In Japan, United States servicemen have been taking up the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo wrestling.
In Japan, United States servicemen have been taking up the ancient Japanese sport of Sumo wrestling. At one base it's so popular that a club has been formed.
SYNOPSIS: The base is in Misawa City in the northern part of Japan's main island of Honshu and servicemen there have managed to enlist the aid of Japanese instructors to teach them the sport.
An old hanger at the base has been converted into a Sumo arena and for two hours, three times a week, the servicemen work hard at mastering the basic techniques of the sport and its complex etiquette.
The Americans also pick up tips watching professional fights on Japanese television. During the championships, such fights are on daily. A favourite wrestler with the men is the Hawaiian Takamiyama...the only foreigner to do well in the sport.
The sport of Sumo makes enormous demands on strength, training and discipline. It involves three basic moves. The characteristic foot-stamping called "Shiko", the technique of foot-pushing called "Suriashi", and a body-shoving movement called "Tsuppari".
For the American wrestlers, the most difficult part of their training is to strengthen their legs. Most Americans tend to have slender legs, whereas a good Sumo wrestler needs the short, powerful legs more typical of the Japanese physique. But many servicemen have overcome that and one explains why he took up the sport.
Having taken up Sumo, the servicemen now believe that if it was better know, it could become as popular in the world as boxing.