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SUMO: Sumo Stan!

It’s nearly time for the Natsu Basho [Summer Grand Sumo Tournament] to begin, but before I get to tales of the best sumotori in the world . . . let me tell you a little bit about one of the worst. 


Y’see, a few weeks ago I attended an event called “Sumo + Sushi” here in Seattle. This is a traveling show put on in conjunction with Sumo USA (the national amateur sumo association). I was sure what it would be like. After all, I’m used to seeing the “real thing” . . . that is, the only other times I’ve been to see sumo live, it has been to witness the best professionals. And although the combatants in the Sumo + Sushi were listed as world champion amateurs, I didn’t know what the difference in skill level would be. 

I shouldn’t have worried. While the three rikishi at the show—Yama, Ramy, and Byamba—might not have what it takes to make it in the Makuuchi division now, they all had professional experience, Byamba won a Jonokuchi yusho early in his career, and Yama is the record-holding heaviest Japanese person ever . . . and their sumo skills were commensurate, meaning that they gave each other very competitive bouts. 

The show was great (they had a double round robin competition that was a joy to watch), the sushi was adequate, but the BEST part was afterward. You see, I paid for the premium ticket that let me sit in the front row and have a photo-op with the sumotori. But even better, my high-end ticket let me get into the dohyo and FACE one! That’s right, I got my sumo on!

Let me tell you, there was some serious time dilation going on. This first match FELT much longer than it actually is. All I really wanted was to find out what it actually feels like grab and tug on a mawashi [belt] . . . THAT was my goal. As you’ll see, Byamba had other plans.

Posted by Shana T Bryant on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I only paid for one try, but Byamba was super gracious and allowed me a second go. Actually, I don’t think he MEANT to knock me down in that first match . . . I was just too klutzy to keep my feet when being shoved around by 350-pounds of muscle. Seriously, Byama has only 11% body fat . . . the rest of that is solid muscle. Doing the tachi-ai [initial charge] felt like running into a brick wall that shoved back.

Posted by Shana T Bryant on Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Oh yes … he DID let me win. I was totally ready (and expecting) to get rolled again, but Byamba let me put on a show for the crowd. Super nice guy. Reminds me a lot of a Mongolian Ben Grimm.

Let me tell you, I had the time of my life at Sumo + Sushi, and I’d 100% recommend getting tickets to the show if they ever come to your town. The apparently come to Seattle every spring, and I’m already planning on going back. And if finances are good, I’ll even pay to get thrown around in the ring again!

Meanwhile, if you’re going to be in the L.A area on June 17th, the Sumo U.S. Open will be taking place in Long Beach . . . and I’m pretty sure that Byamba, Ramy, and Yama will all be there competing. 

One Comment

  1. James Thomas wrote:

    I loved this. Looks like you are having a wonderful time Stan!

    Saturday, May 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

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