Monday, July 07, 2008


Sumo is a spirited contact sport where two wrestlers (rikishi) attempt to force one another out of a circular ring (dohyo) or to stroke the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originates in Japan, the only country where it is experienced professionally. The Japanese consider sumo a gendai budō (a modern Japanese martial art), though the sport has a history with a leg on each side of many centuries.

The sumo tradition is very ancient and even today the sport include many ritual elements, such as the use of salt for sanitization, from the days sumo was used in the Shinto religion. Life as a rikishi is extremely regimented, with rules laid down by the Sumo Association. Professional sumo wrestlers are necessary to live in communal "sumo training stables" known in Japanese as heya where all aspect of their daily lives - from meals to their way of dress - is dictating by strict tradition.

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