File this under gaianation.net and beyond. Method beyond. On a expedition to Tokyo not lengthy ago, we regulated to score a visit come a maintain session at a sumo stable. Our guide was a retired wrestler who lugged us come his secure in Ryogoku- (Sumo Town) just outside the Tokyo city center. As soon as we arrived at the stable, an unremarkable spring apartment house, we were led right into a little room v a dust ring in the center and also a narrow wooden platform follow me the edge. Us were instructed to eliminate our shoes, bow top top entry and also sit quietly and cross-legged on the communication (it’s considered disrespectful to disclose the soles of her feet come the wrestlers). There would certainly be no talk or excess movement, although pictures and video clip were it s okay as lengthy as the camera sounds to be off. What we had actually was an increase close and personal, ringside seat to this bewildering, bizarre and ancient sport the sumo. So in honor of the simply completed Grand may Tournament in Kokugikan, here it is….

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10 things you constantly wanted come know about sumo yet were afraid to ask.

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1. What perform those guys weigh?

The average weight the a sumo wrestler, also called a Rikishi, is approximately 350 pounds, but they can selection anywhere in between 250 pounds and also 450 pounds, to add some. Over there is a lot of muscle under all that fat, but bigger is not always better as soon as it involves winning matches. Some of the winningest wrestlers were have been under 300 pounds. All the extra tonnage takes its toll on a human body – love disease, high blood pressure and diabetes all add to an typical life expectations of only 63 years.

 2. What’s the story v the male bun?

The man buns sported by sumo are called Chonmage. The hairstyle has actually its origins with samauri, and is an essential symbol that honor for the Rikishi. Special barbers, called Tokoyama, room employed to style wreslter’s hair- the job is extremely respected and also often ongoing for generations in ~ a family. Tokoyama must train because that a minimum the 10 years prior to they are enabled to coif a experienced wrestler. The hair is heavily oiled and also combed into a optimal knot, or for very ranked competition wrestlers, the is traction forward and fanned out right into a “ginko” leaf shape on the height of the head. When a wrestler retires, the peak knot is ceremoniously cut off.

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3. What is that – sport, religion or martial art?

Sumo is a hugely famous sport in Japan and wrestlers space revered celebrities. The sport has its spiritual root in ancient Shinto tradition, where wrestlers performed for the to chat of the dieties. It arised as a skilled sport in the 1600’s and also has maintained many of it’s ancient symbols and traditional rituals that lug spiritual significance. Prior to each bout, the wrestlers sprinkle salt ~ above the ring together a purification ritual and to defend them from injury. Sumo wrestlers have actually special classic garments the they are forced to undertake in public, and they room expected to carry themselves in a dignified and honorable means at every times. Women are not allowed to it is in sumo wrestlers in Japan.

4. What’s the objective?

Sumo matches take location in a ring (called a dohyo) do of clay and also sand. Sumo is a full call sport and also the wrestlers impact one another, flesh rippling, together they shot to press each various other off balance. The first wrestler come be thrust out of the ring, or to touch the ring v anything other than the sole of his foot is the loser. There room no formal weight classes in ~ the divisions, so wrestlers competing against one one more may be really different in size. Matches commonly last much less than a minute.

5. Breakfast that champions- what is the sumo diet?

The diet the a Sumo wrestler consists of around 10,000 calorie packed into two giant meals. The key dish lock eat is dubbed Chanko-nabe- a Japanese stew with fish, veggies, meat and also tofu, offered with key after bowl of rice and washed down with beer. Lots of it. Strange enough, wrestlers perform not eat breakfast. By training very first thing in the morning, and also skipping breakfast, they sluggish down their metabolism and build up their appetites allowing them to consume much more during the day and pack on the pounds. After ~ lunch, they take it a an excellent long strength nap and also then train until –dinner. An ext Chanko-nabe, rice and also lots more beer. Incidentally, countless wrestlers open well-known Chanko-nabe restaurants when they retire- for this reason if you desire to eat prefer a sumo next time you’re in Tokyo, try one ofthese.

6. What’s through the loin cloth?

The loin towel that wrestlers undertake is called a Mawashi and is actually a 30 foot long piece of noodle canvas (worn during training) or silk (worn for tournaments), wrapped countless times about the body of the wrestler and also knotted in the back. Grabbing and also pulling on an opponent’s Mawashi throughout a complement is an agree strategy part wrestlers use to put their adversary off balance. If it come off, the wrestler who loses his Mawashi is disqualified, and also presumably pretty embarrassed, for this reason wardrobe malfunctions are carefully avoided. Oh, and also those sweaty loincloths space never ever before washed. Sumo think that in addition to weakening the fabric, washing the could an outcome in washing away the accumulated…um… good luck.

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7. How carry out sumo live?

Sumo live and train year round in stables. Stables space commune-like centers that room run by stable-masters, who are usually ex-wrestlers, and also have a distinct hierarchy of privilege and discipline. Each secure is like an extended family and all wrestlers have particular duties, routines and strict codes of conduct. Young males who great to come to be sumo wrestlers deserve to join a steady as a novice apprentice about age 15, or occasionally younger. They will leave their families to live with other sumo in a secure for the duration of your career. Wrestlers never change stables and wrestlers indigenous the same stable seldom compete versus one another in tournaments.

8. Is hazing a component of secure life?

Hazing is a part of sumo training. As young, low ranked members the a stable, life is difficult. The younger, lower ranked wrestlers space expected to carry out chores, errands and extra work, wait on greater ranked wrestlers and endure physical penalty as component of their training to construct their mental toughness. They have to eat last, and whatever is left over by the older wrestlers, clean up after the others, clean and also maintain the stable, ring and living quarters. A novice initiation could even encompass physical beating. In a 2008 hazing incident, a 17 year old sumo novice was beaten to death by three other wrestlers in his stable, in ~ the direction the his steady master. The scandal exposed some appalling hazing practices, which have been outlawed since.

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9. What’s through the stomping and also deep knee bends?

As huge as Sumo are, lock are likewise amazingly flexible. Lot of your day is invested in maintain doing ritual moves to boost strength and flexibility. Timeless moves incorporate foot stomping, lunging, and repeatedly smacking into another object (or wrestler). Stomping move involve a wrestler standing through feet large apart, increasing one foot high into the air and then bringing it down v a thundering stomp. One more training move to increase versatility is squatting, feet flat on the ground through legs much apart, leaning forward so that the belly touches the ground. We watched together a young man was instructed to choose up a vast boulder that was just external of the ring, and carry it roughly the ring numerous times if intermittently doing deep knee bends.

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10. Tournaments and also ranking

There space 6 divisions of sumo, ranked in a pecking order from shortest to highest. The highest, most skilled departments are recognized as the Sekitori, and garner the many attention and public devotion. There are 6 grand tournaments held yearly in Japan, lasting about 15 work each, throughout which wrestlers compete to advancement to the finals. Undefeated wrestlers complement up top top the final day that the tournament to compete for the grand champion title of Yokozuna. May 22, 2016 to be the final day that the might tournament. Hakuho, a currently 37 time champion won the tournament through a controversial side action move dubbed a Henka. Click below to read about the last bout in the Japan Times. Want to see that controversial relocate in action? check out the Henka move here.