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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Comprehensive List (but dubious?)

I just went to check the results of the summer tournament in Nagoya. I've been crazy busy this summer, and I got behind on my sumo! (Shame on me.)

La-di-dah. Guess what is out there, and I never even knew?

It's a sumo results page for the entire year available on Wikipedia, bless it's unreliable-informational heart.

Here's the link. WIKIPEDIA SUMO RESULTS FOR 2011. Now you can click on over there and get the update on Hakuho and Kotooshu and Kaio, who announced his retirement after 23 years in sumo.

That's a lot of years in sumo!

Another cool stat from the Nagoya tournament last month was that a rikishi with a degree from Waseda University made it into juryo (the lowest tier of the professional level)  for the first time since 1933.

It sounds like a lot of guys in sumo just take the sumo-track in life and don't go after an education, so maybe this is a new thing.

Also, a former champ died, and he'd lived to the age of 72. His sumo name was Wakanaruto. It's good to know some of them live to a ripe old age--since their size looks like their life spans might be shortened by excess weight.

Just saying.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Slap-fest

At the beginning of a sumo match, the rikishi stand on their respective lines and when the signal is given they make their tachiai, which is their first meeting/approach. Sometimes they slam right into each other and get in a headlock (or do a mawashi grab) and sometimes they start slapping each other first. It's kind of loud, and it looks like it hurts.

No fist punching is allowed. This is not boxing or a fight club. But the slapping is acceptable, even expected. Their bronze skin gets a short beating before the two competitors latch onto each other or truly attack. It looks like it stings.

Here's a link to a youtube video of a slap fight.

In the video you can see the slapping is fierce enough to actually send one guy out of the ring. Plus you can see the decor of the sumo arena. Cool video--thanks Snowleg, whoever you are.

Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Chikara=Power

I like the Japanese word chikara. It means power. I remember getting up early one morning in Japan and thinking, "Chikara nai." I have no power. I fell back onto my futon and went back to sleep. It happened quite a few times as I tried to bike up a steep hill in Nagano toward the Zenkoji temple. Chikara nai! The muscles in my thighs quivered. I had to just stop and let them rest.
Zenkoji Temple is on a hilltop overlooking Nagano
Chikara is a word used well in regards to sumo. Those rikishi are huge, and they are full of power! Seeing them slam into one another like Mack trucks going 100 miles per hour, it's just ... powerful!

At the beginning of each sumo match there's a lot of ceremony. One of the things they do is drink from a little bowl of chikara mizu, power water. Then they have a piece of chikara kami placed in front of their mouths. Power paper.

The water idea, I get. Drinking in the power of the Shinto gods. Great idea!

But the paper, that was a mystery. It took me a while to find an explanation, but what I gather is that the power paper is used to hide the mouth of the rikishi while he spits out the power water.

Yet another reason I love sumo.