Sumo Training at Otake-beya 大嶽部屋

I am not a Sumo specialist and have visited only a few tournaments. But as I had the chance to visit one of the stables I went out of curiosity. What is the daily life of a Sumo wrestler all about ?

I was able to get a first impression thanks to the German East Asia Society (OAG),who organised a visit to a morning training session. Our group was attending a roughly one hour training at the Otake stable. This stable is just one out of currently 43 and went through some rough times in the last years due to changes in ownership. Presently the star of the stable is Oosunaarashi (大砂嵐) who is playing in the highest rank. He is also the the first wrestler from the Middle East (Egypt), but he did not attend the training. We entered a normal apartment house, which had on the ground floor level the indoor square training ground, which was not bigger than 10×10 m. The training started sharp at 9.00. To my observation the focus was primarily physical exercise. The wrestlers were constantly in the ring, for some time focusing on one of them who would have to fight off his colleagues one after the other until he himself was defeated. The never followed the ritual you observe during each bout in a tournament.The coach observed, but rarely gave technical advice. Watching so closely one could  differentiate between the age, strength, muscular buildup and spirit of each of the wrestlers. Easy to tell but hard to say, some of them will never make it to the top. A more promising wrester remained on the sidelines for most of the time and joined for the last 15 minutes. Once he entered you could see the apparent difference in class, he was playing with his partners. The atmosphere was concentrated, no laughter or talk, obeying and not discussing the advice given by the coach. No showing off or putting oneself in the front, to the contrary always supportive to the other wrestlers. The training finished with a joint walking around the ring, a short gathering  and some words of the most junior of them. But let the pictures speak for themselves…

A friend of the stable of around 60 year of age had  joined for the last minutes and for the amusement of the wrestlers and of course us spectators. The last picture shows that he was trying to use some unusual techniques…. (the complete  gallery under japan-sumo training).


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