Of the dozen shows that I’ve worked on, my favorite SoCal Connected story was “Grappling with Giants,” a short segment about Jim Lowerre, a tech writer from Garden Grove, Calif. that had built a regulation size sumo ring (dohyo) in his backyard.
Lowerre has been trying to promote sumo in America for years. He built his “Dohyo of Dreams” with the intent to attract local wrestling clubs to his backyard. He constructed the dohyo out of damp sand and authentic touches such as blessings of dried squid and sake. “It’s the only real dohyo in California,” claims Lowerre. “Most amateur sumo wrestlers have only practiced on canvas and it’s a very different experience.” Lowerre has even put on his own tournaments and has competed himself. Unfortunately, back problems have recently sidelined him.
You can see Grappling with Giants here: https://www.pbs.org/video/wheres-nancy-and-the-virus-hunter-moqoom. The segment is in the last six minutes of the episode and is unlisted since it was added at the last minute.
The first time that I wrote about amateur sumo was in a Muscle & Fitness feature about an ambitious weightlifter named Trent Sabo. He’s a mover by profession that wanted to become a professional sumo wrestler. He was a pretty dedicated guy that put a lot of effort into his training. You can read that story here.