Sumo Pre-bout time

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Are there limits to in-ring pre-bout time?

The time that rikishi spend warming up in the ring is called “pre-bout time.” Makushita ranks and under have only two minutes, so they must begin their bout the second time they meet their opponents at the face-off lines.

  • makuuchi (top ranks):4 minutes
  • juryo:3 minutes
  • makushita and under:2 minutes

When the time is up, the two rikishi meet and begin the bout as soon as their “breathing is synchronized.”

When does pre-bout time begin?

The clock begins running as soon as the yobidashi has called off the names of the two rikishi.

Who clocks pre-bout time?

One of the five ringside judges is the designated timer. When time is up, he raises his hand to indicate that the bout must begin. The yobidashi in the ring informs the rikishi. The timekeeper always sits to the east on the opposite-front side, under the red tassel, with a gyoji and another judge. Toward the end of the day, the rikishi who will perform the closing bow-twirling ceremony also takes a seat there.

What happens if a rikishi stalls a bout?

A bout begins when both rikishi have bent over with their hands to the ground. At this point, a rikishi cannot delay the beginning of the bout. A deliberate stall results in a fines:

  • makuuchi:100,000 yen
  • juryo:50,000 yen

Deliberate refusal to begin a bout?

If a rikishi refuses to stand and begin a bout, the gyoji and judges shall declare him the loser.

How many times do rikishi meet at the face-off lines before a bout begins?

There is no set number of times. Occasionally, rikishi will arrive and set their fists to the ground irrespective of each other, and this is allowed. On the other hand, a bout can begin at any time during pre-bout time. Although two rikishi will rarely attack at their first trip to the face-off lines, it frequently happens the second time.

Must both rikishi have their hands to the ground before a bout can begin?

The basic rule is that a rikishi must be bent over with both hands on the ground at the moment about begins. If, however, one hand is firmly down and the other barely brushes the ground it is not usually called. It depends on the way the gyoji and other judges see it.

Can a rikishi cancel a bout while it is underway?

A rikishi himself cannot stop in mid-battle. Only the gyoji and judges are permitted to call a halt. A rikishi may make such a request, however, if he is injured or suddenly takes ill and is incapable of continuing a bout.

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