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|WARNING: THIS SITE FEATURES ORIGINAL THINKING...Jim Croce once sang Don't tug on Superman's cape..., which seems like reasonable advice should we not wish to anger the supreme powers. We do have this duality in our culture: the Superman that is the state collective, the leftist call to a politics of meaning managed by the state, the deification of "we're from the government and we'll take care of you" - versus the Superman that celebrates individual freedom, private property, freedom of conscience, free enterprise, and limited government. We humbly take on the latter's mantle and, eschewing the feeble tug, we dare to PULL, in hope of seeing freedom's rescue from the encroaching nanny state. We invite you, dear reader, to come and pull as well... Additionally, if you assume that means that we are unflinching, unquestioning GOP zombies, that would be incorrect. We reject statism in any form and call on individuals in our country to return to the original, classical liberalism of our founders. (We're also passionate about art, photography, cooking, technology, Judeo/Christian values, and satire as unique, individual pursuits of happiness to celebrate.)|
Superman's product of the century (so far):
During my last trip to Japan, while in Osaka, I was treated to one of the most unique and honoring experiences I have ever had.
My joint venture partner took me to observe Sumo practice.
Perhaps most of us in the west have significant preconception about what Sumo is. We likely subconsciously connect it with our own sports experience and associate it with what we know about western professional sports. Most all of these preconceptions aren't true.
I quickly learned a set of facts which quickly disabused me of my western notions.
Sumo is more of a team sport than an individual one - it's not like our tennis is or golf (with an individual supported by their own courtege) as we might suppose. As with most things Japanese - there is a collective effort, a group think, each combatant an extension of his peers. Each Sumo stable (as they are called) is associated with a Buddhist Temple - and would be rather like us saying: "The Green Bay Packers are associated with the First Baptist Church in Green Bay". Most of the Sumo stables (there are 56 if I recall correctly) are home based around Tokyo, but there are six major tournaments a year at different locales (the Osaka tournament was coming up when I was there) so they move en masse to sister Temples near the city where the tournament is taking place. Located on the premises of the Temple is a practice area, which, in our case, was a loosely set up canvas and tarp tent, with the sacred circle contained within.
Sumo athletes pretty much lead a monastic existence. They begin practice every day at 5 AM - that's 365 days a year - and they practice until noon or so. They then eat a huge meal and rest for a little while, do some chores around the Temple, perhaps go to the market, and then in bed around 5PM - they sleep 10-12 hours a day because of the intensity of their training. They buy and prepare their own food. Most of them don't make much money. All of their winnings in tournaments are given to their stable - for those who are very successful, some amount of their earnings are returned to them. A career may last ten to fifteen years with this kind of existence. After their career, those that have made a name for themselves are some of the most honored citizens in society - some living their days out like royalty. Most go to work somewhere in Japan society or stay associated with the sport as a trainer or coach.
Though there is an official Sumo organization, it is focused almost completely on the sport's tradition - there are no significant commercial efforts for the kind of lavish corporate sponsorship and commercial television contracts that our professional sports are pervaded with. In fact, it appears that in many ways Sumo is a sport that remains financially 'wanting' because the sport depends almost completely on tournament winnings and donations....Continue reading "The Heart of Sumo Part 1"
Did I ever tell you that sometimes I have a crazy life?
I'd like to tell you all about it.
But things are really crazy right now.