[sumo] Ama

Moti sumo1 at dichne.com
Sun Jun 3 15:42:39 EDT 2007

Kaiopectate! wrote:
> 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: http://www.scgroup.com/sumo/stat/ 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.
One thing you have to factor in is Makuuchi records versus alltime 
records.  Most Non -sanyaku regulars in Makuuchi  have a favorable 
record overall, but have a losing career record in Makuuchi (24 of them, 
to be exact, including some surprises..). The older they are, the more 
years up there, their record tends to deteriorate. On the way up, most 
of them accumulate a lot of wins.
ALL 60 foreigners have more career wins than losses and many of them 
have been stuck in mid-Sandanme for a few years.
I don't think you can enter career records into this equation. Only 
Makuuchi records. Then, maybe you'll find what you're looking for!
As for Ama, he is one of the minority with a +.500 win- loss record in 
Makuuchi. (125-114-1, to be precise).
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