Sumo Training School

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Where is the Sumo Training School?

It is in the Ryogoku Kokugikan (the Tokyo tournament hall). The school was established in 1957 to educate new JSA apprentices.

Do all new apprentices enroll in the Sumo Training School?

Yes, they are all required to go, even rikishi who begin their careers at the makushita rank. The curriculum is divided into education and training. New apprentices who wrestled in college are not required to attend the training sessions.

Who teaches at the Sumo Training School?

Trainers teach the new apprentices how to wrestle, and instructors are hired to teach the courses. Trainers usually include men who either are or have been rikishi. At present, four stablemasters and makushita-rank rikishi work in this capacity. Classroom courses are taught by college professors and other experts in the various fields.

How long do new apprentices attend the Sumo Training School?

They go for six months from the time they pass their initial physical exam. During that time, they participate in tournaments as part of their “practical experience.” The school is located in Tokyo and apprentices are required to participate in tournaments in other cities, so this means that their education is actually much shorter than six months. The school gives no exams. Attendance is all important.

What is taught in terms of wrestling techniques?

New apprentices learn the basics, such as how to stamp (shiko), hit steel pillars (teppo), do the splits (matawari), move across the ring keeping their feet to the ground (suriashi), leg stretching (shinkyaku), etc. They also Jearn the manners and customs of the sport. Training begins early in the morning and lasts for three hours.

What do the new apprentices study in the classroom?

The following six courses.

  1. Sumo history
  2. Biology
  3. Sports medicine
  4. Social studies
  5. Japanese (calligraphy and writing)
  6. Shigin (a traditional form of singing)

These classes are taught for two hours after the morning training session, finishing up at about noon. The new apprentices then bathe and have their midday meal in the Kokugikan dining hall before returning to their stables.

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