Sumo rules

Here is a brief explanation of the rules of sumo. The rules of sumo are basically simple, but there are some actions that are considered infractions that are surprisingly unknown in the sumo world, which values tradition and dignity. This section introduces the basic rules of sumo and the actions that are considered infractions. The etiquette on the ring will be introduced in another article

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Basic Rules of Sumo

・If your body makes contact with the outside of the Dohyou(ring), you lose!

A rikishi(sumo wrestler) loses if any part of his body, including his feet, leaves the ring before his opponent. For example, if a rikishi is pushed into the ring and knocked down, he wins if any part of his body, including his legs or shoulders, leaves the ring first.
For this reason, dynamic moves such as diving under the ring are often seen in an attempt to get the opposing rikishi to contact the outside of the ring first. This is one of the highlights of sumo and an interesting scene to watch.

・If any part of your body other than the sole of your foot makes contact in the Dohyou(ring), you lose!

If any part of your body, other than the soles of your feet, touches the Dohyou(ring), you lose.

Wrestlers often eat chicken the day before a match, meaning that their hands do not touch the ground!

Foul play and you lose

Sumo infractions include the following

・Grab the Mage(topknot)

・hit with a fist

・Slap the opponent with both hands

・Fold one's fingers back

・Attacking vulnerable areas such as the eyes and temples

・Knee kick (chest, stomach, etc.)

・Grab the throat, poke

・Intentionally grip the front pouch of the mawashi (the part that hides the vital point)

When I was a rikishi, I never lost by foul play. It is rare to lose by foul play in sumo, and only occasionally do you lose by grabbing your opponent's topknot.

This section explains "mizuiri" and "monoii" in the rules of sumo


When a bout lasts more than three minutes, the gyoji calls for a pause called 'Mizuiri'. After 'Mizuiri', the rikishi resume the bout from the same position they were in immediately before 'Mizuiri'. After 'Mizuiri', the bout resumes from the same position and with the same limbs as before.


A monoii is an opinion that a gyoji's judgment is incorrect.

Not only the judges, but also the rikishi waiting in the wings can make a statement.
Five judges sit in the Dohyou(ring), and at least one rikishi from each side sits in reserve.

When a rikishi wishes to speak, he raises his hand, and then the judges and gyoji confer on the ring.
The gyoji may participate in the discussion, but has no authority to make a decision.

When I was a rikishi, there were times when I thought I had lost due to a 'Monoii' and there were also times when I thought I had won but ended up losing.

This article is based on my experiences as a sumo wrestler. If there are any errors in the English language, please let me know

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