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Big Scary Sumo Wrestler on a Black Background and Backlit - Sumo Stock Photos

Stock photo of an imposing looking Sumo wrestler. This huge massive man is being backlit making him look even scarier. Sumo wrestler pics.
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Sumo Wrestling, an ancient Japanese Tradition

Stock photo of an imposing looking Sumo wrestler. This huge massive man is being backlit making him look even scarier. Sumo wrestler pics. Big Scary Sumo Wrestler on a Black Background and Backlit - Sumo Stock Photos. Picture of a very big even huge Japanese sumo wrestler looking mean and scary. Business metaphors and concept stock photography and fine art prints.

Sumo wrestling originated in ancient Japanese history and by the close of the Heian period (794-1185) had already been used as a court ritual for 300 years. Later in the feudal periods it was used as a method of resolving political disputes.

Sumo wrestling evolved to the point where it is now the national sport of Japan. The rules are simple. The first wrestler to be forced out of the 15 foot diameter ring (dohyo), or to touch the surface with anything other than his feet, loses. The action is basically two wrestlers of up to 580 lbs each charging into each other. Sumo matches are brief affairs…usually only a few seconds though some matches can go on as long as two or even three minutes. There are some prohibited actions such as eye gouging, hair pulling, and hitting with a closed fist (though open-handed slapping is allowed). Judo is said to have emerged from ancient Sumo throwing techniques.

The ring itself is a raised clay platform with straw bales embedded in the clay around the perimeter. The wresters wear a "mawashi"...a simple wrap of silk cloth that the wrestlers can grab and use to gain leverage.

At the top of a very hierarchical system are the Yokozuna…the grand champions. Usually, at any given time, there are one to four Yokozuna Sumo wrestlers. They are generally expect to have records of 13-2 or better and once that attain the Yokozuna status they remain at that level for life. When their abilities decline they are expected to retire to save their own dignity and that of the sport. In 1993 the first non-Japanese reached the rank of Yokozuna, a Hawaiian man named Akebono. In recent times there has been some degree of success by wrestlers from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China and the United States.

Being a Sumo wrestler means having a way of life not just a participant in a sport. The wrestlers live a communal life almost feudal in nature. They join a stable of wrestlers usually headed by a retired Yokozuna. Their rank depends only upon winning or losing…and the younger wrestlers must cater to the needs and desires of the senior wrestlers. Wrestlers begin their quest for Sumo greatness as early as 13 years of age.

Below the Yokozuna are several more levels of skill. There are Junior Champions (Ozeki), Champions (Sekiwake), and Champions Second Class (Komusubi). Next are 26 wrestlers of Senior Wrestler rank (Maegashira). These rankings are themselves broken into levels from one to thirteen and then subdivided into East and West stables. The top two of these lower divisions are known as Makuuchi and Juryo.

The tournaments are held during the odd months of the year. In recent years these tournaments have included forays out of Japan. Foreigners often are a little put-off by the sight of these immense men wearing only a cloth belt, slamming into each other, but after exposure to several matches many become enthusiastic fans.

Because the matches are so brief the advent of slow-motion television replays has truly enhanced the sport allowing the viewer to appreciate the nuances of the action. In Japan the matches are televised daily and due to the popularity it can actually be difficult to get appointments during the match times (generally between 4:00 and 6:30 pm) of a tournament.

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