Thursday, November 5, 2009

Lets Try Sumo

Short note: Pictures were taken with Hong Yao's Nikon D5000.
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That was what written on the pamphlet of the event we attended on Halloween over the last weekend.
Held at Toyano Sogo Gymnasium (鳥屋野総合体育館)in Niigata, it is an event organised by Niigata City International Exchange Association and Niigata City Sumo Federation. We attended a similar event last year, but it was kendo and karate back then.
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Passed by Tohoku Denryoku Big Swan Stadium, which hosted three matches during the 2002 World Cup, including the match between Denmark and England.

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The venue of the sumo event.
Sumo is a competitive contact sport where a wrestler (rikishi) attempts to force another wrestler out of a circular ring (dohyō) or to touch the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet. The sport originated in Japan, the only country where it is practiced professionally. (taken from Wikipedia).
It is a sport in which the winner is determined in just a few seconds, despite the long-hours of preparation prior to the competition.
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The circular ring or more commonly known as dohyo.
Our initial thought of this event is that we would be shown the demonstration of the sumo wrestling by the wrestler and perhaps given the chance to try a few simple moves in sumo wrestling. But we never thought that we would be allowed to enter the ring and join the other wrestlers as well. Everyone had second thoughts when one of the staffs asked who would like to wear the mawashi, which is the belt that the sumo wrestlers wear during training or competition. Who won't feel shy, to expose your butt and wrap your bottom half of with just a long piece of white cloth that is less than half feet wide.
Imagine the embarrassment if it is not worn properly and the mawashi drops halfway in the ring haha. Free tiger show-lah, what else.
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Had one of the staff to wear the mawashi on me.
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Sumo-wrestler wannabe haha.
The first thing was the warming-up session. In the beginning, we just did the normal stretches like we always do before playing any sports. But after a while, they made us to do several moves which is only done by the sumo wrestlers. I would say this is one of the most difficult and tiring session of the whole day.
It was that demanding that I told my Vietnamese junior, "I think we did a big mistake by stripping and get ourselves into this ring haha".
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Moving the arms back and forth; very simple but not until...
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This is one of the most difficult moves, where we need to stretch our arms straight and without any bends.

You see, I have a pair of long arms that even a chimpanzee would be proud of.
That made it almost impossible for me to make sure both of my arms are put into a straight position, no matter how hard I tried. Although one of the staff helped me to make my arms straight, they were still not perfectly straight. Blame it on my non-proportional body measurement. The next one was just the same case; this time it was my long legs lol.
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We gotta lift our legs as high as possible.
Next up, we learn how to walk like a monkey. My juniors didn't walk like a monkey; he did a robotic walk haha.
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This is the right way to do it.
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Please do not try this at home.
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People asked us to make sumo moves, but I
kung fu-ed in the ring instead haha.
After spending more time laughing on every one's weird moves than making sure we did the right moves, we were taught how to push an opponent from the ring. This is one of the basic moves in sumo wrestling that will determine the winner in a competition.
First was the demonstration by the two wrestlers.
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Again, I asked my junior, "Are we really gonna do this?"

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Two little kids went to show us another last time before it was our turn.
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If the little kids can do it, it shouldn't be a problem for young adults like us, we thought.
My Vietnamese junior and me was the lucky (or should I say the unlucky duo haha) to be the first two person to try it. Good thing that my opponent was a smaller size wrestler and my poor junior got the giant size sumo wrestler haha.
So, I closed my eyes and hope that I will still be in one piece when I opened my eyes.
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Two orang utans trying to do the impossible mission - pushing two sumo wrestlers out from the ring.
Wondering what the outcome was?
I shall save the details here haha. Okay-lah, both of us successfully pushed our opponents out from the ring. I am unsure if this is something to be proud of, because I got the feeling our opponents pressed the gostan gear while we were pushing them haha.
Before we took a break, we were made to do the pushing practice without an opponent.
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We made the wooden wall as our opponent and made similar pushing moves continuously.
Everyone was exhausted by that time and we were given a break. But it was only a ten minute break and we were begging them for longer time haha. Trust me, those warming-up sessions and practising the moves might look simple, but you will know how tiring it could get once you tried it yourself.
Perhaps I am just finding excuse to cover my poor stamina recently haha.
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Three Niigata prefecture's champions of their respective categories - Primary Six, Five and Four. All three will be representing the Tohoku region in the national championship.
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The one on the left is the country's top thirty, while the one on the left is the country's top sixteen in the last national championship.
After a few demonstrations by the kids, it was time for us to get into real business.
We skipped the normal rituals, derived from Shinto practice that are performed during competition this time. Instead, we were shown the basic customs before a competition. First, both of the wrestlers will step into the ring, squat facing each other, clap their hands, then spread them wide (traditionally to show they have no weapons).
Then, the wrestlers crouch down at the shikiri-sen, or starting lines, each trying to stare the other down. When both wrestlers place both fists on the ground on or behind the shikiri-sen, they spring from their crouch for the tachi-ai (the initial charge). The important point is to get on above your opponent, hence that will make the opponent to loose his balance. Placing your head on the opponent's chest is also one way to add extra force onto the opponent.
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「何も持ってないよ」 ("I have nothing with me").
Next up was a South Korean, which gave me quite some fight.
In the end, both of us fell outside the ring but I won that round because he touched the ground first. I thought I had lost until the referee declare I am the winner haha.
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In terms of size, he is not a match for me, but sumo wrestling is not only about body sizes.
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Almost there...
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Next opponent was my junior. He later told me, "You are heavy also huh" lol!

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Defending is the word for this round against Wei Shen in the third round.
After two rounds, I was quite exhausted already. But until I lose a match, I will remain in the ring. My next opponent was Wei Shen and I was only defending the whole round because I ran out of energy already. So, it wasn't a surprise that he rolled me out from the ring haha.
However, guess who was his next opponent?
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Who wanna bet the winner for this round?
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That sumo wrestler didn't move at all no matter how hard Wei Shen pushed him lol!
After we got to try competing with each other, the tiredness from the warming-up session was forgotten completely. It was really interesting and I am glad we decided to give it a go even though we had to wear baby-like diapers while in the ring haha.
As a finale, the two wrestler gave us an exhibition match and it was my first time seeing a sumo competition live. Both of them graduated from Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology and Nippon Sports Science University.
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On your mark.
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Almost thrown out, but not quite.
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Grabbing the
mawashi of your opponent is one strategy to make your opponent loses his balance.
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Both could still take a rest while competing haha.
The excitement of seeing two wrestlers competing from near was just too thrilling for me to describe them with words. It is like you could feel the energy and force from both of the wrestlers while they were competing. Although it was just a friendly match, but it was still a cool experience.
When we thought we would be allowed to clean ourselves, they made us to warm-down first. Again, we went through the same processes earlier in the day. Luckily, it was a shorter one.
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We were tired already, that we did it in cincai way only haha.
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Everyone gathered in the middle of the ring to compete the ritual to mark the end of the session.
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Cleaning the ring before we clean our body.
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Lastly but not least, a group picture together.
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Juices for everyone during the refreshment session.
A short and simple get-to-know session was held after that. Basically, it was more to a question-and-answer session and we were free to ask any questions regarding sumo wrestling. I asked the three kids how long they have been involved in this sport and according to them, they started indulging into sumo wrestling since they were three or four years old.
That is like learning how to wrestle when you just started learning how to walk.
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Trophies cabinet at the venue.
That sums up another interesting trip for the international students of Nagaoka Kosen.

30 comments:

nobita said...

why does everyone there seem to have manboobs? including a person that looked skinny like you!manboobs here manboobs there , manboobs everywhere~

sakura said...

cool post~ u get to try sumo somemore.. wonder if there's lady-sumo :p

Anonymous said...

hahahaha nobita u shud know that guys can have man booobs eventhough their skinny

kae vin said...

cool! you should wear like them without the shorts :P

and yeah your body proportion is definitely out!

and nice experience by the way! :)

=chuan guan= said...

nice..i like this...u should start train to be pro..u might became 1st malaysian sumo 1 day.. ;)

calvin said...

@ nobita:
i am sure your doraemon has boobs too, right? xD

calvin said...

@ sakura:
i doubt so. even if there is lady-sumo, i will be the first one to get a ticket to watch it =P

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
yea, we won't call ourselves mammals if we do not have boobs.

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
you ham sap-lah. want people to strip until like that haha =P

someone is calling the kettle black eh? xD

calvin said...

@ =chuan guan=:
haha, i prefer to do other kinds of job.
being tall is mafan enough for me already; what's more if i am too heavy. that is double-trouble >.<

KOKahKOK said...

calvin, you should take off your short! is not hamsap is call "truly" experience!

It should be nicer than you wear it. you know why? cos you have the "requirement" that a sumo player should have.

furthermore, you no need to on diet.. keep going and eat MORE! build up your tummy... not enuf for sumo! once you have i will fight with you ... i promised!!!

calvin said...

@ kokahkok:
okay, the next time i see you in thaipusam procession, i hope to see you carrying a kavadi, alright? must strip yourself until half-naked and poke your body with those sharp steel, okay? you will only get the 'true' experience by doing that, right?

as for me, i will settle with throwing coconuts only, i think haha =P

asked me to eat more? how about yourself? you should do the same too, since we are gonna have a round of sumo wrestling, if the is a chance xD

kh said...

yer ...

calvin said...

@ kh:
what? jealous is it now?

Candlelyn said...

Wow~wonderful experience u had!

calvin said...

@ candlelyn:
yea, we had a great time there xD

Anonymous said...

would u have taken ur pants too ? or u didnt take of bcoz they ask u not too? or bcoz shy?

fufu said...

wow...nice!! i blame myself for not trying sumo when i was studying in japan >< anyway i am not that strong though... you have potential... keep it up

Reenybob said...

OMG HAHAHAAHAHAAHHA your poses remind me of constipation lol~! hhaa nic eentry anw. oh btw, i was in narita for 2 days, near your cheeba(i) uni that you going to soon :P

calvin said...

@ anonymous:
i think i would, if i have another chance haha!
they gave us a choice, whether to take off our pants or not. nobody did, and of course i wouldn't want to be the black sheep by being the only one wearing the mawashi lol!

to be honest, it was a bit embarrassing-lah xD

calvin said...

@ fufu:
maybe you can try when you visit japan in the future ;)

you mean i have potential to be a sumo wrestler? haha, i'd take that as a compliment, but i don't think i'm gonna be one of them lol!

calvin said...

@ reenybob:
what wor? you always find chances to laugh at me one-lor =.=||

but hey, imagine sheepie doing this. the moment he attacked his opponent, he would just go "baaaaa~~" and the opponent will surely get super shocked and run out of the ring haha!

waiting for updates from your takayama trip!

fufu said...

hahahaha... yeah you really gotta consider about it... if you real wanna be a sumo wrestler... your cincin will become smaller and smaller... lol i say too much?? =p

calvin said...

@ fufu:
haha, baka-lah you!
it will not get smaller, it will only look smaller. they call it optical illusion =P

kae vin said...

eh I admit I am short but my body proportion is good k? =.=

ahKOK said...

fufu, calvin-san cincin nisemono!

ahKOK said...

fufu, calvin-san cincin nisemono!

calvin said...

@ kae vin:
eh, i am not saying you're short hor.
anyway, your body proportion is still within the acceptable range xD

calvin said...

@ kokahkok:
talking as if you have seen it before =.=||
the last time i checked it, my cincin is a genuine one ;)

Anonymous said...

I would like to exchange links with your site calvin-myjourney.blogspot.com
Is this possible?