[sumo] Ama

Kaiopectate! cfinberg862 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 3 13:34:44 EDT 2007

I think Ama is inspirational and one of the most skilled and agile rikishi.  The reported comments last year indicated that he realized he needed to build his strength. I am afraid that already, having risen to Sekiwake, he can't go higher.  If you look at his career W-L record, he is already above any trajectory that would have been predicted for him.
  Let me pause and indulge in some crude and generalized mathematical speculation: Because, in sumo, you either win or lose -- each bout, and each basho -- through time (barring major events such as career-changing injuries), you tend to move to your level of capability; rising at the start, and then peaking and then declining parabolically; but, after the initial rise, your wins and losses tend to even out.  To illustrate my theory, take a look at the chart linked here, which includes career W-L records for current upper division rikishi:
  I would generally postulate that, for most rikishi, Wins-minus-Losses increases through the first several basho, but then stabilizes.  (This isn't brilliant, really.)  Thereafter, then, rikishi can be assigned to three general categories:
  (1) Sanyaku, who will continue to win proportionally more bouts than they lose (such as Kaio, Chiyotaikai...);
  (2) Most others, who will develop an equilibrium through time (see list below);
  (3) Declining or less capable rikishi.
  Without having done the research -- and not really knowing how I could do it efficiently, but I'll betcha other on that there Sumoforum can  -- I would speculate that the Wins-minus-Losses of many rikishi, after 120 to 150 bouts, were not so different than their Wins-minus-Losses several hundred bouts later.
  Roho is now 208-149.  What was his record after 120 bouts?
  Kokkai is 248-189.  What was his record after 120 bouts?
  Tochiozan is now 89-34. What will his record be after 350 or 430 bouts?
  And, consider how many rikishi are roughly 50% winners, regardless of their current banzuke rank: Tamanoshima and Aminishiki are just above that mark, and many others approximate it as well: Tokitsuumi, Kyokutenho, Otsukasa, Tochinonada, Tamakasuga, Futeno, Tosanoumi, Kitazakura, Kaiho, Jumonji, Toyozakura, Diamanazuru, Kobo.  
  Thus, aside from the sanyaku, neither career W-L record, nor most recent basho W-L record, is as accurate a way of assessing rikishi capability compared with Wins-minus-Losses or, it seems to me a formula factoring winning percentage against total bouts which could offer decent comparative projections.
  With all of that nonsense in mind, compare Ama's record with those of other current maegashira-men.  
  Ama is the 7th highest ranked active rikishi, but his career record is only 232-178.
  Several other lower-ranked rikishi have higher winning percentages, or greater Wins-minus-Losses, or both:
  These include: Toyonoshima, Kotoshogiku, Homasho, Kisenosato, Tochiozan, Wakanosato, Miyabiyama, Satoyama, Ryuo, Goeido, and of course Baruto.  (And everyone on the linked scgroup list except for Satoyama, Kaiho and Hakuba, is heavier than Ama.)  
  So, can Ama maintain his sanyaku status for long?
  Roho's record is very similar to that of Ama, as is Kokkai's.  Who's better?
  So, has Ama reached his peak?  Or has he surpassed it and will he shortly tumble back into the meatgrinder?  If he is now better than these other guys, that is because he has continued to improve, in comparison with his initial career trajectory and the trajectories of others, beyond what his early W-L record and beyond what his Wins-minus-Losses should have led us to expect from him.  That's my theory, anyway.  I infer that he exercises a personal commitment which exceeds even that of his fellow rikishi.
  Considered unemotionally, I have to think that Ama has reached his peak.  He doesn't belong as a Sekiwake.  But, because he has also surpassed our objective expectations and projections, and because of his exceptional commitment, and because we are fans, I'd like to think that he can reach Ozeki.

Philip Sherman <philnorm at webtv.net> wrote:
It sure is good reading your e mails again.
As far as Ama goes, IMHO he wins bouts he should lose, and loses bouts he should win. He seems to run hot and cold. I can't figure out why. I know his size is small but that can't be the only reason or he would lose all his bouts.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kaiopectate!
Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2007 8:54 AM
To: Sumo Mailing List
Subject: Re: [sumo] [Meta-topic] [ot] [don't read this] Why SML?; Ama

I claim complete responsibility for everything.
I mean it.

Now, how about that Ama! 
We are so impressed by him!

Philip Sherman 
I am sorry about that, but when I read the e mail for the first time it said Joe Petrow wrote. So that's what I went by. Sorry for any inconvenience that caused. I am well known for my talent of screwing things up.


-----Original Message-----
From: Moti
Sent: Sunday, June 3, 2007 5:59 AM
To: Sumo Mailing List
Subject: Re: [sumo] [Meta-topic] [ot] [don't read this] Why SML?

Joe Petrow wrote:

> Moti,
> Just to make things less clear, I am NOT the one who said that Phil
> was the one who erroneously said that you made the quote that Kawika
> should have been credited with. It was, in fact, me who said that
> Moti said the quote that Kawika should have been credited with. And I
> am disappointed that Phil chose to attack me in this way.
> Say, this _is_ fun!
> - Peterao

I love sushi.

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