To most Americans they look like fat guys in diapers, but in Japan they're larger than life. We're talking about sumo wrestlers, the proud heirs of an ancient sport that's just catching on in the United States. In this episode of True Life, we...... Read Full Episode Summary »
To most Americans they look like fat guys in diapers, but in Japan they're larger than life. We're talking about sumo wrestlers, the proud heirs of an ancient sport that's just catching on in the United States. In this episode of True Life, we follow three young wrestlers hoping to make it big in a large man's world.
Sixteen-year-old Steven wants to be an athlete, but at 400 pounds, he is too heavy for high school sports. When he discovers sumo wrestling, Steven learns that his weight can be asset, rather than a disadvantage. Unfortunately, due to the lack of novice opponents in the U.S., Steven must face off against competitors who are much more experienced and several years to his senior.
When fighting in a local tournament, he breaks his sternum, an injury that forces him to put his sumo dreams on hold. Even though everyone tells him he should take it easy, Steven has a difficult time taking the advice and begins to train for the California State Sumo Championships. After weeks of hard work and dedication Steven is ready to compete in the championships and ends up winning a bronze medal for his endeavors.
Minaminoshima is a professional sumo in Tokyo, where wrestlers live and practice together in dorms. Because he has a low ranking, Minaminoshima is forced to work like a slave for his higher ranked peers. Cleaning urinals and drying off other wrestlers after their showers is all in a day's work for Minaminoshima.
A normal training day for Minaminoshima involves a heavy work out routine early in the morning, followed by a hearty lunch, and eventually topped with a nap in order to build up
body weight. After extensive training, the time finally comes for Minaminoshima to face off for a chance at improving his ranking. The competition is fierce, but Minaminoshima is able to win several matches in a row and upgrade from a level three ranking to a level four. Now Minaminoshima can hand off some of his remedial (and demeaning) chores to lower ranking wrestlers and concentrate fully on his sumo
Bradley, 28, is America's biggest sumo fan, and has always wanted to wrestle like his idols. Over the objections of his wife, Bradley begins training, with hopes of eventually stepping into the ring. Bradley's wife's main objections to
him learning to become a sumo wrestler are that he could hurt himself, and should be spending more time at home with his family.
Upon entering his first competition, Bradley is surprised when he is eliminated quickly in the preliminary rounds. After his first matches, Bradley's wife remains unsympathetic to his cause, but he still continues to train, eventually winning his first medal. Over time Bradley is able to win several gold medals in smaller sumo tournaments; he hopes to open up a sumo school for high school students in the near future.