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The Sport of Sumo Wrestling

Updated on July 27, 2016

Sumo wrestling is a very popular contact sport in Japan. Sumo wrestling has been around for over 2,500 years in Japan.

Sumo Wrestling

Somagahera Fuchumon by Utagawa Kunisada Public Domain
Somagahera Fuchumon by Utagawa Kunisada Public Domain | Source

Sumo wrestling is considered the most unique full contact sport in existence. Sumo wrestling is well known throughout the entire world.

Sumo wrestling is where two extremely large men face each other in a round ring. This round ring is known as a Dohyo. When one of the men has forced the other man out of the ring, he is the winner. A Sumo wrestler will also lose if he touches the ground with any part of his body besides the bottom of his feet.


Sumo Wrestling

Limosada sumo By Utagawa Kunisada Public Domain
Limosada sumo By Utagawa Kunisada Public Domain | Source

The sport of sumo wrestling originated in Japan over 2,500 years ago. The only country that has professional matches is Japan. Sumo is considered by many a modern martial art, but there are many people that believe it is not a martial art.

In sumo wrestling, they use salt to purify. This originated with sumo and was part of Japan's Shinto religion. The sumo wrestler's life is very strict, and he must follow the Sumo Associations laws. Most of the sumo wrestlers must live with other wrestlers in a communal environment. The sumo training stables are called Heyas. They control just about everything in the wrestler's daily life, including what they eat and wear.


Foreignor and Sumo wrestler at Yokohama 1861

Foreignor and Sumo wrestler at Yokohama 1861 By Unknown Public Domain
Foreignor and Sumo wrestler at Yokohama 1861 By Unknown Public Domain | Source

The are six divisions in sumo wrestling. There is the Makuuchi division that has 42 wrestlers. The Makushita division has 120 wrestlers. The Juryo division has 28 wrestlers. There are 200 wrestlers in the Sandanme division. There are 230 wrestlers in the Jonidan division. The Jonokuchi division has 80 wrestlers in it.


Sumo wrestling 1880

Sumo wrestling 1880 By Vicke Andren Public Domain
Sumo wrestling 1880 By Vicke Andren Public Domain | Source

The lowest division is the Jonokuchi, which is where the sumo wrestlers start out at. The wrestlers will work their way up the divisions. When the wrestlers get to the two highest divisions, they are called Sekiton and the ones in the lower division are called a Rikishi.


Haw Par Villa, Singapore

Haw Par Villa, Singapore By Sang Kang CC BY-SA 2.0
Haw Par Villa, Singapore By Sang Kang CC BY-SA 2.0 | Source

The Makuuchi division is the most popular with the fans. It is also the most difficult. Most of the wrestlers are known as Maegashira. The sumo wrestlers are given a number that means how good they are. The number one is the best and seventeen is the lowest or worst.


Keiunkan in Nagahama

Keiunkan in Nagahama By 663 highland CC BY-SA 2.5
Keiunkan in Nagahama By 663 highland CC BY-SA 2.5 | Source

Above the prestige of the Maegashira, there are three champion ranks. These champion ranks are called Sanyaku. The highest champion rank is the Komusubi then the Sekiwake and the Ozeki. The Yokozuna is the highest rank. The grand champions belong to the Yokozuna. These sumo wrestlers are expected to win the tournament titles. It is extremely hard for the sumo wrestlers to make it into the Yokozuna. A sumo wrestler who is a member of the Ozeki has to win two consecutive championships to be considered to join the Yokozuna. The only matches that are used to determine distinctions are the Grand Sumo Tournaments.

Sumo wrestling demonstrates physical power. Sumo wrestling is great to watch in person or on T.V.


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    • norlawrence profile imageAUTHOR

      Norma Lawrence 

      2 years ago from California

      Thanks. Yes it is very involved and I guess very difficult.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Now I have an understanding to some degree on this. I never realized that it was this involved.

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