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Wrestling vs. Sumo: What's the Difference?

Edited by Huma Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on October 12, 2023
Wrestling is a broad term for a sport where two opponents grapple to pin or submit each other; Sumo is a traditional Japanese wrestling form where the aim is to force the opponent out of a ring or touch the ground.

Key Differences

Wrestling, as a term, encompasses various styles and forms practiced worldwide. It can range from folk traditions to more modern forms like freestyle and Greco-Roman. These styles have specific rulesets, and the primary objective is to pin the opponent's shoulders to the mat or make them submit.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023
Sumo, on the other hand, is deeply rooted in Japanese tradition. It's more than just a sport; it's a cultural ritual. The primary objective in Sumo is to either push your opponent out of the circular ring (dohyō) or make any part of their body other than the soles of their feet touch the ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023
Wrestling can be seen in various global events, such as the Olympics. The athletes wear tight-fitting singlets, and matches occur on a mat. Various techniques, including throws, pins, and locks, are employed to defeat opponents based on the specific wrestling style.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023
In contrast, Sumo wrestlers, or rikishi, wear mawashi (large belts), and their matches take place in a clay ring. The bouts are typically short and intense. There's also a significant spiritual aspect to Sumo, with many rituals performed before the actual bout, reflecting its Shinto origins.
Janet White
Oct 12, 2023
While both Wrestling and Sumo involve grappling, they differ in techniques, attire, objectives, and cultural significance. Wrestling is a versatile term that can refer to many styles, while Sumo is specifically Japanese, with a unique identity and set of customs.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 12, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Origin

Global, with ancient forms in many cultures.
Japan, with deep cultural and spiritual roots.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Objective

Pin opponent's shoulders or submission.
Push opponent out of ring or touch ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Attire

Typically a singlet.
Mawashi (thick belt).
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Venue

Usually on a mat in a square or rectangular area.
Dohyō (circular clay ring).
Sara Rehman
Oct 12, 2023

Duration

Variable, depending on style and rules.
Typically short, can end in seconds.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 12, 2023
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Wrestling and Sumo Definitions

Wrestling

The act of grappling with an opponent and trying to throw or pin them.
The two siblings engaged in playful wrestling in the backyard.
Harlon Moss
Oct 12, 2023

Sumo

A traditional Japanese form of wrestling where the objective is to push the opponent out of a circular ring.
Sumo wrestlers are revered in Japanese culture.
Harlon Moss
Oct 12, 2023

Wrestling

A combat sport of ancient origin, aiming to control the opponent.
The Olympics feature both freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Sara Rehman
Oct 12, 2023

Sumo

A heavyweight wrestling sport steeped in ritual, originating from Japan.
He visited Tokyo to watch a Sumo tournament live.
Janet White
Oct 12, 2023

Wrestling

An athletic activity that involves skills in bringing an opponent to the ground.
Wrestling is a popular sport in many high schools across the country.
Sara Rehman
Oct 12, 2023

Sumo

A sport where large participants use their size and strength to force opponents out of a ring.
The grand champion of Sumo is called Yokozuna.
Sara Rehman
Oct 12, 2023

Wrestling

A sport where two competitors attempt to subdue each other in bare-handed combat.
He has been practicing wrestling since he was 10.
Sara Rehman
Oct 12, 2023

Sumo

A form of wrestling where any part of the body touching the ground means defeat.
In Sumo, bouts often end quickly due to the intense power of the competitors.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 12, 2023

Wrestling

The sport of engaging in close hand-to-hand combat to pin the opponent.
She won the national championship in women's wrestling last year.
Harlon Moss
Oct 12, 2023

Sumo

Japanese wrestling characterized by its ceremonial traditions.
Before every Sumo match, there's a purification ritual.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Wrestling

A sport in which two competitors attempt to unbalance, control, or immobilize each other by various holds and maneuvers.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Sumo

A Japanese form of wrestling in which a competitor loses if forced from the ring or if any part of his body except the soles of his feet touches the ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

Present participle of wrestle
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Sumo

(uncountable) A stylised Japanese form of wrestling in which a wrestler loses if he is forced from the ring, or if any part of his body except the soles of his feet touches the ground.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

A sport where two opponents attempt to subdue each other in bare-handed grappling using techniques of leverage, holding, and pressure points.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Sumo

A rikishi (sumo wrestler)
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

A professional tumbling act that emulates the sport of wrestling. Also called "professional wrestling". It is distinguished from sport wrestling — which has strict internationally recognized rules and is conducted on a mat — by being scripted, rehearsed, conducted in a boxing ring rather than on a mat, and televised as entertainment.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Sumo

A Japanese form of wrestling; you lose if you are forced out of a small ring or if any part of your body (other than your feet) touches the ground
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

A wrestling match.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

(countable) The act of one who wrestles; a struggle to achieve something.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

Act of one who wrestles; specif., the sport consisting of the hand-to-hand combat between two unarmed contestants who seek to throw each other.
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

The act of engaging in close hand-to-hand combat;
They had a fierce wrestle
We watched his grappling and wrestling with the bully
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

Wrestling

The sport of hand-to-hand struggle between unarmed contestants who try to throw each other down
Sawaira Riaz
Mar 16, 2023

FAQs

What's the primary attire for Sumo wrestlers?

Sumo wrestlers wear a thick belt called a mawashi.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Is Sumo exclusive to Japan?

Sumo originated in Japan and is deeply rooted there, but there are international Sumo competitions.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Are pins a common objective in all forms of wrestling?

No, while many wrestling styles aim for pins, objectives vary.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Can women compete in wrestling?

Yes, women's wrestling is popular and recognized in global competitions.
Harlon Moss
Oct 12, 2023

Are there weight classes in Sumo?

No, Sumo doesn't have weight classes, making size advantages significant.
Harlon Moss
Oct 12, 2023

Is wrestling a global sport?

Yes, wrestling styles and forms are practiced worldwide.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

How long is a typical Sumo bout?

Sumo bouts are usually short, often lasting only a few seconds.
Aimie Carlson
Oct 12, 2023

What's the primary difference between freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling?

In Greco-Roman, holds below the waist are prohibited; in freestyle, they're allowed.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Do wrestling styles vary by country?

Yes, many countries have traditional wrestling styles specific to their cultures.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023

Is there a female equivalent for Sumo in Japan?

Women aren't allowed to compete in professional Sumo in Japan.
Sawaira Riaz
Oct 12, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Huma Saeed
Huma is a renowned researcher acclaimed for her innovative work in Difference Wiki. Her dedication has led to key breakthroughs, establishing her prominence in academia. Her contributions continually inspire and guide her field.

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