Here’s Everything NOT To Do During A Sumo Match

shokkiri sumo comedy
Source: Yokota Air Base

Sumo wrestling may seem like a simple sport, but there’s a lot more to it than you may think. The goals are straightforward, but with so many pushes, strikes, throws, and grab techniques… the rules aren’t always so clear.

A staged performance called “shokkiri” demonstrates what NOT to do during an actual match:

The slapstick humor is typically performed by junior ranked sumos and can take weeks of practice. It’s been a fan favorite since its inception back in Japan’s Edo period (that dates all the way back to 1603).

Illegal sumo moves are called Kinjite, or “forbidden hand”. They include:

  • Striking the opponent with a closed fist
  • Grabbing the opponent’s hair
  • Jabbing at the opponent’s eyes or solar plexus
  • Simultaneously striking both of the opponent’s ears with the palms
  • Grabbing or pulling the opponent’s groin
  • Grabbing the opponent’s throat
  • Kicking at the opponent’s chest or waist
  • Bending back one or more of the opponent’s fingers

Other illegal moves include throwing sand into an opponent’s eyes, spitting into an opponent’s eyes, and attempting to jump over your opponent. Or beating up the referee. Basically, anything you’d see Randy “Macho Man” Savage do.

Which brings up a fun comparison. There is actual competitive wrestling and then there is the WWE. And really, the WWE is kinda like Shokkiri… Ridiculous and dangerous moves (that are definitely staged) meant to entertain and get drunks riled up.

I’d love to see some shokkiri sumos drop a Stone Cold Stunner.


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