Amateur sumo is a well organized, immensely enjoyable form of grappling which has been gaining popularity around the world. While an amateur sumo contest is definitely a very serious sporting event, sumo practice session can be a lot of fun for those who enjoy the grappling sports.
The rules for sumo are simple. Two contestants, wearing only grippable body wraps ("mawashi"), use various strategies and techniques - some of which are surprisingly subtle - to upset each other's balance. A victory occurs when one of the two opponents touches the playing floor with any part of the body other than the soles of his or her feet, or if one of the contestants is forced outside a playing ring which is 15 ft wide (i.e., the "dohyo").
Punching, gouging, and kicking are prohibited. Pushing, pulling, body slapping, tripping, and throwing techniques are allowed. The "mawashi" (sumo belt) may be grabbed anywhere around the waist, but not in the groin area. Hair-pulling is also banned. Most victories are achieved with about a dozen of the 82 recognized kimarite (winning techniques).
Not Just For Giants! - Strength, speed, & skill are absolutely necessary for success in amateur sumo, but you do not have to be a super heavyweight to enjoy the sport, or to compete successfully in sumo matches! Skill, experience, and superior technique can often trump sheer size and strength in a match. You must be strong enough to make your techniques work, but you do not need to be as strong as all of your opponents in order to win!