For those who has not put much though in Japanese culture, Sumo wrestling can seem quite odd, like many other things in Japan. But this very old national sport is so much more than just fat guys fighting against each other.
The Sumo wrestling is not only about the fight but also about the very important and spiritual rituals before and after the fight.
We didn’t plan in advance to see a sumo wrestling tournament in Osaka but by chance we found out that a tournement was going on. Another luck was that we found tickets for the tournement!
This is just a brief explainations because the rituals are so complex that it would take a lot of research and time for me.
So, before they fight each other, they start first with a series of purification rituals.
The wrestlers stomp their feet, raise their legs as high as possible one after another and clap their hands to drive evil spirit out of the ring.
Then they rince their mouth with the chikara-mizu ( strenght-water) and wipe the mouth afterwards with the chikara-gami.
The fighters squad down infront of each other and spread their arms horizontal to show that they don’t have any weapon on them.
And then they throw salt around them to purify the ring where they fight each other.
And a few steps more before the action actually begin.
The rules of the fight
The rules of the fight is quite simple.
You win the fight by either forcing your opponent to step out of the ring
Forcing him to touch the ground with any part of his body other than the bottom of his feet.
It was fun to see it the first few times but it got quite boring quite fast because 90% of the time is actually about the rituals. The fight itself only last a few second.
If you are lucky the fight can last up to one minute!
And then you have to go through more rituals after the match! And it goes on and on.
Inspite of long waiting for some action to happen we were happy to be able to witness sumo wrestling in real life.
Some facts about the sumo wrestlers
Japanese Sumo Wrestlers eat 20,000 calories a day.
You don’t have to be Japanese to be a sumo wrestler, however they must speak japanese.
The average age for a sumo wrestling viewer is 50.
The wrestler must live a traditional lifestyle.
If the audience aren’t happy with the match, they will throw cushions into the ring.
Have you ever seen a real sumo fight? Did you like it?