The Art of Sumo Wrestling

Hello, this is Ayamegu(@ayakami_meguru).I will write about “Sumo” this time.

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Sumo wrestling is a traditional Japanese sport with a long and rich history. Originating in ancient times as a Shinto ritual, sumo has evolved into a highly competitive sport, beloved by the Japanese people. In this article, we will explore the origins, traditions, techniques, and influence of this iconic sport.

The History and Origins of Sumo

Sumo traces its roots back to ancient Japan, where it began as a form of Shinto ritual entertainment. Dating back over 1500 years, sumo was originally performed at imperial courts as part of ceremonies and festivals. Over time, sumo evolved into a spectacular gladiatorial sport performed for the pleasure of spectators. By the Edo period (1603-1868), sumo had become a professional sport, with wrestlers competing in sanctioned tournaments. Today, sumo is considered Japan’s national sport, with 6 annual Grand Sumo tournaments attended by millions of passionate fans.

Traditions and Customs of Sumo

Sumo is steeped in Japanese traditions and customs that add to the richness of the spectator experience. Before bouts, wrestlers perform purification rituals by rinsing their mouths with water and tossing salt into the ring. They also stomp the ground to drive away evil spirits. Wrestlers wear their hair in a traditional topknot and compete in traditional loincloths. Rank is denoted by hair style, with top division wrestlers sporting elaborate knots. Sumo ceremonies also have a long tradition, with spectator etiquette including no food or drink in the arena. Attributes like strength, skill and spirituality are honored in this most Japanese of sports.

Sumo Wrestling Techniques and Training

To excel at sumo requires intense physical and mental training. Weighing an average of 300 lbs, wrestlers rely on sheer mass and power. Matches are held on a raised dirt ring, where the goal is to force the opponent out of the ring or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. Common techniques include pushing, lifting, throwing, grappling and striking. Lower body strength is key for leverage and balance. To develop their physique, wrestlers follow a highly regimented training schedule, consuming up to 10,000 calories per day in a high protein stew called Chankonabe. Their training regime includes weight training, cardiovascular exercise, meditation, and intense bouts of pushing and grappling.

The Influence of Sumo on Japanese Culture

As Japan’s national sport, sumo holds an esteemed place in Japanese culture. Top division wrestlers achieve celebrity status, with salary and privileges commensurate with their rank in the hierarchy. Children grow up emulating popular wrestlers, absorbing the traditions and discipline of the sport at a young age. For spectators, sumo offers an opportunity to experience history and heritage first-hand. The ceremonial rituals that precede each tournament promote ideas like purification, spirituality and driving away evil influences. Sumo philosophy emphasizes self-improvement through intense training of mind and body. For the Japanese people, sumo is a symbol of cultural identity and a source of national pride.

In summary, sumo is more than just a combative sport – it is a living window into Japanese tradition and philosophy. With its long history, rituals, specialized training, and cultural significance, sumo occupies a unique place in Japanese society that stretches back through the centuries.

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