Although Japan has several martial arts that could claim to be national sports, few are quite as distinctive as sumo. With its massive yet lightning-fast athletes who must live a strict and traditional lifestyle, sumo continues to be an attractive sport to watch.

However, how many people out there knew that there is also a women’s sumo federation? Almost certainly not as many as there ought to be, because women’s sumo is entertaining on a few different levels, as we’re about to see in this video from the 1st International Women’s Sumo Tournament.

This video taken from the tournament held in Sakai City, Osaka in April of 2013 at the Ohama Koen Sumojo and features around 70 participants representing 18 teams from Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand.

From the very first match of the video you can see a reason to be hooked on women’s sumo: the disparity of body types can be quite large!

You might consider this match to be a foregone conclusion, but the sometimes vast differences in heights and weights lead to some interesting techniques. For example, see how the woman on the left uses her thin figure against the larger woman at the edge of the ring.

The slender fighter manages to swing her legs in and out of the ring keeping herself in play, while her opponent appears to be unable to move forward any more without putting herself out of the ring.

In the end, the smaller woman still lost but that stratagem could have played out in her favor. The sizes of fighters range from everything in between those two women, creating a wide variety of interesting matches.

At around the 14:30-mark, there is another battle of varying weights, only this time the smaller fighter comes out on top…

literally by deftly using her opponent’s size against her.

It’s not all high-flying mismatches of weight, however. There are several fights in the more traditional style of two equal fighters very carefully trying to get under each other’s center of gravity, locked in a delicate power struggle.

Many of these matches can be seen between the 20 and 26 minutes marks.

Whether originally a fan of sumo or not, it’s hard not to be entertained by this video. Be careful, however, as it’s around 36 minutes and moves at a fairly brisk pace. It’s easy to lose track of time while watching so make sure you pack a snack and you don’t have any appointments first. Once you’re all set, sit back and enjoy the show!

Source: Shizuoka Shimbun SBS (Japanese)
Video and Images: YouTube – Kappa2700
Original article by Takashi Harada
[ Read in Japanese ]