Sumo Wrestling: Life of Fighters and Curiosities

Sumo is a form of competitive wrestling, typical of Japan. Where a contestant will attempt to force his opponent out of a circular ring. Or even, forcing the opponent to touch the ground with something other than the soles of the feet.

It originated in Japan, and it is also the only country where this practice is practiced. sport professionally. And it is noteworthy that many ancient traditions have been preserved in this sport. So much so that even today the sport includes many ritual elements, such as the use of salt purification, typical of the Shintoism.

But what we want to know is what the life of a sumo wrestler is like. So, I will give a basic description, to open the imagination. Well, life as a wrestler is highly regimented, with rules regulated by the Japan Sumo Association.

Most sumo wrestlers are required to live in communal places for sumo training. These locations, similar to college dorms, are known in Japanese as heya.

And in this place, all aspects of the fighters' daily life are dictated by strict tradition. A good example is meals or even the way you dress. Well in this post we will focus on the lives of fighters. if you want to know more about the sport itself, just take a look at this link.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities

Life as a professional sumo wrestler

As has been said before, the way of life is very regulated. The Sumo Association even dictates the behavior of its fighters in some detail. And breaking the rules can result in fines and/or suspension, and not just for the fighter but also for their responsible master.

One of the frequent peculiar things in a fighter's life is hair. Because, when entering the world of sumo, it is expected that the hair will grow to form a topknot, or honorable. and not only that, they are expected to wear chonmagem and traditional Japanese dress when in public.

Looking from the marketing side, it's good to draw attention to yourself. However, when it comes to personal life and privacy, I believe these are almost zero. That's because, when the fighters are in a public place, they are soon to be identified.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities

Clothes for each Sumo class

As a type of rank insignia, the clothes worn also serve this purpose. That is, each fighter, depending on their classification, will wear a different type of clothing. It is more or less with the classification system of karate academies and their belts.

The six divisions in sumo are from highest to lowest:

  1. Makuuchi
  2. jūryō
  3. makushite
  4. sandanme
  5. jonidan
  6. jonokuchi

In the world of sumo, as in some other sports, there is a big demarcation. Mainly among the fighters of the two main divisions known as sekitori and those in the lower four divisions. These in turn are commonly known by the more generic term rikishi.

Thus, the type and quality of the dress changes according to the fighter's rating. Wrestlers in the last two classifications are only allowed to wear a thin cotton robe called a yukata, even in winter. Also, when outdoors, they must wear a type of wooden sandals, called geta.

Wrestlers in the Makushita and Sandanme divisions, on the other hand, have some more privileges. They may wear a traditional short overcoat form over their yukata. They can also wear straw sandals, called zōri.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities

Privileges for Sekitori

And finally, the top two, the sekitori, have the best privileges, worthy of their positions. They can wear silk robes of their own choice and the quality of the attire is significantly improved. However, they must wear a more elaborate form of topknot called an ōichō on formal occasions.

Well, as it is the first division, it will always be the most popular, as well as receiving the most investments. So we can deduce that in sumo, the best wrestlers also have their privileges.

And this is a fact, these always have their privileges, which we will recite next. The sekitori, in addition to the best clothes, are also given their own room in the stable. Or if they prefer, they can live in their own apartments, just like married fighters.

And it doesn't stop there, even in the daily life of fighters there are distinctions. Junior fighters should get up earlier, around 5am, for training, while sekitori can start around 7am. (More skill = More comfort).

Another clear example is observed in training. Because when sekitori are training, junior fighters usually do chores. Or to exemplify, help cook lunch, clean and prepare the bath, hold the sekitori's towel or wipe his sweat.

And this ranking hierarchy holds even for the order of bathing after training and at lunch. Yes, it is being rewarded for your skill, so it encourages, in an outrageous way, your juniors to work hard.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities

The article is still halfway through, but we recommend also reading:

Sumo Wrestler Salaries

These numbers are merely illustrative, and serve as a basis only. Just as a football/soccer player does not earn the same as another, the phenomenon is repeated in sumo.

These are just top division salaries, or makuuchi. This is divided into five other subcategories. Which in turn are, and receive:

  • Yokozuna : around US $ 30,500
  • Ōzeki : around US $ 25,000
  • San'yaku : around US $ 18,000
  • Maegashira : around US $ 14,000

However, I will not list the salary for the other divisions as it would be unnecessary, since salaries have a huge range of variation.

In addition to the basic salary, sekitori fighters also receive a bonus, called a mochikyūkin. This income is received six times a year, that is, once in each tournament based on the accumulated performance in your career to date. This bonus increases, but for that the fighter needs to score a kachikoshi.

Kachikoshi: More wins than losses for a fighter in a tournament.

Special increases in this bonus are also granted for winning the top division championship. And earn an extra large raise for a “perfect” lossless championship win. As well as a bonus, for scoring a gold star or kinboshi, i.e. a turn of a yokozuna into a maegashira.

And to top it off, prize money is given to the winner of each divisional championship. This increases by 100,000 unmodified for a jonokuchi win, up to 10,000,000 yen for winning the first division.

In addition to prizes for a championship, top division wrestlers who perform exceptionally can also receive one or more than three special prizes, worth 2,000,000 yen each.

Bad Parts of Being a Sumo Wrestler

As not everything is flowers, juice is also no exception. So, now we're going to discuss some of the downsides of a sumo wrestler's career. Of course they are not absurdly bad things, on the contrary, they are even light compared to other risk sports.

Anyway, let's get started. However, I will only mention negative health effects. always bearing in mind that the negative health effects caused by the sumo lifestyle may become apparent later in life.

Thus, sumo wrestlers have a life expectancy between 60 and 65 years, which means more than 10 years less than country's average life. This is due to the fact that diet and sport harm the fighter's body.

Many fighters develop diabetes or high blood pressure. They are also prone to heart attacks because of the large amount of body mass and fat they accumulate.

Also, excessive alcohol intake can lead to liver problems, while stress on your joints due to your being overweight can cause arthritis. These and other problems are common to sport. Therefore, I don't know if it is one of the best sports to practice. I wouldn't practice, as I'm too skinny for it.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities
NeuPaddy / Pixabay

Sumo wrestler daily routine

To end the article, let's move on to the last topic, a day in the shoes of a sumo wrestler. For this we will describe the routine of a low class fighter.

  • Basically, you will have to wake up at 5:00 am, then, between 5:30 am and 11:00 am, a long training;
  • After finishing, a nice lunch and then we go for a long nap;
  • After a few hours' nap, the rikishi-class fighters do the housework and the sekitori do other training;
  • When the afternoon's chores are over, the custom is to relax and be distracted until dinner;
  • From 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm, there is free time until curfew, noting that the fighters sleep in the same room;

Anyway, this routine is standard, that is, few things change from one fighter to another. This is because the rules are strict and so are the customs. This is becoming a risk factor for this sport.

Sumo - the life of the fighters and curiosities

What do you think about sumo wrestlers?

As I'm too skinny to get into this kind of sport, I prefer not to comment on the emotions of it. So I'm going to go from the praise straight to the criticism. That is, how hard life must be for beginners.

I agree that this encourages a lot of those who like the sport, but on the other hand, it causes many to give up on the sport. Besides, privileges bring with them some dangerous freedoms. I'm not scared to know that bullying is a part of everyday life for beginning fighters.

Anyway, for these and other reasons, the fate of sumo is uncertain. Despite being a great tradition, it is in danger of ending. And the decrease in the numbers of athletes is a direct consequence of these problems.

It's sad but these things happen. And with a hook in this theme, in the autumn season 2018, an anime based on this sport, or at least similar, will be released. I think it's worth watching. And that's it, the article is ending.

Do not forget to share the site on social networks, and if you have any questions, suggestions, criticisms or anything like that, just leave your comment. And thanks for reading this article this far, bye.

Read more articles from our website

Thanks for reading! But we would be happy if you take a look at other articles below:

Read our most popular articles:

Do you know this anime?