Established in 1998, USA Sumo is dedicated to:
- Teaching sumo techniques and tradition to men and women of all sizes, ages, and backgrounds
- Training world class sumo athletes who compete internationally
- Educating the public about traditional Japanese sumo, and about international amateur sumo
- Promoting the sport of sumo through demonstrations, tournaments, and other events
- Supporting international efforts to make sumo an Olympic sport
In 1997, Andrew Freund, who learned about sumo while working in Japan in the early 90s, began training in sumo after seeing a sumo demonstration. In 1998, he began offering practices, and in 2000, we brought two-time World Sumo Champion Svetoslav Binev of Bulgaria, who began coaching the weekly classes. In 2006, the eventual four-time World Sumo Champion Byambajav Ulambayar of Mongolia was also welcomed into our group. Then, in 2014, two-time World Sumo Champion “Yama” (former Yamamotoyama) also joined our regular practice group in Los Angeles.
Our hallmark competition, the US Sumo Open is the largest annual sumo tournament in the world outside of Japan. Since 2001, over 500 elite sumo wrestlers, including numerous past and present World Sumo Champions, have competed. We have also had a dozen Pro Sumo stars participate as special guests, officials, coaches, and even as competitors. Since 2001, there have been 1,886 action-packed matches . . . We expect to exceed 2,000 matches by 2020!
Paralleling the development of an elite, established, sumo competition, we have also brought sumo into the entertainment limelight, with our featured sumo stars appearing on hundreds of TV shows, commercials, and films. We worked extensively on major motion pictures like “Memoirs of a Geisha”, “Oceans 13”, “47 Ronin”, “Zoolander 2”, “John Wick: Chapter 2”, and “Sushi Tushi”, where our sumo Talent were featured, and we coordinated stunts, set construction, wardrobe, props, and much more for multiple sumo scenes. Our group has also appeared on many international documentaries on National Geographic, Discovery, MTV, and many more. Among dozens of TV shows we have starred on, a team of our best sumo wrestlers was featured on “America’s Got Talent” in 2010. We were special guests on the “The Bachelorette” in 2015, and made appearances on “To Tell the Truth” (2017), The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2017), and many more major network programs, as well as series with celebrities like Kevin Hart, Conan O’Brien, Usher, and more.
We continue to work with Japanese professional sumo (“Grand Sumo”) in various capacities. We collaborated on major pro sumo exhibition tournaments like Grand Sumo Las Vegas and Grand Sumo Los Angeles. We also have frequent interaction with pro sumo teams and selected sumo stars, for special events and appearances.
Our sumo demonstrations and lectures are held nationwide and even overseas. World Champion sumo wrestlers and other elite sumo champions not only entertain, but also educate folks everywhere about sumo techniques, training, and sumo culture.
One of our most prolific event series is the 130+ live Sumo Sushi Shows, since 2012, all over the country. These sold-out shows with World Champions have created a sumo buzz from coast to coast.
We are committed to continuing sumo’s growth in the U.S., while promoting every aspect of sumo’s unique appeal — from competition to ritual, education to entertainment, and much more.