According to Wikipedia (emphasis mine for clarity),

Sumo (相撲 sumō?) is ... where a rikishi (wrestler) attempts to force another wrestler ... into touching the ground with anything other than the soles of the feet (hereafter referred to as "touch/touches/touching the ground").

I was watching footage of a takedown in which the one giving the takedown nearly touches the ground before his opponent (and was quite amazed he didn't touch the ground).

Can a sumo wrestler touch the ground before his opponent in the act of forcing him to the ground? Would this be forcing himself into touching the ground, and thus allowable, or unallowable due to touching the ground in any way?


1 Answer 1


While unlikely, the concept you describe is one with legitimate use.

A wrestler who touches the ground first may still be declared victor if it is clear that the opponent had no chance themselves of winning.

For example, a wrestler driving his opponent onto the ground backwards may extend a hand to prevent injury to either wrestler. Even though the hand touches first, they were sure to win otherwise, and so they are declared victor instead. There is apparently record of this happening several decades ago.

  • Thanks for the info. Is this considered a universal rule?
    – user527
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 20:11
  • I'm not able to find reference to different rulesets, but I would operate on the basis that the Japanese Sumo Association is a standard given its status, and the ruleset used by them is "the one".
    – Nij
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 20:56

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