Guilty Pleasures #1

A particular joy over the last couple of years has been rediscovering sumo. First broadcast to British audiences by Channel 4 in the 1980s, with commentary by Syd Hoare (a Judo 6th dan) major tournaments are now broadcast by NHK World, or can be viewed on YouTube.

Major tournaments are held in odd months (January, March, May…)

It is perhaps an acquired taste – but once you get across the initial shock you get to realise that sumo has much in common with judo – action, reaction, breaking of balance, momentum – and shares many of the same techniques – seoinage, leg and foot sweeps… Although player health and safety at tournaments does need to be looked. The lack of a safety area outside the raised contest area is a concern that should be addressed.

Current idols of the sport include the Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho (who is likely to play some part in the Olympic opening ceremony) and up and coming stars such such as Enho, Wakatakakage, and Tobizaru.

One of the greatest stars of the sport was the late yokozuna Chiyonofuji, thankfully no one now approaches the size of the giant Hawaiian, Konishiki!

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