The Art of Sumo
Sumo has been a part of Japanese Culture for many years. People have enjoyed the sport because it tests two peoples brut strength. Sumo is fought in a circular ring. The object of Sumo is to either get your opponent to touch the ground with anything other than the souls of his feet, or to push him out of the ring. About fifteen hundred years ago is when the first recorded match was. The matches of Sumo were originally religious. They were held in Shinto shrines in hopes that the gods would bring them a good harvest. These religious Sumo matches took place with music, poetry, sacred dancing, and drama acts. A legend of Sumo is Kojiki, this legends says that Sumo was once between two gods. The fate of the Japanese islands depended on the outcome of the match.
Sumo was not always like it is today. There have been many versions of Sumo throughout history. During 645-794 (the Nara Period) Sumo was known as Sechiezumo. These matches were only held once a year, usually in late August. Sumo during 1185-1334 (the Kamakura Period) had few rules implemented during the matches. Sumo was a combination of wrestling and boxing. During this time period the military Shogunate took control over Japan. They fought many wars throughout their country. Sumo was used as a part of their combat techniques.
Sumo has drastically changed to be the sport it is today. Today there are many rules enforced to keep the violence down. Before starting a Sumo match the wrestlers enter the arena from their respected sides. They then circle the ring counterclockwise. After they do this they stand clap and perform two Shiko stomps, with the right left first. They then rinse with Chikara Mizu (power water). They then throw salt into the ring. This purifies the ring and gets rid of the evil spirits. After this they enter the ring. They then couch with both arms down, clap and extend their arms. They then return to their corners and throw more salt. Returning to the center ring they clap and stomp two times again. This time they go to the center of the ring and crouch down with their knuckles on the ground. They then rise and return to their corners to throw more salt. This can happen three or four more times before the match starts. It is during this time the wrestlers stare at each other trying to psyche each other out. They wrestlers can start early if they want to, but both have to be synchronized. Or they will be fined. After a certain amount of time the Gyoji will call the wrestlers to the center of the ring to start if they already have not. Once they match actually starts they only last a few seconds. A long match is considered to be over a minute long.
Sumo is a very rich part of Japanese culture. It has been in Japan for the past fifteen hundred years. The Japanese prize this sport of Sumo. Although the rituals that are preformed in and around the ring before a Sumo match may seem monotonous and not needed, they are a part of the Japanese tradition. Sumo is a very interesting sport if you would like to get involved in it, but it is not an easy one. You must be strong, flexible, and agile to compete in this sport. Only the best fit will rise to the top rankings.