I have never been interested in combat sports. While I grasp the simplicity and universal appeal of these sports, I just do not enjoy watching people trying to hurt each other. Sumo wrestling falls under the category of combat sports, although it differs significantly from other combat sports due to its unique rules and focus. Unlike other combat sports, such as judo, the primary aim of sumo wrestling is not to harm the opponent. The sport is deeply steeped in tradition and history, dating back to as early as the year 712. Sumo wrestling has undergone very few changes over the past centuries, maintaining its age-old essence. Wrestlers in the top two divisions must compete for 15 consecutive days, making it a challenging and intense sport. Nevertheless, sumo wrestling is not without its criticisms, particularly when it comes to injuries and the harsh rankings system. These issues have resulted in the unfortunate endings and premature halting of careers for many wrestlers.
Despite the language barrier, sumo wrestling still captures the hearts of international fans due to its simplicity and uncomplicated scoring system. The global community of sumo wrestling enthusiasts continues to grow, thanks to technology. While access to sumo wrestling broadcasts is limited, international fans can rely on platforms such as YouTube to catch the tournaments. In Japan, viewers have the luxury of watching matches with English commentary, further boosting the sport’s popularity.
Current English commentator Murray Johnson has played a significant role in bridging the gap for English-speaking fans. As a relatively new fan, I have closely witnessed the rising interest in sumo wrestling in the international community. The sport’s history and the complexities of its culture offer a multitude of aspects to be appreciated by fans. Community engagement through social media platforms has made following and discussing the sport an even more enriching experience.
So while sumo wrestling is not just a combative sport, it possesses all the qualities that can attract any combat sports enthusiast. The strength, skill, and strategic thinking displayed by wrestlers appeal to all types of fans. And once you get past the limitations of access, there is something quite addictive about sumo wrestling that keeps fans coming back for more.