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sekitori

Mouthguards

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From views I've seen of him on the dohyo, it appears that Onosho is wearing one. If he is, are there any other rikishis who wear them as well? Their great advantage of course is protection of the teeth  and soft tissues of the mouth. They also can act as shock absorbers between the upper and lower teeth, protecting against jaw fracture, concussion,  and possible neck injury. I can see them having great value in an activity such as sumo where head trauma can often occur. On the other hand, they may be uncomfortable for some athletes to tolerate and that could affect their performance.

Then of course, there is tradition. I'm sure many sumo purists would consider wearing mouthpieces similar to wearing helmets--absolute sacrelige of a very old, highly respected activity. They will say  that proper training should be enough to protect a rikishi's face and head and that mouthguards are unnecessary. They were never around for hundreds of years, so why should rikishis begin wearing them now?  An argument against them could also be made that since a rikishi who wears one  is better protected than a rikishi who doesn't, he could have an unfair advantage.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and the Academy for Sports Dentistry recommend that athletes wear a properly fitted mouthguard for the following sports.  I can even understand that some non-contact sports such as acrobatics. equestrian events,  volleyball, and squash are included, because there is a possibility of facial injury in all of them. If sumo was widely practiced in the USA, I'm certain it would be included in that list. 

 

  • Acrobatics
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Boxing
  • Equestrian events
  • Extreme sports
  • Field hoc
  • Football
  • Gymnastics
  • Handball
  • Ice hockey
  • Inline skating
  • Lacrosse
  • Martial arts
  • Racquetball
  • Rugby
  • Shotputting
  • Skateboarding
  • Skiing
  • Skydiving
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Squash
  • Surfing
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling

 

Edited by sekitori

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One additional advantage, aside from protecting against head and mouth trauma, is that properly designed and fitted mouth guards allow an individual to set one's jaw and bite down hard, which can allow an athlete to generate more force/move more weight.  Some companies even claim this biting down can increase endurance (see: Under Armour).  While likely not producing much of an advantage, it could be just enough to be worth wearing one regardless of its protective properties, particularly in a short duration contest like sumo where any discomfort or difficulty in breathing caused by the mouth guard isn't likely to be a significant issue.

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8 hours ago, sekitori said:

 If sumo was widely practiced in the USA, I'm certain it would be included in that list. 

Sumo is part of martial arts and thus included

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Yeah some rikishi use them, some don’t. I think it was Kisenosato saying he’d be scared of his power if he were to use one, so he doesn’t… but this is a memory from like 4 years ago so I don’t remember too well. In the same comment I remember mention of Takekaze using one.

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Onosho is the rikishi whose mouth guard we actually see... I suspect there are more, who keep their mouth closed.

As a former combat sports athlete, the biggest benefit of a mouth guard is a much lower risk of being knocked out/concussed.

Any complaints about comfort typically come from people that have only used cheapo boil and bite mouthpieces, and most of those people have neglected to boil and fit them to their teeth.

The nice custom ones come in a variety of thicknesses, and the thin ones are becoming fairly common for strength athletes, as they can also increase explosive power. Seems like there would be a direct correlation to sumo.

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18 hours ago, Tochinofuji said:

One additional advantage, aside from protecting against head and mouth trauma, is that properly designed and fitted mouth guards allow an individual to set one's jaw and bite down hard, which can allow an athlete to generate more force/move more weight.  Some companies even claim this biting down can increase endurance (see: Under Armour).  While likely not producing much of an advantage, it could be just enough to be worth wearing one regardless of its protective properties...

This benefit caused performance mouthpieces to be banned by the PGA where balance and force of golf swing improvement were considered an unfair advantage. 

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I think I've seen Hokutofuji wear one, and he definitely did as an amateur.

I seem to recall Takanoiwa having one fall out during or right at the end of a match.

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5 hours ago, ALAKTORN said:

Yeah some rikishi use them, some don’t. I think it was Kisenosato saying he’d be scared of his power if he were to use one, so he doesn’t… but this is a memory from like 4 years ago so I don’t remember too well. In the same comment I remember mention of Takekaze using one.

He should reconsider then given his current total lack of power.

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6 hours ago, ALAKTORN said:

Yeah some rikishi use them, some don’t. I think it was Kisenosato saying he’d be scared of his power if he were to use one, so he doesn’t… but this is a memory from like 4 years ago so I don’t remember too well. In the same comment I remember mention of Takekaze using one.

Seems you were right.

Takekaze has his reasons, and Kisenosato has another. Funny how things work out sometimes.

 

Edited by Otokonoyama
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On 01/12/2018 at 09:36, sekitori said:

Then of course, there is tradition. I'm sure many sumo purists would consider wearing mouthpieces similar to wearing helmets--absolute sacrelige of a very old, highly respected activity. They will say  that proper training should be enough to protect a rikishi's face and head and that mouthguards are unnecessary. They were never around for hundreds of years, so why should rikishis begin wearing them now?  An argument against them could also be made that since a rikishi who wears one  is better protected than a rikishi who doesn't, he could have an unfair advantage.

You've let your bugbear (injuries in sumo and their 'proper' prevention / care) grow unchecked to the point where you are now inventing entire arguments to rail against.

I've never once heard the above opinion expressed and I spend a huge chunk of my time with sumo purists.

 

Edited by John Gunning
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On 01/12/2018 at 18:11, Akinomaki said:

Sumo is part of martial arts and thus included

I'm of the opinion that sumo is not a martial art.

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22 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

I'm of the opinion that sumo is not a martial art.

I, for one, would love to hear you expand on this. Martial arts are a big reason I became interested in sumo, though I see it more as a martial sport (akin to western wrestling or boxing, neither of which were generally considered martial arts before the rise of MMA) rather than martial art.  The main distinction to me would be one of intent, which for martial sports would be to get good at a sport which may have direct martial/self defence applications, without those applications being a focus (or even an active consideration). 

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47 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

I'm of the opinion that sumo is not a martial art.

100% agree. I love sumo as a sport and ozumo as a way of life. Neither is a "martial art".

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So, where does sumo fits in a world where there are Combat Sports (like Boxing) and Martial Arts (like Karate or Kung Fu)? All the sports that I know that have some kind of Fighting connection will fall into one of these two.

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Sumo-do is a martial art, if you accept that term for budo sports. Sumo is also seen as kakutogi, that would put it in combat sports.

Sumo-do is a term frequently used in ozeki and yokozuna acceptance phrases - so the rikishi will likely put themselves into the martial arts category.

Edited by Akinomaki

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It’s a translation problem. In Japanese, sumo is a martial art, however in English the term ‘martial art’ has a narrower meaning. More often than not people think of the striking-and-kicking combat sports like karate, taekwondo, etc. Judo is one of the few grappling sports thought of as a martial art and that’s, I think, because like the others, it involves wearing a white suit with a belt and gets practiced in a dojo. Basically, we’ve all seen The Karate Kid. In Japanese though the ‘martial’ still carries significant meaning, as it originally did to English speakers. Anything with a military connection is a martial art, hence why kendo, jōdō, kyūdo and sumō are all seen as Japanese martial arts.

Edited by Eikokurai

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Martial refers to millitary or war and most things we consider martial arts come from techniques designed with the purpose of defeating an enemy or defending yourself in a conflict.

Sumo came from religion, passed through entertainment and developed into a sport. At no time was it something you'd use in battle. If you consider how badly ex-rikishi have done in MMA etc that was a wise choice.

While sumo as a practice is as violent as any martial art and more so than most, it's not now and has never been 'martial' in the literal sense of the word.

 

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42 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

While sumo as a practice is as violent as any martial art and more so than most, it's not now and has never been 'martial' in the literal sense of the word.

Sumo has been one of the training "arts" of the samurai, the rikishi of old were (promoted to) samurai - it  has sufficient martial background to literally be a martial art.

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6 minutes ago, Akinomaki said:

Sumo has been one of the training "arts" of the samurai, the rikishi of old were (promoted to) samurai - it  has sufficient martial background to literally be a martial art.

What are your sources for those claims?

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9 minutes ago, Akinomaki said:

Sumo has been one of the training "arts" of the samurai, the rikishi of old were (promoted to) samurai - it  has sufficient martial background to literally be a martial art.

Assuming you have evidence of the above I still don't think it's enough to meet the definition.

Even if samurai did do some sumo training that does't make the practice itself martial. They did zazen as well as part of their training but you wouldn't describe that practice as a martial art.

I'm no expert but things like Kendo, Karate, Judo etc all had their origins in warfare or self defense. They can't be separated from that. Sumo may have been used by soldiers but it's not the world it comes from, nor is it an intrinsic part of the practice or it's history.

 

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16 minutes ago, John Gunning said:

What are your sources for those claims?

history

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On 01/12/2018 at 21:36, Katooshu said:

I seem to recall Takanoiwa having one fall out during or right at the end of a match.

He should wear it 24/7, you never know when you're gonna get smacked with a microphone...

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57 minutes ago, dingo said:

He should wear it 24/7, you never know when you're gonna get smacked with a microphone...

You can’t sing karaoke with a mouthguard in. 

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23 hours ago, John Gunning said:

Martial refers to millitary or war and most things we consider martial arts come from techniques designed with the purpose of defeating an enemy or defending yourself in a conflict.

Sumo came from religion, passed through entertainment and developed into a sport. At no time was it something you'd use in battle. If you consider how badly ex-rikishi have done in MMA etc that was a wise choice.

While sumo as a practice is as violent as any martial art and more so than most, it's not now and has never been 'martial' in the literal sense of the word.

 

With all due respect for your experience and knowledge, I must respectfully disagree with nearly everything mentioned, though I understand that many people will be of the same opinion as you are.

Other generally accepted synonym for "martial" is "fighting", sumo is about fighting. According to a lot of self-defense experts, openhanded strike may be just as deadly as a closed fist and rikishi are well versed in throwing a resisting enemy, applying joint locks (kimedashi), pushing (have you ever seen fighting with shields?). So yeah, sumo is quite useful for fighting, definitely better than no knowledge at all.

As for defeating an enemy, if interpretation is made wider ("opponent"), which it should for most martial arts are not primarily designed for serious hostile situations (Judo, Aikido, Karate, others), you could very well make a point that sumo has techniques just as much designed to best your opponent as others.

At no time at all were many of current or historical martial arts something you'd use in battle, that's not just sumo-specific. Also, for example Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto Ryu or Yagyu Shingan Ryu also came from religion, as well as many Chinese martial arts.

And for "badly doing ex-rikishi in MMA", I'd recommend you watch some Baruto bouts, only one defeating Baruto was "Cro Cop", old but still a top-notch world-class MMA fighter.

 

Edited by maorencze
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