Takeru Kobayashi revolutionized the sport of competitive eating. What can the rest of us learn from his breakthrough?
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a very short time in the following episode, which originally aired around independence day of two thousand fourteen you'll learn more than you ever want to know about the art and science of high speed, hotdog consumption. I hope you relish the apes
We can you just like count to ten in your microphone one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine ten maggie do the same or say anything. You want he just skill levels, one two: three four and five I'd like you to meet tuck, Heru, Kobayashi known as Cobby and his translator. Peggy James as asking Coolby but his favorite foods yoga of color, you mean that you, inter governmental, what what kind of tofu? Yet there was ass to their software. What's your favorite kind, or she wear fillet you ex lay no fat. You like me
What's your favorite fish fish farm on skid occupant salmon, you like the Skinner now. What's your favorite fruit, those very strongly How do you feel about hot dogs, her email My tongue data gonna Kosovo during this time is actually a time. They don't want to think about that I'm happy from the w and my see this is free economics, radio, the pot cast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen Governor
Tucker Kobayashi doesn't like to think about how to dogs much right now, because he is preparing to eat a very large pile of them not for pleasure. This is what he does for living in a world of competitive eating, as the sport is known, Cobby is the biggest star there has ever been. Maybe it began back in Japan. It was a college student at the time studying economics, a friend signed him up for it. A revised eating contest the Christiania, depending on. If I was really shocked, because I at that time, I really didn't think that I could eat that much more than the normal person would give it a try, largely because of the prize money.
Five thousand dollars first place, it was a force stage, eating contest, starting with boiled, potatoes and then see food, bull, mongolian, mutton, barbecue, finishing up noodles you're competitors were also amateurs right. They weren't professions different yeah. So did you think you had a chance, because why? What did you think that you could do better than the other amateurs? Was it mental or physical or strategic more than we thought on their total. I thought my maiden sore in between maybe a metaphysical of the Congo candle. There were players that were much bigger than I was physically even in Japan, so I didn't think that it would be just a physical thing. It had to be told, love, mental and physical. I'll, be studied earlier contests like this one with qualifying stages. He saw that most people with
A hard and early rounds that, even if they did advance they didn't have the energy or the stomach capacity to finish strong, so he decided to eat just enough at each stage qualify for the net and when it came time for the final round, he blasted pass the others. Anyone having tasted victory as an amateur competitive, Eater Kobe immediately thought about turning pro now, the World CUP of competitive eating, as you probably know, is held every summer in New York City, no
at home in Japan, Kobe began to train for Coney Island american style. Hotdogs were not available where he lived, so he used sausages made of minced fish. No hot dog buns either. So he cut bread down to size. He took his training. Very seriously. He began a long series of experiments, for instance, ripping the hot dog and bun in half before eating at a move. That would come to be known as the Solomon method after the biblical story of King Solomon, who threatened to settle a maternity disputes by slicing a baby
the Solomon had been done before, no, neither whom no no, he found another way to speed things up separately, stop separating the sausage from the bank and the move that the law from all also eating hot dogs. Two at a time of it, I don't mean to speak this evening. I mean breaking one in half and eating too has the sausage itself being slick and dense actually went on pretty easy, but you need a hot dog, but on its own, without the meat is harder than you'd. Think how hard you may have heard of the Sultan challenge Next time you want to win a Barbet. Try the hot dog bun challenge, see if you can get somebody to try to eat two hot dog buns in one minute, with no beverage here, listen to our Freakonomics radio production team. Try it! This is David Herman doing the eating with Greta Cone, Susie, Lechtenberg and Gregory a providing commentary. Ok, I'm ready
and go oh yeah. I guess so he's got half of a half of a ban in his mouth thirty five seconds to go, I'm so confident three two one down the bank, not even line review again, I even one machine so to fight the dry bun problem. Cobby came up with the novel solution, thanking with honey dumping, that's right dumping as he felt himself. The funless broken hot dogs with one hand, use the other hand to dunk the bun
in water, then he'd squeeze out the excess water and smash a bun into his mouth like a bun ball. Not only to this make eating faster, but now he didn't have to take time out between dogs, drink water, so breaking separating dumping. What about the shape? see complete sycamore, yadda yadda does on a minor, yet the mythical to look at that You know who have nice have never before been met with. I think we have to tackle this year that maybe somebody with sugar- and I did what I had never seen- that this became known as the Kobayashi
successfully. We are seeing now look at a shaking almost like a rose garden. Wiggle get their phobia. She just kind of moving around my somewhat paradise. You down, you, look like a fresh parties will be videotaped. Is training sessions he charted all his data analyzed it. You want to find out what worked and just, as importantly, didn't work at one point. He thought he should chew each dog very vigorously, but he realized is not only took too long, but is also bad for his jaw. He was tireless in his experimentation. Why do you think others before you hadn't experimented some?
I hope you don't think that will be divided into like other, maybe because they're not as serious as I am able to utilise. Maybe that's the only honest answer: how did you get so serious, not gonna Japan, that, yet that their export them with their quota, their security? Not this will grow hunky dory Gunnar simply that when I tried it, I thought the physical address felt like this is a sport sport and nobody is treated like a sword before and I simply wanted to be number one in the world at this no offense, but you some crazy? Sounds nuts businesslike it up? What do I do? It together started over the grade nuts that the Walker say that, with all due respect, as you know, how much I love you healthy and respect what you ve done, but what I mean by this is you are bringing
a level of scientific inquiry to an activity that nobody bothered before? That's what I mean by not so did you think it was nuts or did it make perfect sense to you? Not gonna thought the article. So now I guess I'm a little older and and more mature. No, because now I can hear that actually say like oh and laugh with you, but at that time there was definitely not even a speck of me. That would have thought that that was none, so just made sense coming up on free comics radio. How does Cobby, due at the core
Ellen hot dog contest, get as a credible spoke of breeding of the Americans, see he was like a conveyor belt. He would just putting them into a dime and assuming that you are not interested in following copies footsteps specifically, is there something more general that can be learned from his mastery of competitive eating? Look for equal to come the thing about human beings is that they they make em limit and their mind of what their potential is, and they decide that I've been told this. This is what society tells me. This is what are there just been made believe something and one more thing, if you don't already subscribe to for economics, radio, I think you should it's free sign up at Itunes, and you will get the next episode in your sleep
from w, and why see this is freakin onyx, radio, here's your host, Stephen Dabbler, today we are telling the story of Tuck Heru Kobayashi, who dream to dream of eating more hot dogs than any human being in history. This happens every. Fourth of July Coney Island, near Nathan's. Annual hotdog eating contest is an international event, champions from all
where the world converging on Coney Island. The Coney island contests had been going on for roughly four decades, the world record: twenty five in one eighth, hot dogs and bonds in twelve minutes. Twenty five and one a hot dogs in bonds in twelve minutes. Just picture that from now on, there aren't many rules. The competitors can have as much of whatever beverage they want. They can put condiments on the dogs, but no self respecting heaters going to waste time, we're stomach capacity on catch up all the dogs, bonds that enter your body must have to stay in your body. If not, this is known in the sport as a reversal of fortune, you can be discussed Ok, so it is July. Fourth, two thousand one Coolby twenty three years old. It's only five foot, eight,
hundred thirty. So when you shut up that first time to compete, did you feel that you belong on the stage with the other competitors that you feel you could you were justified to be their learning Culloden. Could, though, I action think even about that one day they took the money they ve got the Congo. I wasn't thinking about that at all, but I was full of the feeling of I've come here to win. So the bell rings and you start to eat and for twelve minutes you eat and you break into separate new slorc. Been you Duncan use motion you, swallowing you shake, and you do all that the bell rings, and then you see your number. Yes is that did you were you pay tension to your number? Before that? Did you only see your number? The very end of causes intimate enough at the sight plenty meeting. I only sought it. Then wasn't looking at them and what was the number? Fifty?
The Americans just drop their dogs in the clear cut wiener code. GOSH, who inhaled fifty hot dogs and twelve minutes shattering the world record, is exported breeding of emergency. He was like a conveyor belt. He would just putting them. In short, a time I saw it was around thirty. When I was at around like took my shirt, start away when the white flag. I cannot bear to think what you like on fifty fifty and the previous represents twenty five and one great seed doubled the world record. So nobody, nobody doubles any world record ever and what did you think then? What did you think when you saw that number of fifty for money, double told us enough at the heart of I was actually shot. I I was nigh imagining
all that I would eat and double. So it was super surprising to me. Every one was surprised and some people were sceptical. They wondered if Coolby was playing by the rules to demonstrate the cut it there. I know your things out of place said that they took me to outer space and the day there's an alien, said, given the man to two stomachs he's taking muscle, relax area, your doping, did you take muscle relaxes her? How do you have to stomach now how about that. One Coney Island six street years, a lot of other eating
it worries me a giant well beaten in one minute. Kobe was not, however unbeatable. Tell me about the bear, now introducing to my right It is an important item. Alaska Kobe tried to beat the bear in a contest that was taped for FUCK's tv is based lower free tall and ways ends, and I
now. Maybe nine digest over sixty pounds of food in a twenty four hour period, people because of the time for this direction may based even against the bare. Could we thought he'd win now. Contest begins. Assumes that there is the first hot dog is under way. We go. We actually is the great. In this case the dogs had no buns right. Why was that science was? the bonds ban on the bare there haven't. I got it something I was told that the bare does not eat points of how tough, for the bears, okay, so you're told so the bear had a better lawyer than you had. Apparently, ok, so was a rehearsal hath. Yes, there was a study in what happened at the rear, something being cut down. I wanted
so something when their bare came out. I saw a flash of fear for a second and cobia she's eyes, including them in the contest itself. What happened you're cool distant, but you have to talk I don't think we're hygiene delay a visa when the real time for there was really quickly very fast. Older than I was so shocked at all. As it happens, I suddenly kind of almost too little I don't see how you can beat this man is. We has won the alaskan crunch, It is our new champion. Yes and the bear be it the bare one. Did you ever figure out how the bare did so well in the competition verses. The practice yes
on their on all keep alive the camera her uncle their kindness. You got there because our civil wars- that was the first question that I thought I had to know. So I asked- and I was told that the bare keeper had not given in anything to eat for, like a day moving title, creating facet of the illicit they had actually kind of made the bear very hungry and when it came in it was still things got over to the car and they are putting from Hungary, I updated acount and if my competitor was a wild beast and when animals when they are hungry, they are different living things. The earth we'll go on their own or not asleep, decorated, with a bit of luck in your night, gonna wanna tax systems, thereby making. I, like it, I M not a strong either because I'm hungry, whereas I was competing again, sir of beasts though
that was very hungry. You get the bear, and sometimes the bare gets you tonight. The Bare got Kobe ashen. How do you handled defeat a chemical, He became a muffin it and are not always in more change. My mentality very quickly and simply said: sometimes you win because someone's having day? Sometimes somebody beat you because you're having a bad, they even winning or using, doesn't Surely even I mean really felt that you're the ballast for so long? when you look at the long run run, you can't think about you and competing against arrival or rivals. Does not that doesn't even really tell you a hundred percent that you're the best so much what you can only do as compare yourself to yourself and try to see how far you connection
go, so what did Kobayashi do that was different than everyone before him. There's one thing he redefine the problem trying to solve abated the God so good is the key to me. Was that had a Cheeseman telling that it was sport it wasn't having a meal there. It was to me I had to think this is a sore has nothing to do with. Are you you normally enjoy a meal? Persisted physical action mean that you could see no end to the coveted. My honest opinion was that people we're just eating extension of regular eating meals and look like they were all like. Rushing to but even more than they normally could just one more huh. Are you just a little more and I thought Wolf? If you just look at it,
as a way of trying to put something in instead of how much more eight, the normal than it really just takes a few questions, and little research on my part and experimentation to see how far I could actually here's what the other competitive eaters resting himself. How can I fit more hot dogs in my stomach, Coolby asked a different question only slightly different. Perhaps we still lay person, but it changed everything. His question was: how can I make one hot dog easier to eat. It wasn't just that if everyone before him was asking the wrong question, he thought then, maybe he shouldn't give much credence to the existing world record. Maybe it was an artificial
area that he should just bust right through this contest have been going on for over forty years. Why is it that it took until you too kind of change the mental and strategic approach to the sport money? Gullied that that age meant that in the link? Yet he got that people have to have a reason to reason what could be wrong if a whole forty something years or more of people only see someone eating twenty five as the limit than someone who can eat twenty two might think. Well, if I just see four five or at the more I could actually do the and no one would ever think that anything else can be done. But if you see someone suddenly come any fifty eight, then everyone knows that there must be a different approach to the Roma and until something like that happens, people don't question
Sir Knight is maybe I was the reason. Maybe I gave them a reason for everyone at the same moment to rethink the problem again. So I'm curious, if you could look around the world at whether it's something having to do with money or government or education. Can you point to something where if people could only rethink the problem redefine the problem like you did and not accept the limit of the old world record like you did? Can you think of an instance where it might not be so hard to do that where it will be better off? If people could do that, not so, we could all come on. I think it should be used for everything. I think the thing about budget and brains is that they are
You make a limit in their mind of what their potential is and they decide that all I've been told this. This is what society tells me, and this is what are their just been made to believe something, so if every human being actually throw away those laws- and they actually did use that method of thinking to everything the potential of human beings, I think, is really great- I think it's huge compared to what they actually think of themselves. So that is a factor that should be, and if everyone please Then everything could be much better if there is a good bit of evidence that Cuba is right about how hard official barriers can hold us back he no longer lapse. The field in competitive eating contests, in fact Kobe, was beaten. First,
several years at Coney Island buy and eat, or named Joey Chestnut, who is still the rain champion and the guys who used IE, just fifteen or twenty hotdogs, now routinely eat thirty and forty. Some of them use copies methods, all of them benefit from knowing that the old limits weren't mail, as for coping himself, he lives in New York now still travels a world eating for living, but you won't find him in Coney Island on July. Fourth anymore, for a while back he got into a contract, is the organizer. So for the past few years he has held his own hotdog eating contests in parallel with the Coney Island. One these days the contest runs on ten minutes, but the numbers even higher. But how many do you think you eat this year?
more than seventy two more than seventy, two. So more than six dozen hot dogs and bonds in ten minutes and fourth of July what will you do then, on the fifth of July they had sent it that get up the more you just resting her. I think. Just how long does it take to recover overcoming the thought, the cash, or should I get more details on how I feel about how need you gotta, yes, indeed take honour and liked to rest for at least half a day of its? You must be a great athlete because, most of us, if we even three hot dogs? We need to rest for a whole day. So not only are you better on the front in your better on the back into
He Packer sisters next week on economics, radio, a brand new episode, the first of the two partner on an activity that we spend a lot of time on, but which economists have generally ignored, now. What would that be sleep? Sleep, sleep, sleep, one area that's been overlooked is sleep and to take just one question about sleep. Who do you think it's more of it? High income people following even that is not a simple question to answer. We found that people with more education got more sleep and people with higher.
comes, got more sleep. The answer is very very clear: those who earn more money per hour, those who have more education, basely bless and could lack of sleep, be linked to a phenomenon that epidemiologists have wondered about for years in almost every category health and disease. African Americans, like behind wipes out, which is a very disturbing fact, the economics of sleep that's next time on freedom of radio,
Rincon, Onyx Radio was produced by W and Y see in Dublin productions. Are staff includes Gregg resolve Ski Caroline, English Susie Lectern Burg Merit Jacob in Christopher Work. This episode was produced by credit card and mix by David Herman. If you are more frequent, onyx radio, you can subscribe to our pot cast on Itunes or good a friggin comics dot com,
we'll find lots of radio along the books and more hither, Stephen Double again one more thing, if you like free, connivance radio, I think you'll also, like the latest episode of people, I mostly admire the pod cast hosted by my freedom, expanding co, author, Steve Levin, here's what it sounds like a guest today, Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best about championships to end she ate championships for International basketball, federation, world cups, and four limpid gold medals? I'd like to talk about the economics of Professional Basque about so the average player in the NBA made eight point: three million dollars into the nineteen and
in the W Nba, the average with eighty thousand is frustrating just now. I think. Actually, if you look at twenty twenty. Our minimum is now higher, but we all put in the same amount of work. So is it hard to swallow. Knowing that somebody else's work is being rewarded at times by I live in reality. I understand business and economics. Some people look at us as like charity they go will will help them out like an it in a terrible. What sense, not unlike this business, vestment way- and we think, do look at us as an investment immediately its talked about how we don't make money and it's like fifty years ago in the nba- did either, but people are willing to make that investment get behind it and growing people. I mostly admire you can find
on your favorite podcast up either Stephen dubbing again one more thing. If you liked the episode you just heard, we think you like something else in the friggin hammocks radio network. Look for this interview on the new podcast people. I mostly admire with host Steve, let my guest today Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best while championships to end she ate championships for
international Basketball Federation World CUPS and for limpid gold medal? I would think that, in order to be the player you are, you would have to be a person who actually gets better under pressure rather than worth. Well. Obviously there are people who are known for hitting big shots are known for playing well in big games that exists for sure, but I think we kind of frame it the wrong way. It's not that you're gonna make nine at it it's that you might make three at a ten, but somebody else's, making zero it's on whose most Successful? It's like who's! The most successful the least successful that is, people mostly admire you, can find it on your favorite podcast app subscribe now, so that you don't miss single episode
Transcript generated on 2021-01-31.