Sumo commentator, sports photographer and friend of Tachiai John Gunning has put together another excellent piece for The Japan Times. This article explores keiko; the intense, exhausting and repetitive regimen of sumo training.
A choice section of the article:
After each group has finished their bouts, they do a pushing practice with another wrestler acting as deadweight. This is known as butsukari-geiko and is the toughest part of training.
Already exhausted, you can be forced to push someone over and back until you collapse. This is called kawaigari — literally tender loving care — and even the name alone is enough to send chills down a wrestler’s spine.
Yokozuna Harumafuji once compared it to the verge of death, and having been on the receiving end I fully agree.
As always, head to The Japan Times and read the whole thing.