Cincinnati's Ohayo Sumo Association to Host Third-Annual Cin City Sumo Camp

The camp introduces beginners to one of the world's oldest martial arts, led by two of the nation's most experienced sumo wrestlers, with a tournament on the last day of camp

click to enlarge Cincinnati's Ohayo Sumo Association to Host Third-Annual Cin City Sumo Camp
Photo: Facebook.com/ohayosumo

Unbeknownst to many, Greater Cincinnati is home to its very own sumo club, and this winter the organization is holding its third-annual camp to share the ins and outs of the over-thousand-year-old sport. 

Celebrating a year since its founding in September, Cincinnati's Ohayo Sumo Association (OSA) offers an opportunity for those interested in the ancient martial art to practice and learn with like-minded individuals throughout the area. 

The club, sanctioned under the United States Sumo Federation, was co-founded by Darius Campbell, head coach of the OSA, along with Jake Book and Robert Folz. 

Campbell had been practicing solo for several years while meeting locals interested in forming a club before taking steps to officially establish it.

"I discovered that the guy behind bigsumofan.com (the largest sumo merchandise dealer outside of Japan) lived 10 minutes away from me in Montgomery," Campbell says.

"We met up and had a great conversation and he (linked) me up with Jake Book. Jake and myself hit it off right away and hit the ground running starting the club after our first meeting."

Campbell and Book also have a podcast dedicated to the sport. 

According to Campbell, "The club offers people the opportunity to practice one of the world's oldest martial arts, tracing its roots back over a thousand years ago and branching into almost all modern Japanese martial arts today (Judo, Akido, and many more). It's a fun way to stay active helping to build up strength, flexibility and mental toughness."

Currently, OSA locations rotate between Springdale, Lexington and Sparta for training, but they hope to open a permanent location in the Queen City.

Campbell partnered with sumo wrestler Cornelius Booker to launch the Cin City Sumo Camp in 2018. This year, the camp will be held Dec. 11-13, and will welcome beginners interested in sumo wrestling to learn and practice together. The first two days will offer four sumo sessions, guiding participants through drills, stretches, warm-up techniques and the rules, and the final day will feature a tournament where wrestlers can show off what they've learned. 

"This year we have opened up both the camp (Cin City Sumo Camp) and tournament (Queen City Sumo Open) to everyone, whereas in prior years it was a more private, by-invite-only event. This year looks to be big with several national champions and potentially a few international competitors coming out," Campbell says. 

The camp welcomes wrestlers of all ages, genders and weights to join, however parents of minors will have to fill out a waiver form.

United States Sumo Federation membership is required (which can be obtained for a $25 annual membership fee) or International Sumo Federation membership for international wrestlers. 

While the camp is geared toward beginners, experienced wrestlers can benefit from the training and practice involved in the camp, Campbell says. 

Cin City Sumo Camp costs $100 for the weekend, ($75 for the camp; $25 for tournament). Wrestlers may opt for participation in the tournament only. The camp will take place at Powerstation Gym in Franklin, Ohio. 

Campbell says in order to keep their participants safe, each wrestler will have their temperatures taken, and must wear masks when not actively training. They will also be limiting partners and promoting social distancing whenever possible. 

For more info about the camp, visit the event page. For more info about the tournament, visit the event page


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