Fun_People Archive
26 Oct
Local (Seattle) News - Trendy Sumo

Date: Tue, 26 Oct 93 16:08:32 PDT
To: Fun_People
Subject: Local (Seattle) News - Trendy Sumo

[Thanks, Dennis!]
 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.

Plastic Sumo

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  
elastic cords.

"Then someone said, hey, it sort of looks like a fat guy!" said  

Belly Bumping

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 []