For some reason the first day of the national Sumo Wrestling tournament in Tokyo reminded me a bit of bullfighting in Spain. There's a lot of traditional pomp, a lot of macho posturing, and some colorful costuming. And the sumo wrestlers are about as big as a bull, as well. But, in the end, it's more of a spectacle than a true sporting event. The local aficionados go in for it, but there are many, many tourists in the audience. In some ways, too, sumo reminded me of American football. Four minutes of fooling around, and about six seconds of action.
Nevertheless, here are a few action shots, too.
Believe it or not, the posturing, including the leg lifting, goes on for about four minutes before the bout starts. The bout then lasts, I'm not kidding, an average of about five seconds.
The initial push is important because sumo is really all about balance. The guy who can get it, and get a little leverage, will win.
I'm not sure what the ruling is exactly when both guys fall out of the ring, but I wouldn't want to be under them when they land.
This was a tough shoot because the lighting wasn't too bright and I couldn't get as close as I would have liked. I used the Nikon D800E, but instead of shooting raw files, I shot jpgs, with the resultant loss of image quality. Also, because of the low light, I had to shoot at ISO 3200, and even at that, my shutter speeds were about 1/125. I was shooting high speed continuous with my 70-300 lens zoomed all the way to 300 on a monopod, but I wasn't really satisfied with many of the action shots I got. Just not sharp. But, I do like the precession shot. In a way, it's more indicative of the spectacle and tradition which I think is the essence of sumo.
If you're interested in what equipment I use, check out this page.
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