The build up, the build up, the build up. Crowds cheering. People yelling the names of their favourite wrestlers and taunts or encouragement (I have no idea which – but there was a lot of yelling) and the wrestlers place their fists on the ground …..
The bout doesn’t start by any special signal given by the referee, but when both wrestlers feel that they are mentally “ready”, and that their preparations have synchronized. It is only when both of them have placed their fists on the ground that the bout truly begins. But if the gyoji decides that one of the wrestlers has not placed both of his fists on the ground before the start (or if the opposing rikishi decides that he wasn’t completely ready) the bout is stopped cold (matta). The two opponents must now turn back to the starting position.
The tachi-ai, that moment when two rikishi throw themselves against their opponent, is one of the most important phases. In fact, a good start most often allows the rikishi in question to fight the bout in the style that fits him the best.
You can “feel” the impact.
From that point on, the matches had a great variation. Some were over in the blink of an eye while a few were epic matches with the titans wrestling, pushing and trying to get the advantage.
Shot by shot, this looks like an epic battle (shot with my Canon 5D Mark III, 70-200mm f/2.8).
The final shot that decided the outcome.
But this wasn’t my favourite match of the day. I happened to catch that one on video.
Great photos! The foreigner looks like Kōsuke Aoiyama who happened to be wrestling at the Fukuoka Grand Tournament on TV when I found your site! Thanks for the informative posts.