Not Just Two Guys Pushing Each Other

Sumo wrestling – Japan, this is a contact sport where one competitor tries to force out his competitor out of a circular ring. This is Japan’s official national sport, and often simply made out to be “just two men in diapers trying to push each other,” when in reality, this is a serious sport where professional players have to live in communal “sumo training stables,” dedicating their daily lives to strict tradition.



Other than making your opponent step out of the ring, another way to win a match is forcing his opponent to touch the ground with parts of his body other than his feet. The matches are decided over by referees or judges, and sometimes, technicality comes into play. Tradition is also very important. The throwing of salt signifies purification, and dates back to ancient times, when Sumo was part of the Shinto religion. As with the traditional aspect of the sport, any competitor caught using illegal techniques automatically loses.

Nowadays, in the western world, a lighter, less-traditional form of Sumo is possible with sumo suits. This is for those looking for a good time to release some pent-up aggression, and the sumo suits simulate the effect of having the heft for those who don’t have the body for the sport.

Is keeping tradition that hard, that, no other country can adapt to this sport?

2 Responses

  1. Howdy,

    I heard of an attempt to bring sumo to the US that failed pretty miserably. Apparently, nobody was willing to wear mawashi without something underneath. The promoters were going to have former football players wear spandex shorts under the mawashi. It didn’t work. So, yeah, I think it may be a bit “too traditional” to make it elsewhere without modification. Too bad!

    Did you see the last Hakuho vs Asashoryou bout? THAT was killer sumo!


  2. I don’t know if it’s a pop in Japan, but it’s quite popular in Mongolia, as the Yokozunas are Mongolians 🙂 And, I’m not bragging or anything, but people say that Mongolian wrestlers made the sumo to spread more to the world.

    Well, the Mongolian wrestlers’ domination actually started way back in the early 90’s with Kyokushuzan (he’s retired now) who was nicknamed “The Supermarket of Techniques (or something)”.

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