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Chikara Ishi — Martins Licis’ Journey to Elevate Japanese Energy Stones


Strongman Martins Licis ties the Yokozuna stone maintain document.

2019 World’s Strongest Man (WSM) Martins Licis has been touring the globe, discovering unknown power rituals and occasions. His newest journey to Japan encompassed his raise try of the chikara ishi — energy stones. On Nov. 12, 2023, Licis shared his documentary-style traverse by way of Japan on his YouTube channel.

These “energy stones,” scattered throughout the nation, are a Japanese custom created to show brute power. As machines have been implanted an increasing number of to exchange human power, the ability stones’ usefulness waned, as did a typical want for brawn. Licis’ first full day in Japan consisted of a three-hour drive to the Soja Shrine, the place stone lifting competitions for all ages have been held. Licis tied the document maintain size of 57 seconds with the Yokozuna stone — a 180-kilogram (400-pound) legendary implement. Watch Licis’ feat of power beneath:

[Related: Tristain Hoath Wins the 2023 Magnús Ver Magnússon Strongman Classic]

What Is Chikara Ishi?

Licis known as stone lifting a “model new historical sport.” The primary stone was devoted to the Soja Shrine in 1847. It’s mentioned that sumo wrestlers traveled to the shrine throughout their nationwide tour and threw the stone into the lake for leisure. The shrine options 23 stones of various weight, together with the Yokozuna stone and the Ozeki stone. The Yokozuna stone is the heaviest, and rivals try to carry it for time.

The Chikara Ishi Soja competitors started in 1994 and continues to the trendy day. The competition touts an ideology of “rising and staying wholesome,” with a powerful connection to nature. Licis and his crew lifted the stones within the shrine’s courtyard utilizing ropes. Licis tied the document maintain time on the Yokozuna stone.

Martins Licis Visits A number of Shrines

Licis and firm went to the Usuki Hachiman shrine, which encompasses a commemorative statue of the long-lasting Japanese stone lifter, Unosuke Sannomiya. On the base of the statue are all the shrine’s chikara ishi. The excessive priest of the Usuki Hachiman shrine defined that a few of the stones have been used for circus-like feats, together with urgent the stones overhead. The excessive priest mentioned Japanese folks have been lifting heavy objects for hundreds of years, preserving “Japanese tradition, historical past, and lifestyle.”

Licis strict pressed one of many storied stones whereas his crew lifted different stones to their shoulders. The professor who has made it his mission to protect these stones delved into the idea of “rikishi,” which makes use of Japanese characters that imply “power” and “man.” Due to this fact, rikishi was used to explain sumo wrestlers and strongmen as “a person who shows his power.” Stone lifters had an analogous rating system to sumo wrestlers. Within the 1800s, strongmen would come to raise the most important stones attainable, incomes their rank.

Sobatsubu & Martins Licis Elevate Stones Collectively

Licis met a Japanese man who was launched through his deal with @Sobatsubu2021. @Sobatsubu2021 was within the chikara ishi, saying, “I felt like stone lifting would prepare my complete physique directly. I realized in regards to the historical past and all of the completely different lifting kinds and received much more .” @Sobatsubu2021 had been lifting stones for 2 years on the time he and Licis met. @Sobatsubu2021 and Licis lifted stones collectively on the closing shrine.

On the closing shrine, @Sobatsubu2021 and Licis got here throughout an precise Sobatsubu stone, the place the Japanese stone lifter acquired his nickname — Mount Sobatsubu is among the many Akaishi Mountains. Throughout the stone lifting, Licis got here to respect the group of stone lifters, appreciating the tradition furthered by the few. As a power athlete, Licis is proud that everybody he encountered, from monks to professors to development employees, mobilized to maneuver the chikara ishi legacy ahead.

Featured picture: @martinslicis on Instagram

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