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“For instance, sumo wrestlers.. “(r/fatlogic)
I am just going to step in here in defense of Sumo wrestling, as these are professional athletes who undergo a special training regiment to reach the sizes they are and achieve a very niche and specific body type. Since there are no weight classes in Sumo, sheer mass is an advantage. That’s not to say that there haven’t been successful Sumo wrestlers who weren’t obese. Here is a highlight reel of the best victories of Takanoyama, a Czech Sumo wrestler at 212 lbs, competing at Sumo’s highest division.. Compare him to a bodybuilder 0.5 inches taller but at 255 lbs practicing sumo and it’s clear just muscle alone isn’t enough.
While nearly all sumo wrestlers are obese, it simply is not the same thing at all to compare them to typical obese people as Sumo wrestlers aren’t “fat” in the traditional sense. Sumo wrestlers are literally training and exercising for 15 hours+ everyday 365 days a year. There is no offseason in the sport of professional Sumo as it is a lifestyle. Former Yokozuna Asashoryu said in an interview that he needed to be between 324-328 lbs, otherwise he’s too weak or not agile enough to be the most effective. These are highly specialized athletes. At the top level they know exactly the calorific intake they need. The difference is their’s intake is completely in a different ballpark than most people. Think powerlifters
Now why is there such a difference? Part of it has to do with the fact that the fat that Sumo wrestlers are putting on is mostly subcutaneous fat and not visceral fat. Their fat for the most part is not invading and weakening muscles but is quite rather literally a layer of blubber underneath the skin lying on top of the muscle.
Many of these wrestlers have more solid muscle mass than professional body builders.
The wrestler “Byamba / Daishochi” in the video I linked was at 11% body fat at ~~350~~ 330 lbs when competing in Japan. 15% later in his career
~~Even the fattest of them all, Konishiki who was over 600 lbs at 6’0.5″ was only at 25.7% body fat.~~
edit: it would appear that at his heaviest Konishiki’s body fat percentage was in the 40%’s. Sorry for the misinformation. That figure must have been at his career peak. Have a picture of him from 2009 12 years after retiring instead as an apology
Many people have this notion that Sumo is a slow sport of obese men, which couldn’t be further from the truth. It is a full bodied combat sport which showcases power and technique and is often swift and vicious.
Again, because there are no weight classes, sheer mass is an advantage. I remember some shitty sports science video saying that the initial collision in the beginning has force equivalent to “falling 3 stories onto concrete”. And you better believe it. Bones do get broken in this sport.
That 212 lb Czech Sumo wrestler, Takanoyama, I linked in the very beginning of my post, unfortunately lost most of his matches almost instantly by being completely bulldozed over by others like this. His light weight was definitely not an advantage throughout his career and the fact that he weighed so little was not from lack of trying. It would seem it was just too difficult for him to eat enough to be able to bulk up as necessary given the amount of exercise he was undergoing. He even got a slap on the wrist from the sport after being caught using hormones in an attempt to try to gain the weight.
While Takanoyama had an overall record of 325-318-9, the 9 coming from missed bouts due to injury, in the very top most division of Sumo, he had only a 26-49 record. Still, reaching the top division itself was an accomplishment most in the sport never accomplish, nevermind the fact he was taking wins off of people more than twice his weight. For example the commentators talking here
While it is completely true that Sumo wrestlers do suffer considerably from more health problems than the general population, that’s not to say that they stay fat forever. Look at Takanohana, the 65th Yokozuna (highest individual rank in the sport) was around 340 lbs. After he retired as an athlete he dropped back down to around 180 lbs in under 10 years. Eating as a Sumo wrestler is incredibly difficult. It’s one of the things many wrestlers complain about and is considered training in and of itself.
Again, that’s not to say that Sumo wrestlers are healthy by any means. Just look at the current heaviest wrestler in Sumo, Orora also over 600 lbs. He’s actually in the lower unpaid divisions of the sport despite being much heavier than his opponents. It is very clear he is not athletic and has little muscle. He is basically the obese stereotype most people assume when they hear about sumo wrestling. Literally just a morbidly obese man and not an athlete. Thus his languishing in the lower ranks and inability to win vs anyone who is not brand new and only starting their sumo body development. He loses that linked match by stepping out of the ring first and it’s truly pathetic.
Compare that to Konishiki, the other 600+ lbs wrestler i mentioned in this post, in the top division not one of the very bottom ones and it should be completely obvious comparing this video to the last one I linked that Konishiki despite his weight is athletic and muscular. His opponent who Konishiki beats is Akebono, a Yokozuna or rank 1 in all of Sumo wrestler. Either of these two would have beaten Orora’s opponent in 1 second
So in short. Don’t shit on Sumo with stereotypes. These are professional athletes and it shows.
Any fatlogic claims that Sumo wrestlers are healthy is clearly bullshit. But these are athletes who train far more than any other professional sport athlete in the world. To hear these people try to equate themselves with them is insulting