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Though wrestling coach Randy Jimenez enjoys a “juicy steak dinner” before his matches while other athletes count their calories, it is not just the awesome diet that attracted him to the sport.
“I’ve always loved the whole tradition of sumo,” Jimenez said. “Being able to … do something that’s been around for hundreds of years is a good thing. It was something that I had always wanted to do.”
On August 22, Jimenez took the bronze medal at his first major tournament, the 2010 U.S. Sumo Open in Los Angeles. The coach’s only losses were to the current world and U.S. sumo champions, finishing with a record of 10-2. His success also ranked him as the third best sumo in the entire nation.
“There were competitors from around the world, [including] the European, Mongolian, U.S. and world champions,” Jimenez said. “Being able to compete at this level is very rewarding.”
Randy competes in the heavy weight class, weighing about 352 pounds himself.
Jimenez’s wrestling technique often relies on the “bull rushing” tactic or Abisetaoshi, a quick start to catch his opponent off balance and quickly force out of the ring (Dohyo). Coach Jimenez also likes to use the Kekaeshi technique, in which he sweeps his opponents legs out from underneath in order to force them to the ground; both are very nimble moves for the very large competitors.
“In Sumo you have to be really flexible; there are moves where you [can] legally toss your opponent,” Jimenez said. “It’s not just two big guys crashing into each other, there [are] actually style moves that you do.”
Sumo participants can not punch, kick or pull hair, but all other aspects of wrestling are legal. To win, a wrestler must throw his opponent out of the ring or make a part of his body touch the ground.
As for his training, Jimenez works on his sumo skills with a partner. Each training session lasts for one and a half hours and typically starts with 20 minutes of stretching. After this, the session moves right into sparring matches and heavy lifting, including each other.
“My workout partner is 400 pounds; we throw each other around,” Jimenez said. “I lift him up and put him down and do that about 100 times.”
Although Jimenez continues to train, he has taken a few weeks off to recover from a split in his head and bruised ribs, casualties from the competition at the Los Angeles tournament.
Once recovered though, he plans to participate in the East Coast Grand Sumo Tournament in November and Las Vegas Open in January.
Though he does not have plans to make sumo a career, the praise and support he has received will keep him competing.
“I really appreciate all of my football players’, wrestlers’, and family’s support through this whole thing,” Jimenez said. “It has been fun and I am looking forward to my next tournament. I figure with a little more training I will win the gold soon.”