With a rich history that goes well beyond its superficial appearance, sumo wrestling has a special place in the hearts of the Japanese.
There are no weight classifications or limits in contemporary sumo, therefore the ‘rikishi’ (sumo wrestlers) acquire weight to gain an edge in the ring.
Travelers who are fortunate enough to see sumo wrestlers in action from their training to the ring will learn a lot about the sport’s history and traditions. This is also one of the reasons why it gained popularity overseas. After Bitcasino-io and Baruto have teamed up, sumo wrestling became more popular even in the online casino betting scene.
A brief history of sumo wrestling in Japan
The Japanese folk religion, Shinto, has been incorporated into Sumo from its inception more than a millennium ago. Sumo used to be a religious rite in ancient Japan as a way of praying to the gods for bountiful crops.
Sumo tournaments were organized to raise money for shrines and temples during the Edo era (1603–1868). From elites to the masses, sumo wrestling became more commercialized, and professional sumo wrestlers were born in the process.
It’s still a common practice for wrestlers to clap their hands to draw the gods’ attention, throw salt to satisfy them, and stamp their feet in an attempt to ward off bad spirits.
Forbidden rules in sumo wrestling
There are several ways to win in sumo. This includes pushing your opponent out of the ring or grabbing their belt and forcing them out of the ring. If you want to grip the ‘mawashi’ (sumo belt), you may do it anywhere on your waist except in the crotch region.
Here are more forbidden rules in sumo wrestling:
- Punching: While thrusting with an open hand is permitted, punching is strictly forbidden.
- You can use your legs to trip someone, but you can’t kick at them.
- It’s alright to grip the belt around the waist, but not in the groin or the behind.
- Hair-pulling is not allowed.
- A 90-degree slap is considered Hari-te (extreme) and is not permitted.
- You can push at the throat, but you cannot choke your opponent using your arm
- With a firm grasp on your opponent’s belt, you are not allowed to crush him from above, resulting in his lower back being injured.
Top sumo wrestlers of all time
There are a lot of great sumo wrestlers in history, and there are more than you might initially think. Here are the best sumo wrestlers of all time:
In the Mongolian People’s Republic, Hakuhō Shō competed as a sumo wrestler. Known for being one of the best sumo wrestlers of all time, he is agile for his size. In terms of yokozuna’s tenure, he’s the longest-serving (14 years).
Originally from Shikuka, Karafuto, Japan’s Empire of Japan, Taiho Kiki became a professional sumo wrestler. When he first entered the sport in 1956, he was already the sport’s 48th yokozuna, a title he held until his retirement in 1971.
Baruto, a former rikishi with a Judo background, was born in Kaido Höövelson. As a teenager, he won an Estonian Judo championship. At the highest point of his Sumo career, he ranked Ozeki, with a record of 431-213-102. Due to persisting ailments, he had to retire from sumo in 2013.
Sumo wrestling is extremely entertaining, especially after Bitcasino-io and Baruto have teamed up. Now that you know a lot about sumo wrestling, it’s now time to watch the best matches that will be coming your way.