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Final Data Analysis Report

Final Data Analysis Report

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Published by: trixmaster1 on Jun 19, 2009
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Data Analysis Project 1 Nathan Missen
Introduction and Purpose of study
What characteristics make for a winning
rikishi
? Sumo is a unique sport in its own right; no other event that has its combination of explosive timing, brute force, use of strategy, and luck. It is alsoone of the few sports that requires extreme physiological characteristics of its participants (other comparable sports include female gymnastics & jockeying, with the possible inclusion of female ballet). Thus, it stands to reason that there would be unique characteristics for a successful sumowrestler. There are many different factors involved in determining the outcome of a single sumomatch. Timing, strength, the crowd, and many more aggregate together to eventuate in either awin or a loss. Of these many aspects, three wrestler-explicit variables have been isolated andchosen for analysis in this study: weight, height and favorite technique type. Each will beexplained in more detail in the following paragraphs.First, why include weight in this analysis? Weight would certainly seem to be important factor;any sport involving the use of leverage, pivot points, etc places a heavy emphasis on theindividual’s body mass. In Greco-Roman wrestling, which can be compared, at least superficiallyto sumo, weight control and weight loss are important morphological variables (Martin &Margherita, 1999). Similar conclusions were also made for elite judo athletes (Callister, Callister,Staron, Fleck, Tesch P & Dudley, 1991). Weight gain has also been linked to rank progression insumo (S.W.A, 1993). Also, we can apply basic physics principles, such as Newton’s Second lawand the formulas demonstrating its effect. In particular, Force = Mass x Acceleration, andMomentum = Mass x Velocity. The first formula is of importance in Sumo, as when the match begins, the contestants are only 70cm apart. Therefore, generating maximum force in the first fewseconds of a bout is essential to winning; the more weight a wrestler has, the more force they can produce, thereby increasing the certitude of a win from the initial charge (
taichiai
). However, if a
rikishi
weighs too much, they may not be able to accelerate very quickly from their starting position, thereby reducing the potential match-winning force. Weight needs to be carefully
 
Data Analysis Project 2 Nathan Missen
monitored and regulated to have a positive effect upon a sumo combatant’s success.Secondly, why has height been included in this study? There is practically no research (again, inEnglish) concerning height in sumo; nor is there any literature relating the importance of height inother combative arts (judo, Greco-roman wrestling, jiu-jitsu, etc). However, we can utilize basic physics principles to provide reasoning for the inclusion of height in this research project;according to mechanics of torque (Torque = force x length), a wrestler who is a taller (and, byextension, has a longer reach) will be able to produce a higher degree of rotational force than ashorter opponent, given the situation that both wrestlers are in an equidistant, stable position (i.e.a “clinch”). This is a regular occurrence in sumo, as wrestlers tend to absorb the impact of the
taichiai
through their sheer mass. The
rikishi
are then in ideal position to throw each other; thus, being able to produce and utilize torque is of extreme importance in these situations. However,Sang-Hyop (2006) do mention that a wrestler of greater than average height would be at adisadvantage; since their center of balance is higher, taller wrestlers can succumb easier tothrows, especially if their lower body is targeted. Height, it would seem, is a double-edged sword.Choice of technique can also be of paramount significance in determining who is victorious in the
doyho
(sumo ring). Of the forty-six official techniques (or 
kimarite
as they are known), two typesare pre-eminent among
rikishi
:
 yori
(“push” type) and
nage
(“throw” type). Both of these typesencompass a range of techniques that are aligned upon a spectrum of complexity; however, thereis a fundamental difference between these two.
Yori
category moves rely primarily uponmomentum to (literally) propel
rikishi
to victory; techniques that fall in the
nage
classification aredependent upon utilization of rotational and perpendicular force. Thus, even though
 yori
and
nage
are used quite commonly used in the sumo tournaments by all wrestlers, the principles andapplication behind each are subtly different, and validate their inclusion in this study.
 
Data Analysis Project 3 Nathan Missen
Finally, it must be noted that there is a limited amount of material in this area. For certain, thereare papers covering a rikishi’s risk of diabetes (Manyu
et al 
, 2005, Ekoe, 1989), how sumo participants challenge the limits of the human body (Kondo, Abe, Ikegawa, Kawakami &Fukunaga, 1994) and even jump speed (Alegre, Anzar, Jiménex & Aguado, 2005). However, it is believed that there are currently no papers in English covering this particular aspect of sumo physical characteristics (in combination with technique preference) and their influence onseparate and specific measures of success.Thus, the overarching purpose of this study is to evaluate what makes for a successful
rikishi
. Byexamining and assessing how three factors (height, weight and favorite technique type) operate assingle sources of influence as well as in combination, insight can hopefully be determined intowhat distinguishes a consistently above-average performing sumo from the rest.
Research Questions
In this study, three key research queries are of interest. The first question addresses if height,weight, or technique in isolation have a significant influence upon the three designated measuresof success (i.e. percentage of matches won, number of tournaments/prizes won, and time betweeninitial debut and
makuuichi
debut). Research and scientific principles mentioned in the preceding paragraphs outline the importance of height, weight and technique. Consequently, each one will be appraised separately. The second goal is to evaluate if the above factors, when aggregated,have a cogent impact upon the outlined measures of success. This is to assay if a single factor source of variation exerts a larger effect upon the sumo’s performance than a multi-factor sourceof variation. Also, the results may prove valuable to other researchers or experts in the sumo fieldwishing to perform multiple regression analyses. The final inquiry for this study is to explorewhat exactly defines “success” in sumo by examining and comparing the data yielded on thethree measures of success. The rationale behind this revolves around the core concept of multiple

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