Sumo tournament coming to Okinawa Dec. 17 & 18
What comes to your mind first when you hear the word “sumo?” Is it the samurai hairdo or the loincloth filled with hundreds of pounds of giant human? Or maybe it’s “Yokozuna,” one of the biggest Japanese cultural icons.
Whatever impression you may have, your chance to witness and experience authentic sumo wrestling is coming soon. The Grand Sumo Tournament will make its way to Okinawa on Dec. 17 and 18.
Even if you are familiar with sumo, or have seen the match between Former Yokozuna, Akebono, and WWE’s Big Show, witnessing the sport in person may surprise you. The wrestlers, with their tremendous size, power, and speed, are a sight to be seen.
With bouts that begin with a collision similar to that of an NFL line of scrimmage, the helmet-less wrestlers sometimes literally collide head-on, creating a big bang. Despite the size and brute strength of the athletes, often times it’s their great flexibility that help them avoid elimination with an acrobatic move at the edge of the ring.
You might think that sumo is more peaceful than other martial arts because no kicking or punching are seen in this Japanese traditional sport. But the truth is, you may need to brace for a brutal fight.
Wrestlers will slap in the face or throat thrust each other, just like boxing with open palms. Or, if it serves their tactics, they’ll occasionally kick the legs or throw opponents, like in Judo or pro-wrestling. Some will even clap their hands in front of opponent’s face to try and surprise their opponent.
In fact, there are a whole lot of things that can happen on the ring.
According to the Nihon Sumo Kyokai (association of professional sumo wrestling), there are 82 finishing moves that can decide a winner. Basically, a winner will be decided if one of the competitors touches the ground outside of the ring, or touches the ground inside the ring with any part of his body except the bottom of his feet. As long as a competitor doesn’t do anything nasty like grabbing hair, hitting with knuckles, or attacking vulnerable spots, there aren’t many rules during a match.
The event will include a “Shokkiri” bout where sumo wrestlers are encouraged to break the rules to make it more entertaining and funny. The comical act is popular among fans, as is “Chibikko sumo,” where kids get to challenge famous sumo wrestlers.
For all the fun and excitement it entails, a sumo tournament deserves to be on your bucket list.
Oozumou Okinawa Basho (Grand Sumo Tournament in Okinawa)
Date: Dec. 17 & 18
Time: 2-9 p.m. (Sat.), 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. (Sun.)
Location: Okinawa Convention (near MASC Futenma and Camp Foster)
Address: 4-3-1 Mashiki, Ginowan City, Okinawa, 901-2224
Tickets: 8,000 - 22,000 yen (Available through Fami Port system at Family Mart)
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