Bonus Episode 11: American Yokozunas

As promised in our bonus episode about Americans in sumo, here is our research project on the most notable two of the bunch. We go in depth on the careers of Akebono and Musashimaru. Let us know what you think and drop us a line at 805-613-SUMO (7866)!

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Music by David Hall via SoundClound

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Bonus Episode 10: Americans in Sumo

For our latest history project, we delve into some of the Americans who have had success on the dohyo. We decided that since American yokozuna Akebono and Musashimaru totally deserve their own episode, we’d take care of everyone else here. Enjoy, and feel free to send us your questions or leave us a message at 805-613-SUMO (7866).

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Music by David Hall via SoundClound

Bonus Episode 9: USA Sumo

For most of our listeners, sumo is too far away to ever see live. So what about sumo happening closer to home? Luckily there is a huge yearly tournament right here in the US of A. We interview USA Sumo’s Andrew Freund to learn more. Check out usasumo.com for more details on May 12th’s USA Sumo Open, streaming on YouTube.

*Sorry for the occasional quality issues, Skype isn’t perfect*

Music By David Hall via SoundClound

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Bonus Episode 4: Year-End Award Show

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Just in time for the holidays, check out GSB’s first annual Year-End Award Show! This episode was recorded in front of a live stadium audience that totally wasn’t added in post. Let us know who we missed or how wrong our picks were! Scroll down all the way for spoilers on who won what.

Music by Cj Aist via SoundCloud

Continue reading “Bonus Episode 4: Year-End Award Show”

Bonus Episode 3: Power Rankings

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As a fun little side project this winter, we put together possibly the geekiest thing we’ve done, and that’s including our fantasy sumo league. Using a variant of professional chess’s Elo ratings, we’ve created a power ranking system that we can update day-to-day to help quantify how well wrestlers are doing beyond just their record. Here’s a quick overview of how it works:

chart.JPG

This first picture is a partial selection of our data entry system (for Kyushu 2017 to be precise). The axes are the list of rikishi in makuuchi and the chart shows which day they faced and who won. In Hakuho’s row, you see a ton of green numbers and 1 red, representing a bunch of wins and 1 loss. The number represents the day they fought and the sign (+/-) and color represent who won. With a little bit more programming this will be the only data entry we have to do and the rest will take care of itself.

daily

This second picture is the first few days of our daily output. Within the column for each day you can see the opponent, the opponent’s ranking, the expected win chance, the change in points, and the wrestler’s new rating. For the most nerdy among you, here is our methodology. We started by assigning 1000 as a baseline value for an average wrestler. We arbitrarily assigned a starting rating based on the banzuke rating of every makuuchi rikishi in January 2017, from 1175 for yokozuna down to 825 for maegashira 16. Here are the formulas we used for the calculations:

expected

This is how we calculated the expected win chance. We take the difference between our wrestler’s rating and his opponents’s and then use a constant, S, to calculate an expected win chance between 0 and 1. A lower value of S means the rating difference will have more effect on the expectation. For the first edition of our ratings, we used S = 200.

rating

This formula takes the previous rating for our wrestler and adds a constant, K, times the difference between expectation and reality. The actual outcome is either 0 for a loss or 1 for a win and we compare that to the win chance previously calculated. K is effectively the max point swing. We are using K = 20 for now.

carryover

This last formula is how we regress to the mean between tournaments. We decided that everyone should be corrected 20% closer to our 1000 baseline. This corresponds to C = 0.8. By occasionally bringing everyone closer to our average value, we mitigate the effect of flukes and help nudge each rikishi’s ratings closer to a value that accurately represents their talent.

Here is a link to the full spreadsheet if you are interested. We plan to keep it updated as often as possible during each basho. Our next step is a more accessible way for everyone to follow along live. Let us know what you think or if you have any ideas for improvement!