|Sumo Wrestlers gather in a circle around the referee in the "ring-entering" ceremony|
Sumo is a competitive, full contact wrestling sport where the object is to force the other wrestler out of a circular ring, or into touching the ground with anything other than the soles of his feet.
The sport originated in Japan many centuries ago and Japan is still the only country where it is practiced professionally.
The sport has many ritual elements, holdovers from the days when Sumo was used in the Shinto religion. It is said to have originated as a ritual dance - a metaphor for wrestling with a divine spirit. Aspects of the wrestlers daily lives are still dictated by strict traditions - and enforced by the Japan Sumo Association.
|Behind the scenes, wrestlers warming up|
In recent years Sumo has had a resurgence of popularity due to some high profile wrestlers and a few colorful grand champions. I had no idea that not all Sumo wrestlers are Japanese. According to my friend, there are many Polynesian Sumo wrestlers. I also learned that there are Sumo clubs in the United States, particularly on the West Coast and in Hawaii.
George was amazed by the wrestlers strength and skill. They are HUGE, yet agile, and could flip, roll and literally toss their opponent through the air.
My neighbor writes:
The funniest and craziest thing at the match was: The first two sections of seating the spectators sit on cushions on the floor, well after one of the matches all the cushions go flying through the air! It seemed like everyone was throwing their cushion! Well, come to find out when the underdog wins, they throw their cushions!
It was interesting, and fun to see a match, said George. I can only imagine!