Friday, December 12, 2008
2008 Kano Cup, Tokyo, Japan: Day One
The Kano Cup is underway at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gym, and Tokyo TV has a handful of the key matches from day one available streaming from their website. You can watch them here. And you should! Two real stories coming out day one. The first is that 2004 and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Masato Uchishiba lost; the second is that Tsukuba University hotshot Kisei Akimoto didn't.
Tokyo TV has three matches from the 60 kg division up. The first is M. Fukuoka's sharp juji-gatame win, the next two are Akimoto, and he shows a nice range of technique. Everything for Akimoto comes out of the ouchi gari, which he attacks with pretty much constantly. Whether it's his low tai otoshi (which he doesn’t hit, but watch him dig dig dig) or the uchimata that scores waza ari in his second match, the ouchi seems key in setting it all up. The sukui nage (te guruma? as you like it, friends, as you like it) he scores yuko with late in the gold medal match against Choi Gwang Hyeon comes out of an ouchi gari attack as well. It's pretty neat. Choi threatens with his seoi otoshi a couple of times but from the clips it seems like Akimoto was pretty much running things on the whole. Note too that we have here a dude who goes for the Tsukuba roll whenever possible in ne waza, thereby repping his school to the fullest.
So, Masato Uchishiba, then. He blames the loss on a lack of training, and I can see how you might take it a little easier than normal coming off an Olympic win, sure. But full marks to Haskhbaatar Tsagaanbaatar for the yoko gake for ippon when he was down by a yuko. Those Mongolians, man: they do not relent.
Tatsuaki Egusa had two awesome, awesome matches. They're the last two on the Tokyo TV page right now, and they're totally worth your while. A juji-gatame win in golden score over Draksic (who almost escapes), a huge harai goshi in the dying seconds (he was already way up) to secure the win over An Jeong Hwan (KOR). I also like his insistence on the seoi otoshi that he never actually gets to work. He insists on that throw. Also, can I just say: I am digging the hell out of the osoto gari from the ippon seoi nage setup that An is after here. When that works, my god does it look like judo.
The heavyweight women's matches posted are pretty ok, though obviously the pace was comparatively sluggish. Yang Xiuli (CHN) beat Kumiko Horie (JPN) with a pretty swank ura nage in the 78 kg (I liked the tani otoshi for yuko just before), and towering giantess Elena Ivashchenko (RUS) caught Mika Sugimoto (JPN) with a pretty loose tani otoshi for gold in the +78 kg. Such enormity.