Sumo Wrestling from the Far East ......................... of Yorkshire ...... ?


Wednesday 14th March - Final Junior Points Night Carlisle Wrestling Club
Wednesday 21st March - Final Senior Points Night, Carlisle Wrestling Club

Sumo wrestling from Japan may seem to have little connection with our own Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling, though some of our old heavyweights would have needed little extra rice to reach fighting trim.
One of Grasmere Sports less tasteful ventures along the paths of "appealing to a wider audience" saw them hire giant inflatable Sumo wrestlers to do battle while in a nearby ring centuries of home-grown wrestling tradition and skill were on display.
An earlier and more tasteful connection came decades ago when The Atomic Energy people at Sellafield, imported a delegation of Japanese visitors when they first made commercial contact with Japan. Included in this "Cultural Exchange" were some Sumo wrestlers, and an encounter with our wrestlers was set up. There was to be no actual wrestling between the two groups, and what transpired was that Tom Harrington and Alan Jones undertook to put on a wrestling demonstration for the visitors.
The venue was Tullie House on borrowed Judo mats, in front of dignitaries and visitors. Tom and Alan put on such a good, action packed demonstration, that one of the Sumo wrestlers responded by showing us some of his training techniques, apparently a rare and generous privilege. I remember the fluidity and grace of this twenty stone man as he exercised in slow motion, lifting one foot shoulder high and then the other, and ending in a sideways splits. He had no defined muscle, but his body glowed with smooth power.

This summer we may see Sumo wrestlers in action in our rings. An enquiry came to me recently from the far East….of Yorkshire, Doncaster to be precise:
'Hello, I have a team of Sumo Wrestlers in Doncaster, South Yorkshire and we would like to come and learn / participate in wrestling. Any help on how we can do this would be great.'

To this I replied:

'Why not pick a busy week-end and come with tents to the area and attend two or three events? Entry is "Open to the world" so no fees are involved. The wrestling style is very basic, and anyone with skills in other wrestling styles or martial arts should be able to make a reasonable attempt at it. I notice that in Sumo wrestling it is possible to throw a man down within the ring and win the bout without pushing him out of the wrestling area. That wrestling within the ring is very similar to our style.
'If you make contact at an event, you would be made very welcome and given coaching advice, and further details of the sport.'

Watch this space.

Some of our own wrestlers are going abroad with their sport this week. A party of fifteen is due to attend the "Championnat de Bretagne de BACK-HOLD" to be hosted by the Breton Club at Guipavas near Brest.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (2012)

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