Sumo wrestling is not only the oldest of Japan’s various martial arts, it also evolved into the most distinct and ritualistic, to this day still heavily centered around the Shinto religion. When the sport was first introduced 1500 years ago it was performed mostly to ensure good harvests. Sumo’s popularity quickly spread, becoming a more public and widespread event. Matches were usually brutal, the loser often expected to forfeit his life. By the 7th century Sumo had fallen under the protection of the warring Shogunite regime and was largely banned as a public spectacle. Only the samurai, or warrior class, were allowed to practice it as part of their military training. Once peace was finally restored Sumo once again fell under the patronage of the Japanese royal courts and was dubbed the Imperial sport. By the 15th century Sumo wrestling had adopted a set of strict rules and the most talented champions were offered patronage by powerful feudal lords. In the early 1700’s “banzuke” or ranking lists, were established, a system which is still strictly adhered to today. The objective of the “sumotori," or competitors, many of whom weigh between 250 and 500 pounds, is to either knock his opponent from a specially-sized ring or manoeuvre him so that any part of his body touches the ground. This is done by using one or a series of 70 accepted Sumo moves, some of which are pushing, slapping, hoisting, tripping, pinning or throwing.
Six 15 day tournaments are held each year in Japan in the cities of Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and Fukuoka. Sumo matches are fought in a “dohyo," a raised and sanctified platform constructed with clay and sand and onto which a 14 foot 10 inch circle is marked out using half buried straw bales. Suspended above the ring is a wooden structure that resembles the roof of Shinto shrine. Each Sumo tournament begins with much pageantry and ceremony. The wrestlers, the referees, and the various attendants and helpers wear colorful attire, the design of which remains steeped in ancient traditions and meanings dating back to Japan’s Edo period. The grand champions, all wearing intricately embroidered silk aprons some of which are worth in excess of 500,000 yen, enter the ring first and begin their own elaborate rituals called “doyho-iri." There is no weight class in Sumo wrestling so very often the “rikishi," or competitors, find themselves squaring off against a much heftier opponent.
by Dancing with Fire January 26, 2011
Hint: Don't go to a sumo wrestling match if you are not a sumo wrestler. Sumo wrestlers are so heavy that they will kill you once they step on you. Beware.
by LOLLERZZZZZZZZZZZ April 21, 2009
Sumo wrestling involves 2 fat REALLY REALLY fat guys that EAT heaps and heaps of food al the time to get really really fat and try and push eachother over or out of the ring, it is a national Sport and Japan's FAVOURITE sport!!!!!
by Mr.wankk March 02, 2007
by puunkinpiee April 29, 2016