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Kaikitsune Makoto

Sumo - buttock slapping

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Is sumo the only sport in the world where it is very common to slap one's own buttocks? Some rikishi do that regularly in addition to beating their mawashi. Is there a reason for this? I will speculate because Oslo burned to ashes, Russia beat Canada in hockey and one sumoforum member showed arrogance at Kokugikan today.

Reasons?

1. Desensitization of the skin of the buttocks in order to maintain numb tachi-ai.

2. It feels good to slap one's naked buttock (it does, try it when going to showed naked)

3. It is just a habit like mawashi beating and bamboo cane

4. It is important and tranquilizing to slap one's own naked skin in many ways like in sauna with vihta thing. In sumo it prepares the skin for all sorts of contacts during a bout

5. Rikishi test the tone of the gluteus maximum prior to bout

In any case it is a good part of sumo, this buttock slapping. I have yet to witness a rikishi butt pinch one's own butt. No wonder Wakanoho for instance is keen to try butt pinching targeting a woman later on if he doesn't get 7 year ban for acting like a Wakanoho.

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Is sumo the only sport in the world where it is very common to slap one's own buttocks?

I don't know, but in American team sports, team members very often slap each other's buttocks. Coaches are the only ones with butt-slapping privileges who never get slapped themselves. (At least not by his team.) No one really knows why, mostly because it leads the average Red-Blooded American Football Fan to conclusions he finds disturbing if he ever takes the trouble to think about it. But mostly they don't think about it. Or much of anything else for that matter. American football isn't a notably cerebral sport, it's primary features being a massive group tachi-ai and a remarkable lack of use of the feet.

You may have been joking, but I think the right answer is a combination of 1, 3, and 4.

Edited by Kuroyama

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6. The slap helps bring blood to the gluteus muscle for better tachi-ai?

Michael Means

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Clears the mind and sharpens the senses, I'd say. To help them consentrate and take their minds off the crowd. Also, it feels good and looks matcho, which is a plus. It draws the ladies' attention (many nice butts in ozumo). Superstition perhaps, as well as a habit - for luck, can't hurt, besides everyone else is doing it so why shouldn't I?

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Ah, but what happens if you slap yourself on the buttocks with a cane? Do you get severely reprimanded or do you proceed to ask to be tied to the bedpost?

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This may sound silly, but personally, I use the "buttock slapping" (belly-slapping in my case) during basketball: it helps me to focus and get pumped up. I most often use it during the free-throw sequence: just before going for the rebound or boxing an opponent out, I slap my abdomen, exhale and bend my knees. It gives me a real boost of energy and optimizes my concentration. Also, after making an important shot I tend to do the "slap" as a kind of reward and recognition to myself. I guess for rikishi it works in the same way: they use to intimidate their opponent 'the bigger the belly, the louder an deeper the "slap"), to calm down, and to maximize their focus. Akebono used to clap his hands just before tachiai, and Miyabiyama exhales strongly after a win, while crouching and taking the kensho.

Edited by Faustonowaka

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On a medical basis there is another possible explication:

Suffering pain (self-inflicted or otherwise) causes release of endorphines from various glands near the brain. These are similar in molecular structure to Morphine and are a natural painkiller. Slapping one's butt causes this release just before fighting; therefore causing the whole body to become slightly numb and less sensitive to slaps and hits from the opponant.

CH

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