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Neil Armstrong, Humility, Sumo

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Two recent observations remind me that one of the things I enjoy about sumo is the humility -- and the expectation of humility -- from these giant men.

1. Reading this passage about the great Neil Armstrong, it struck me that this is also a good definition of a yokozuna:

“All the tributes paid Saturday, after his death at the age of eighty-two, took care to stress his modesty, and he certainly belongs to that chastening group of beings whose capacity for heroic action is outstripped only by their reluctance to make a big deal out of it”

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2012/08/looking-up-to-neil-armstrong.html

2. Over the weekend I watched the middle school sumo championships on TV. Every winning boy who pumped his fist in the air, in what the Japanese call a “guts pose”, was harshly scolded by the judges. Every one.

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With kids becoming and more international, the fist pump, guts pose, and other displays will become more common.

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Interesting photo!

With kids becoming and more international, the fist pump, guts pose, and other displays will become more common.

Sounds like you’re saying that sumo organizations and the sumo tradition will be unable to counteract this trend (?).

I think many in Japan see this humility as an important and essential part of sumo.

So to me the question is :

Will / should sumo organizations in Japan attempt to preserve it?

And in professional sumo, will the guts pose continue to be looked down upon -- seen as inappropriate sumo conduct, especially for a yokozuna.

Right now I can't imagine that a yokozuna will ever be "allowed" to do the guts pose with impunity.

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Interesting photo!

With kids becoming and more international, the fist pump, guts pose, and other displays will become more common.

Sounds like you’re saying that sumo organizations and the sumo tradition will be unable to counteract this trend (?).

I think many in Japan see this humility as an important and essential part of sumo.

So to me the question is :

Will / should sumo organizations in Japan attempt to preserve it?

And in professional sumo, will the guts pose continue to be looked down upon -- seen as inappropriate sumo conduct, especially for a yokozuna.

Right now I can't imagine that a yokozuna will ever be "allowed" to do the guts pose with impunity.

I don't know whether sumo organizations will be able to prevent change, but they may succeed in slowing it. Society changes, and institutions with it. I don't think sumo is an exception. I doubt whether outbursts of emotion, whether joy or sorrow, will ever be acceptable in sumo, but I can see a slow trend towards rikishi being subtly more expressive in victory and defeat.

Edited by Otokonoyama

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One of the things i like about Sumo is that the victor does not shove his victory in his opponents face, this is an important part of Sumo to keep in my opinion, if anything a rikishi (and just about everyone else in life) is aggrandised by their humility, boastful people are often diminished by that attitude even if they have achieved great things, they end up not as great as they could have been, humility only adds to a person. (imho)

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