A Type Of Wrestling You've Probably Been Picturing All Wrong

Go ahead and picture a sumo wrestler. Yeah, you know, the kind you've seen in movies or in history books or even in a Google image search. Now delete it from your brain, or at least make some room in there for a different look. You're gonna need it.

Show Transcript Hide Transcript

I don't even see you. What I see is the wall behind them, like I'm just coming through you to that wall.

It's over before you know it. You understand what they are doing, what they are trying to do and work against it or you're going to lose.

Either you're going to put your arms down first or last, or what your strategy is. It's all determined in that moment.

The goal is to make it an Olympic sport, and to do that, they've created both weight classes and gender classes.

So for example, people look at me, I'm 155 pounds, but it's even more shocking to see a woman who is much smaller be a successful sumo wrestler.

The men sumo gets a lot of noteriety. You know it's in movies. It's in magazines. It's in commercials.

It has that bad stigma that's been around for years, right? Oh, It's just big, fat guys in diapers.

Stigma and what people think about it is total different from what it's like in reality.

Sumo is supposed to be a spirit on spirit sport. It's like battle, but without the weapons And not only without the weapon, without the clothing. Other than the mawashi, which is what the old farmers and the old laborers used to wear just tilling the crops and doing general labor.

And so, all you wear is this humble garment, all your blemishes are showing. Instead of Nike shoes, it's all your moles and all your pits, and your weaknesses of your bodies showing.

My daughter is 16 years old. I told my mom, "Yeah, I think Serena, she's going to be doing sumo wrestling." And she, you could tell on her face. She's like trying to fit that in, and she was nodding a little bit. And then she said, "Please don't make her do that. Please don't make her do that. Make the girl feel as girlish and as feminine and as part of normal women as possible."

When you have a body type to be a great sumo wrestler, you can be a warrior.

You go in with everything you've got.

It's one of the few sports where a big girl, that you can actually have physical contact and not have to hold back and not have to "Am I gonna hurt 'em? Oh."

I would love to see it become an olympic sport, just because I know growing up, you were teased and it's the "Oh, you don't do this. You can't do this." But to say that I'm using my attributes, you know, my natural height, size, strength to participate in a sport that I love to represent America.

I think every club as trying to do their best about recruiting more members, but the turnover rate of new people is a little bit high.

There are between one to two dozen Americans who actually train more than once or twice a year. So it's really hard for us to say at this point what Sumo's future will be in the Olympics.

It's like one of those things like maybe in a hundred years from now. Could say like, my great, great grandmas was this, you know. So looking at it like that, it's kind of fun.

Anything else?

Nothing. Other than we've got to get you in the ring. That's next.

There may be small errors in this transcript.

How cool! This feature comes from the New York Times, and you should check out the article that goes with it.

Aug 07, 2014

Flash Video Embed

This video is not supported by your device. Continue browsing to find other stuff you'll love!

In case you were wondering what matters to us, it's your privacy. Read our updated privacy policy.

Hey, Internet Friend. Looks like you're using a crazy old web browser, which is no longer supported. Please consider upgrading to something more modern—for a better experience, and a safer time online. We only want the best for you.

Download Google Chrome, and try it for a week. Don't think about it, just do it. You'll thank us later.