the two wrestlers take some time to stare each other down. then, suddently, they spring forward and impact with great force in the middle of the ring. slapping, pushing, tripping,gripping the belt, and throwing the other wrestler are all allowed, but punching and kicking are not. the first perdon to be knocked down or pushed out of the ring loses. the entire match usuallylasts less than a minute.
the sport of sumo is japan´s traditional style of wrestling, and it is one of the oldest organized sports on earth. sumo matches were taking place in the seventh century A.D.The basic elements of modern umo began to fall into place in the 1680s, and he sport remains little changed since then.
Bigger Is Better
Sumo wrestlers are huge men by any standard. Their averageweight is 160 kilos, and there is no weight restriction. The Hawaiian Salevaa Atisanoe, whose sumo name is Konishiki, weighed over 280 kilos when he was a successful wrestler. To achieve such impressivedimensions, sumo wrestlers eat large quantities of chankonabe, a japanase stew whose ingredients include vegetables, chicken, fish, tofu, or beef. In the ring, they wear, without shame, little morethan a traditional silk belt called a mawashi. Their hair is styled in a fashion popular with 17th-century samurai.
Sumo matches are rich in tradition. The wrestling ring, calledthe dobyo, es exactly 4.55 meters across. Above it hangs a beautiful shrine roof that illustrates sumo´s close association with Japan´s Shinto religion. Wrestlers throw salt onto they ring before eachmatch, a religious tradition believed to make the ground pure. Overseeing the fight is the gyoji, an official dressed in wonderful traditional clothes who closely watches and sometimes encourages thewrestlers.
FOREIGNERS IN SUMO
As Japan becomes more internationalized, so too does the world of sumo. Wrestlers from Mongolia, Korea, Russia, the United States, Argentina, and other countries have...