Comment: How a 75kg white guy became a sumo


The Feed producer Will Reid is a 75kg Aussie lad who - thanks to a love of the sport - became a sumo. He takes us through his very, very interesting journey.

Becoming a sumo is actually a lot easier than you think.

As kids growing up, most people have wrestled with their siblings, friends and occasionally their foes. So the concept of wrestling itself is not a hard one to grasp.

In fact, most people don’t realise that Indigenous Aussies have been wresting in this country for the last 50,000 years with their own form of sumo wrestling called Coreeda.

Add few kilos, a training regime, competition ring and you have sumo.

Sumo wrestling

In 2010 when I discovered Australia had an amateur sumo scene, I was curious more than anything. My idea of sumo was big blokes in g-strings and when I realised my idea was totally out of touch with the reality … that's when my interest spiked.

I could totally become a sumo if I wanted and if I was going to undertake this journey, as a documentary maker I should probably document it.

I was put in touch with one of the godfathers of Australian sumo John Traill aka Johno Fuji (below) to show me the finer points of sumo and its here I learnt the basics.

Learn how to win: There are two rules in sumo and they're pretty easy. First person to go outside the ring loses and if anything other than the soles of your feet hit the ground, you lose.

Sumo wrestling

Stretch up: Although sumo bouts are on average nine seconds, you’ll use many muscles you forgot you had so a good stretching routine is well worth it. Google 'Sumo Squats' to get started.

Respect your opponent: Sumo is a respectful, aggressive yet non-violent sport, hence the bow before and after the sumo bout. Interestingly, there are 82 manoeuvres you can do to beat your opponent.

Slap don't punch: Kicking and punching are off limits. But you can trip, slap and give atomic wedgies in order to beat your opponent. Name another sport that encourages wedgies, I challenge you.

No boys, no worries: As the word spreads that amateur sumo is about fit, not fat, more girls are getting involved. Though like with most martial arts related sports, it seems to be male dominated. Naturally Japan has the biggest concentration of amateur women sumos, but in the professional sumo women are still prohibited from entering or even touching the Dohyo (ring).

"My idea of sumo was big blokes in g-strings... "

Simple sumo: To sumo you don't need anything more than two people and a line in the dirt, sand, grass, whatever.  When I was living in outback NSW my training regime consisted of me wrestling my mates in a ring made from mums garden hose.

The fact that sumo is so simple, fun and all-inclusive makes me wonder if the stigma of it being an obscure fat guys sport is holding it back.

I hope that changes.

There is talk of an Australian beach sumo tournament and to me that seems like great natural evolution of sumo wrestling in Australia. God knows there are already plenty of g-strings on our nations beaches, why not add a few more?

Sumo wrestling

Tune in to #TheFeedSBS at 7.30pm Monday - Friday on SBS Viceland, stream live, or follow us on FacebookTwitter or Instagram.