Sumo Glossary

Japanese Romaji Definition
行司 gyoji Sumo referee
残った nokotta
両手をついて ryote wo tsuite “Put both hands down! I’m looking at you, Kotoyuki!”
まった matta “Do it again! You didn’t get your damn hands down, Kotoyuki!”
二字口 nijiguchi the short tawara lines that mark the entrances to the dohyo on the east and west. Called like that because together with the slightly shifted tawara line of the ring itself, they form the character 二, sort of.
本場所 honbasho Official sumo tournament. Six held each year in alternating locations: Tokyo, Osaka, Tokyo, Nagoya, Tokyo, Fukuoka
結びの一番 musubi-no-ichiban Last match of the day, usually a yokozuna (unless there aren’t any). Akin to the final pairing in a golf tournament.
巡業 jungyo Sumo promotional tour
相撲甚句 sumo-jinku A traditional song form performed by rikishi dressed in kesho-mawashi
わんぱく相撲 wanpaku-zumo A mostly-humorous practice session involving kids wrestling with sekitori
初切 shokkiri comedic sumo bout
土俵入り Dohyo-iri Ring entering ceremony. For all sekitori who are not yokozuna, that means forming a ring along the dohyo wearing kesho mawashi and performing a series of gestures in unison.
横綱土俵入り yokozuna dohyo-iri Yokozuna’s ring entering ceremony. The yokozuna is accompanied by two assistants, his sword-bearer and Dew Gatherer. There are two styles of dohyo-iri, the style of the crane (Shiranui) and the turtle (Unryu). Each yokozuna follows a specific style, signified by specific moves and the shape of the knot used to tie his tsuna.
露払 tsuyuharai Dew Gatherer – the member of the Yokozuna dohyo iri team who walks in front of the Yokozuna.
太刀持 tachi-mochi Literally, broad sword holder. Usually translated as “Sword Bearer”. The member of the Yokozuna dohyo iri team who carries the sword.
部屋 heya (alt. beya) Literally, a room. However, this is essentially the sumo clan or club which a wrestler joins.
親方 oyakata The head of a sumo heya.
兄弟子 ani-deshi A wrestler from the same heya who has been there a longer time.
弟弟子 ototo-deshi A wrestler from the same heya who has been there a shorter time.
内弟子 uchi-deshi A rikishi who is not attached to the heya where he practices, but to a coach within the heya who has the intention of leaving and starting his own heya, at which point the rikishi will move with him.
稽古 keiko See also: Alan Iverson Seriously, though. Many practices are open to the public. Arashio-beya, for example, provides a wealth of information about their open practices on their website.
朝稽古 asageiko Morning Practice, the most important of the day.
てっぽう teppo A drill consisting of practicing tsuppari against a pole.
三番 sanban A form of practice where the wrestlers repeatedly engage until the higher-ranked one decides to finish
ぶつかり butsukari Form of practice where the low-ranked wrestler has to repeatedly push the higher-ranked wrestler, and gets thrown down if he doesn’t succeed. Think of a sled drill in American football, except the sled is a higher-ranked rikishi who will beat your ass if you don’t do it right.
四股 shiko The sumo drill where the leg is raised into the air and brought down with a stomp.

揃い踏み soroi-bumi When several rikishi perform shiko on the dohyo at the same time, like during the kore yori sanyaku.

すり足 suri-ashi A form of exercise walking with knees bent, not lifting feet from the ground.
二本刺し nihon-zashi A technique where the wrestler pushes both arms under the opponent’s.
手刀 tegatana Literally, “hand-sword”. The cutting hand motions performed by rikishi when their name is called after winning, and when they receive prize money.

上手 uwate Having one’s arm over the opponent’s arm rather than under it
下手 shitate Having one’s arm under the opponent’s arm rather than over it
張りて harite Slaps. In sumo, blows with a closed fist are banned.
突っ張り tsuppari A form of attack using slaps (harite). Slaps to the face and throat are only allowed in professional sumo, restricted to slaps to the body in amateur sumo.
けんかよつ kenka-yotsu A situation in which the wrestlers have opposite favorite grips and have to fight over the grip.
あいよつ ai-yotsu A situation in which the wrestlers have the same favorite grips.
八百長 yaocho Match fixing. The term comes from the name of a green grocer who used to hang out with sumo people, and whenever he played Go with an oyakata, he used to go easy on him so that the result would be 1:1.