Dewanoumi Beya is located in the Ryogoku district in Tokyo, getting to this area is easy, witnessing a less workout. After a week of repeated no and a lot of tenacity I ﬁnally knock on the door of a good giant, who looks at me and asks if I am alone, I answer yes, he also turns to the teacher and, after a quick consultation, makes me the honors of the house with a cordial: “take oﬀ your shoes, against the wall and shut up!”
It’s 5 o’clock in the morning and I’m inside, incredulous and with all eyes on me, as if it were me to ﬁght. A few steps away and in a crack of a half-open door, I notice a wrestler in meditation immediately after ﬁnishing the ritual of the oi-cho mage (hairstyle of the hair), while all the others are going to the Dohyo (combat area). After a long and intense warm-up, the wrestlers begin to confront each other according to the Banzuke, which is a ranking that rewards their technical skills and strength rather than weight as often thought. Screams, sweat, aching faces, determination, passion, dedication, respect, culture, tradition and sport, all in harmony, all in a small circle of rope. For the following
ﬁve hours I remain motionless in the same place, legs crossed to observe, trying to hold back the emotion of watching these giants move with such gracefulness, waiting until the end of the training for the traditional ritual of shiko, a particular movement in which a wrestler (rikishi) positions himself with wide legs with his knees bent and, alternatively, raises his legs in the air and then falls lightly. This movement has gymnastic and ritual purposes to ward oﬀ demons and intimidate the opponent.
After the various stretching practices, traditional or not, all the wrestlers take care of the cleanliness and order of the gym by bringing all the sand to the center of the Dohyo, where the strongest wrestler prepares a small altar of sand on which he will subsequently spread salt , a spiritual gesture of thanksgiving to the gods and a good omen for the wrestlers.
After this fascinating ritual and after having dissolved the Mawashi (the particular thong worn by the wrestlers) all those men return to have human features and shyly ask me if I wanted photos with them or needed anything else, I answer no with timid discretion , subconsciously have already given me everything I needed, live the Sumo.