The highlight of the recent All-Japan Students’ Championships was the David vs Goliath battle between Sanshiro Murao (a -90kg, 4th year student at Tokai University) and the 170kg Tatsuru Saito (a 3rd year student at Kokushikan University) and All Japan Open weight champion.
Murao opened up the accounts with an osoto-gari right off the bat. It didn’t come close to scoring but it did signal to Saito that despite the huge weight difference, Murao would be going on the offensive.
The next attack was also Murao’s in the form of ouchi-gari. It knocked Saito down but no score.
Saito replied with a pair of attacks. First, with a hiza-guruma that knocked Murao down but wasn’t close to scoring. Then, a feeble osoto-gari that Murao was able to sidestep. It was this same move that would get Saito in trouble later on.
Perhaps disappointed in himself for the poor attack, Saito readjusted his sights and came in with a big osoto-kosoto combination that very nearly scored against Murao.
Unfazed by that attack, Murao replied with an osoto into uchimata combination. No score. Saito hit back with yet another osoto. No score either.
Murao then tried his luck with ouchi-gari again and was almost countered. Saito responded with an osoto that didn’t do much. Murao clearly wasn’t afraid to do ouchi and came in with yet another one. This time it very nearly scored.
Perhaps sensing he was down on attacks, Saito come in with yet another weak osoto. Murao was ready for this and did another side-step, causing Saito to fall to the ground. Murao immediately pounced on him and rolled him over for a hold-down for ippon.
It was a sensational victory for the underdog Murao.