Sumo is a sport that has fascinated me since being a small child. Imagine watching two giant men, walk into a temple-esque arena, square each other up, prepare and pray for victory, then face each other only centimetres apart. Once knuckles have touched the ground, they launch themselves at each other with such great force speed and agility that many normal people will simply be crushed by the experience. The result is always quick, the crowd cheer and its then onto the next bout…theatre, sport and honour all rolled up in one sport.
So how do these giants of sport train? To the uninitiated many would say it starts with 10 Big Mac’s, however watching Sumo for a number of years now I can appreciate the training these athletes complete. As you’ll see from this behind the scenes video from the Hakkaku stable below, the sumo training pit is often small and intimidating. Long hours of training is put in by several sumo wrestlers at a time, all of whom live together in a communal building. Privacy is limited. Not only are they constantly being reviewed and compared by fellow Sumo, the public simply adore these heroes of sport and can be invited in to watch their heroes in action.
Being Sumo isn’t just in the arena, it’s a lifestyle that takes over every element of their life. Dedicated to the sport, Sumo wrestlers share dorms, eat together, train together…all focused on developing their art. So, next time you see a Sumo bout, remember what it takes to get to the arena, the hard work, dedication, agility and loyalty needed to one of the world’s most ancient and mesmerizing sports.