Sumo is a wrestling sport in which two wrestlers or rikishi battle it out for victory. In addition, sumo is Japan’s national sport, although it is not the most Japanese popular sport.
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Sumo has a great historical tradition and even maintains Shinto aspects. Something you can see if you attend a tournament and see the roof over the ring or dohyo, the purification at the entrance, the referee’s attire, and much more.
Of course, sumo was different in its origins, and it was after the Meiji Restoration when it was seen that it could become a national sport. A sport that drew on ancient Japanese traditions to bring the population together.
In reality, despite its apparent complexity, the rules of sumo are simple. Despite its rituals, sumo involves combat between two wrestlers who seek to knock their opponent out of the ring or dohyo or throw him to the ground to achieve victory.
These wrestlers wear only a mawashi or crotch belt. If a wrestler loses it, he automatically loses the match. Sometimes sumo bouts end with the loser standing on top of the audience in the front rows.
Sometimes sumo bouts end with the loser on top of the audience in the front rows. Despite its simple rules, there are many fighting techniques or kimarite.
And if a wrestler uses forbidden techniques, such as hitting in the eyes or pulling hair, among others, he will also lose the bout.
Despite a large number of pre-and post-fight rituals, the rules themselves are few and not complex. The first wrestler to touch the ground with any part of his body other than his feet is eliminated.
The first wrestler contacting the wrestling circle outside (either with his feet or any other body aspect) is eliminated.
A wrestler who uses an illegal technique or kinjite is eliminated. He is eliminated if a wrestler loses the mawashi (the only clothing worn during a sumo bout).
Sumo bouts usually last only a few seconds as one of the wrestlers is immediately pushed out of the circle. An elaborate ceremonial ritual precedes each match.
Athletes who practice sumo are renowned for their large size, as body mass is a decisive factor in sumo, so the diet its practitioners eat is specifically designed to gain and maintain weight.
Sumo rings are known as dohyō. The dohyō is made of clay with sand spread over its surface. It measures between 34 and 60 cm in height.
The circle is approximately 4.55 m in diameter and is bounded by a large rice rope called a tawara, buried in the clay. In the center are drawn two lines, the shikiri-sen, where the rikishi must position themselves before beginning the confrontation.