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How to Win at Sumo Wrestling

Last Updated: 16.05.22


Being good at a sport starts with the quality of the equipment that one is using. So, you should take some time and analyze this selection of wrestling shoes by Nike that we have prepared for you. In this article, we have decided to talk to you about strategies that can help you win at Sumo wrestling.


The object of the sport

As you probably already know, Sumo wrestling is the national sport in Japan and it is considered one of the most distinctive types of wrestling in the world. According to historians, the first to practice it were not specialized athletes, but samurai without a master (ronin). Because they had no master, they used to participate in wrestling competitions as a way to be provided with a source of money.

Although Sumo is described as a form of martial arts, numerous specialists argue that it should be considered a sport. No matter the definition that one chooses, it is evident that Sumo is still deeply rooted in the Shinto religion, as it still incorporates numerous rituals and traditions associated with it.

The main objective of a Sumo wrestler is to force one’s opponent outside of the ring. Although it might sound simple, doing so involves the use of various complex techniques that you can also incorporate into your practice.

Main techniques

It is generally believed that the key to winning a sumo match is to either force one’s opponent out of the ring or to make him touch the ground with any part of his body, except the soles of his feet.

As the rulebook shows, there are no less than 70 legal moves that you can use to do so. You can grapple, bulldoze or even throw your competitor out of the ring. One of the most effective things that you can do involves using your opponent’s mawashi. The mawashi is actually the wrestler clothing garment. Although this might sound easy, you have to remember that he will certainly try to do the same thing.

It all becomes rather difficult if your competitor weighs 300 lbs. and is more powerful than you are. This is a big problem as Sumo wrestling is not a sport where there are specific weight categories.

There are also other legal moves such as shoving, head-butting and even slapping. However, you should remember that other moves such as pulling your opponent’s hair or striking him with a closed fist or grabbing him by the crotch is not legal. Using either of these techniques will surely determine the referee to eliminate you from the competition.



Depending on your weight, you can also try to defeat your opponent by using brute force. However, this is only indicated if you are rather heavy and you are sure that you have the necessary power to do so efficiently.

If you are not necessarily heavy, it is advisable that you use moves that are similar to those utilized in judo. This way, you will be able to use the weight and the speed of your opponent against him. This is the way to go especially if you have some basic judo training. If not, it might help to get some training with the help of an instructor.

If the first two strategies seem unfit for you, you can always think about adopting the third alternative. That is, using strategy alone to get the job done. Although this last method might seem the easiest, many argue that it is only suitable for those wrestlers that are highly skilled.


Accepted movements

In short, there are five basic movements that are considered legal when Sumo wrestling. So, be sure that you master them before you start competing in tournaments.

Pushing is widely regarded as a fundamental action in Sumo. Once you push the opponent, it is advisable that you stay low and that you remain in a compact position as you smash your way forward.

Similar to pushing, thrusting is another move that experienced wrestlers use. To be efficient, an attack should be made up of numerous repeated thrusts so that the adversary does not get the necessary time to recover.

Using throws is also something that you can do. After the initial push, you can follow your offense strategy by introducing pivoting throws. When doing so, it might also help to make use of hinge points such as the other wrester’s legs, belt or arms. If you use throws, you have to pay close attention to the reactions of your opponent in order to avoid any surprises.

Forcing out your opponent might also work. However, to do so efficiently, you have to start by grabbing your opponent’s belt and clamping him down and only then forcing him out.

If you have the necessary force and strength, you can also try to lift your competitor and to get him out of the ring. Once again, to do so you have to have great timing and you have to be well positioned. Still, better than any other move, lifting is the technique that best shows one’s dominance in the ring.

Illegal moves

Although we have mentioned them earlier in the article, we consider that it is necessary to present to you a complete list of the illegal moves that will surely lead to your disqualification from a game. By knowing to avoid them, your chances of winning a match are better.

First, you have to refrain from hitting the opponent with a closed fist or to jab at his eyes or celiac plexus. You cannot grab his hair and you cannot strike both of his ears at the same time with your palms.

Grabbing the opponent’s groin region is also a big no-no. Moreover, you are forbidden to grab his throat or to kick him in the chest or in his waist. Yet, pushing the competitor by having your hand against his throat is not illegal. Finally, you should not bend back more than one of your adversary’s fingers at once.

Before you step in the ring, keep in mind that one of the most common illegal move wrestlers tend to do is to grab the opponent’s hair. What is more, you have to be aware that you might actually pull one’s hair without you intending to due to the way in which wrestlers keep their hair tied up in a tail.  If this happens, you will surely still be disqualified.

Additionally, junior Sumo wrestlers are not permitted to slap their opponents in the face by using an open palm. The move is accepted when used by a professional wrestler.


Sumo training stables

The best wrestlers out there are all members of training stables. Differently from gyms, these locations are a great way to learn the tricks of the trade as there are specially created to discipline fighters. However, to get access to this type of training one has to make some sacrifices.

Firstly, those who are part of a stable have to live on its grounds at all times. Plus, they have to work and train daily and they are subordinates of the stable’s senior wrestlers. Each stable also has a stable master.

As a junior wrestler in a stable, one has to wake up early in the morning and to practice various sets of exercises and to do different odd jobs around the stable.




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