Local (Seattle) News - Trendy Sumo
Date: Tue, 26 Oct 93 16:08:32 PDT
Subject: Local (Seattle) News - Trendy Sumo
From: Nik_Gervae (Nik Gervae)
Subject: Forget the guns, we want the rubber suits
Shamelessly copied out of today's Merc:
Calling all wimps: If you've ever dreamed of crushing and toppling
foes, of becoming a 500-pound warrior, wish no more. Head instead to
Sharky's Beach Bar & Eater and check out what has become one of
Seattle's trendiest bar games.
Forget billiards and darts, even Velcro wall-jumping. The game to try
these days is inflatable sumo wrestling.
People offended by ethnic lampoons and fat jokes may want to avoid this
one. Sumo wrestling is a revered national sport in Japan. Interest
spread to the United States earlier this year when Chad Rowan of
Hawaii, wrestling under the name Akebono, became the first American to
be crowned yokozuna, or the sport's grand champion.
Inflatable sumo wrestling, though, has nothing to do with the sport. In
this bar game, players slip into a rubberized plasic suit that zips up
like a sleeping bag. The approximately $2,400, flesh-colored suit,
which features breasts and a thong-like diaper, is pumped with an air
In one instant, the suit produces thunder thighs and a monstrous gut. A
helmet with a black wig cut in a blunt chop with a pigtail on the crown
is put on.
Rick Kirkland, managing directory of the Napier, New Zealand, company
that created the concept, said the genesis of the suits was "almost
He said they started out as safety suits for a different
game-horizontal bungee jumping, in which people are flung sideways by
"Then someone said, hey, it sort of looks like a fat guy!" said
After the suit is on, players hop and waddle on a wrestling mat, where
they bump bellies and bounce off each other. Some get seriously
airborne. When a player is down, he or she can't get up without the
help of two assistants.
"It feels like a nurse is doing a blood-pressure check on your whole
body," said Kevin Caldwell, a 23-year-old Seattle work-release prison
counselor, who had just wrestled his friend and won.
"It's like your surrounded by a trampoline," he added. "I hit him (his
friend) and I automatically flipped and did a 180 in the air."
"It's very popular now, the way karaoke was the big thing for a while,"
said Mark Eckardt, bar manager of H D Hotspurs, which features the game
every Wednesday night.
© 1993 Peter Langston