Sumo Practice Details

Sumo is a traditional martial art deeply rooted in Japanese culture, and its appeal is widely recognized by many. However, the aesthetics and techniques of sumo are nurtured not only by a momentary contest on the ring, but also by rigorous practice and training. In this article, we will step into the world of sumo and explore the training process and the series of steps involved, from the basics to the match.

Powerful strikes, skillful application of techniques, and mental discipline in the ring. Sumo is a sport that is only possible when all of these elements are combined. Sumo training is the foundation of the sport and a place where rikishi train and grow day by day.

This article explains in detail how sumo training is conducted and how rikishi grow and develop. Let us open the door to the world of sumo by shedding light on the process leading up to the moment when the rikishi fight in the ring.

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Basic practice

・SHIKO (sumo stomp)

The most famous part of rikishi training is the sumo stomp, in which the wrestlers step down alternately on each side of their legs to develop their strong legs and backs. In reality, it is like squatting on one leg. It looks easy but it is a very hard practice.

・Suriashi (sliding foot)

Suriashi is the practice of moving one's feet as if to do so, without taking one's feet off the ring. The purpose is to keep one's sides tight and to be able to move in a low posture.

・Matawari Preventing Injuries with the Inch Split

Matawari is a training exercise performed to prevent injury. It is an exercise in which the rikishi, from a seated position, spreads his left and right legs apart and puts his chest to the ground. It is the hardest exercise for new rikishi.


The practice is to prod your body against a wooden post. The key is to thrust with the arms and legs moving in the same direction while keeping the sides tight and the hips firmly planted. For rikishi who specialize in thrusting and pushing sumo, practicing teppo is very important training

Practical Exercises


"Moshiai" is a practice session in which rikishi compete against each other for power. Rikishi engage in a bout, and the winner picks his next opponent. The winning rikishi picks his opponent one after another for the match.

In essence, the winning rikishi practices a series of matches. The important thing is that the winning rikishi, not the losing rikishi, moves on. Each time a rikishi wins, hard training continues and his ability improves. Conversely, if a rikishi loses, he cannot advance, so winning is important. Winning builds physical and mental strength.

・ButsukariKeiko (Battling Practice)

"Butsukari-Keiko" is one of the training methods of sumo. This is a practice in which two rikishi are divided into an attacker and a receiver, and the focus is on the rikishi bumping into each other. The "ukete"(Someone who accepts the other person's push)

 who is attacked by a powerful opponent, stays firmly low and holds his arms outstretched. On the other hand, the attacker attempts to attack by pushing from the side toward the opponent.

In this practice, if the attacker fails to push the opponent, the attacker is held by the head and finally rolled over and over. Usually, the "ukete" is performed by a strong rikishi, but there are also rikishi who specialize only in "ukete". When a rikishi of a lower rank is the "ukete", it is also used to loosen up the rikishi's body.

ButsukariKeiko is the final part of training, and helps the attacker develop a strong strike and quick feet, and the rikishi strengthen his legs and hips. This practice takes place after "samban-geiko" or "Moshiai", and is an important exercise to improve sumo technique and physical fitness. It also helps prevent injuries


Sanban-geiko is a practice in which rikishi of similar ability engage in a series of matches. The word "samban" here means a large number of matches, and in practice, rikishi practice 10, 20, 30, and so on. In other words, rikishi practice many practice matches with their opponents in order to improve each other's skills.In the sumo stable where I was, this practice was not done

・What to do at the end of practice

When the practical practice is over, all sumo wrestlers perform the Shiko and pray at the kamidana (altar) in the practice hall to conclude the practice


While the content of practice varies from stable to stable, the basic content of practice is almost the same. Through this rigorous practice, wrestlers improve their physical strength, muscular power, flexibility, and sumo technique.

Daily practice begins early in the morning. During morning practice, rikishi hone their tactics and fighting style through basic movements, posture, and actual combat with opponents. They also practice their techniques and undergo special training to develop their physical strength. Then basic sumo techniques are practiced.

In addition to sumo training, wrestlers also devote time to eating, sleeping, and Sumo culture and etiquette. Sumo rooms are strictly regulated under the supervision of a master, and wrestlers work together to master the art of sumo.

Sumo is a traditional Japanese sport, and through its rigorous training, wrestlers train both physically and mentally to achieve success in the world of sumo.

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