RULES & TECHNIQUES

RULES

In both pro sumo and international sumo, the rules are very simple: either force your opponent out of the 15-foot diameter “dohyo” (sumo ring) or make your opponent touch the ground with any part of the body other than the soles of the feet.

Punching, gouging, and kicking are prohibited, but slapping and tripping are allowed. It is legal to grab the “mawashi” (sumo belt) anywhere around the waist, but not in the groin area. Hair-pulling is also banned.

Pro sumo currently recognizes 82 “kimarite” (winning techniques), but most victories are achieved with the most popular dozen or so kimarite.

Sumo wrestlers often rely on strength and speed to push an opponent out quickly, or use balance and technique to flip, trip, or maneuver the opponent to the ground. Techniques are very important in sumo, since technical expertise enables experienced sumo wrestlers to defeat opponents who are larger, stronger, or faster

TECHNIQUES

Pro sumo currently recognizes 82 “kimarite” (winning techniques), divided into pushing/thrusting, throws, and other general techniques. Almost all victories, however, are achieved by the most popular dozen or so kimarite. Techniques are very important in sumo, since technical expertise enables experienced sumo wrestlers to defeat opponents who are larger, stronger, or faster. Here are just some examples of common winning techniques.

Sumo Winning TechniquesYORI-KIRI (front force-out)
Get a grip on your opponent and push him straight out of the ring. It’s critical to lock up tightly with your opponent to control him as you push.
Sumo Winning TechniquesOSHI-DASHI (push-out)
Smash into your opponent, to knock him out of the ring. Don’t let your opponent grab your belt, as you keep him off balance and force him out.
Sumo Winning TechniquesUWATE-NAGE (outside-belt throw)
Get an outside grip on the belt, and flip your opponent down, as you pivot your hips.
Sumo Winning TechniquesTSURI-DASHI (lift-out)
Using your opponent’s belt, lift him in the air and take him out of the ring.
Sumo Winning TechniquesHIKI-OTOSHI (hand pull down)
As the opponent charges toward you, grab his arm and pull him to the ground. This is a common way to stop a charge.
Sumo Winning TechniquesSOTO-GAKE (outside leg trip)
Wrap your leg around your opponent’s, and trip him so he falls.
Sumo Winning TechniquesSUSO-HARAI (rear footsweep)
Sweep the back of your opponent’s leg to knock him off-balance.
Sumo Winning TechniquesOKURI-DASHI (rear push out)
Maneuver behind your opponent, and push him out of the ring.
Sumo Winning TechniquesTSUKI-DASHI (frontal thrust out)
Force your opponent backwards and out of the ring with thrusts and slaps.
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