-born wrestler in 10 years to win a top-division tournament.

In the aftermath of his win, our Japanese team of reporters did some sleuthing and found some sample training videos posted by his personal trainer, Munehiro Shiota, back in September of last year. Although the now 32-year-old’s professional career has been riddled with injuries and just last year he was even in danger of being demoted in rank due to too many losses, this recent victory is largely credited to the support of his family and an absolutely hellish training regimen conceived of by Shiota, so now we can watch those brutual videos knowing that it’s all paying off for him in the end!

In this first clip, we can see Kotoshogiku struggling to complete a 100-rep strength-training exercise with a large dumbbell. By the time the video has started, he’s already done over 50 reps, and Shiota can be heard giving him numerous pep talks (interspersed with laughter here and there). He reaches 75 reps right around the 3:10 mark, and at this point he switches to a kettlebell. Kotoshogiku finally accomplishes his goal of 100 reps with a celebratory fling of the weight at the end:

In the second, shorter clip, he is seen pushing a weighted tire and doing more strength training:

We’re certainly interested in seeing how Kotoshogiku fares in the next major sumo contest, the March Tournament, to be held in Osaka next month. It’s entirely possible that he could become the first Japanese-born wrestler to be promoted to the yokozuna rank since Wakanohana Masaru was in 1998. There’s one thing, however, that we’re absolutely certain of–we’re quite happy being on the sidelines as he pushes his body and mind to the limits, thank you very much!

Top image: YouTube/Munehiro Shiota
[ Read in Japanese ]